September 24, 2020

By KRISTIN MILANI

With October being Bullying Awareness Month, it’s time to reflect on the issue and work at putting an end to it. Teenagers such as Amanda Todd are being remembered this month for taking their lives as a result of bullying.

I, myself, have been bullied in the past. Although we learn to not care about what other people think, when you’re young and feel alone it’s difficult to think that way.

The day it all began I was sitting in my elementary school classroom during lunch. Other students decided to draw on the chalkboard for fun. After a few minutes I looked up to see that the word albino was written. The student who wrote it then told the class that I was albino because of my pale skin.

I was hurt and very embarrassed. Things escalated from that point on. I ended up being the centre of many cruel jokes. Although I wasn’t completely alone and had my family and best friend to lean on, it still felt awful and I wanted more than anything to have friends.

I was so desperate for acceptance that I invited my biggest bully to my birthday party. Inviting her was my biggest mistake. It was a few weeks before my party and the girl started being nice to me and even called me her friend. My mom told me not to invite her because she knew what the girl had put me through. I didn’t listen unfortunately.

She came to my party and wasn’t being nice at all. She tried to convince the other girls to do mean things to me while I was sleeping.

The next Monday, I walked up to her to say hi and she ended up telling me that she was pretending to be my friend to get to my party.

Each time someone did something mean to me, I would walk away in tears. I rarely defended myself. I came home crying every day, but even there I was victimized. Even after getting away from the bullies at school, I would go on the computer and then face cyber-bullying on MSN.

I was late almost every day for school, partly because I didn’t want to go. Every time I would walk in the class, everyone looked at me and made sounds of disappointment. I spent recess and lunch being verbally harassed. Rumours were often started about me as well.

Although I was rarely physically hurt by other students, the words impacted me in a way that made life feel worthless. When you’re 12 years old, you don’t feel like life will ever get better. I pictured myself being hated for the rest of my life.

Since the teachers and principals at the school didn’t step in to help, my parents decided to transfer me to another school. It was hard to leave my best friend behind but I knew I had to go.

Right away my life began getting better, although I still had problems fitting in and finding friends.

It wasn’t until high school that the issues really went away. Something that has helped me cope since the bullying is to pity the people who did it. Bullies have to live with the fact that they made someone’s life miserable. They can’t take it back. Being the victim is tough but it’s a good feeling to look back and know that I wasn’t cruel to others.

Due to being bullied, I developed severe insecurity and anxiety. It still affects my life to this day. In some severe cases of bullying, some people have even developed post-traumatic stress disorder and many become suicidal. Some even take their own lives.

Your younger years are supposed to be easy and carefree. However, in today’s world there are too many children and teens who dread each day. Bullying Awareness Month helps bring attention to this escalating problem. But much more needs to be done at schools, by students themselves and by lawmakers. No one should be bullied to death.