Seventeen years later, it’s still difficult to let go and move on from being bullied.
Every now and then, my mind will throw me flashbacks of certain moments and memories. Painful ones. The ones that lurk in the shadows, because you’ve pushed them down there in an attempt to forget.
And you can always trust your mind to hone in and feast on the negatives.
I remember that time a random older guy I didn’t even know threw a fistful of mud across the field at me, and it got stuck in my hair.
I remember one of the mean girls in my class noticed I wasn’t wearing a bra as I got changed for sports. She told everyone, sniggered behind my back the whole day, until she just couldn’t contain herself any longer and blurted it out to me. I was 12 and had no breasts. I’m now 29, and I still have no more cleavage than I did then. And you won’t often find my wearing a bra these days either.
I remember class-fulls of white kids making fun of my very Asian – very different – name.
A girl who I thought was my friend called me a giraffe. Because I was always one of the taller, skinnier girls at school.
These are just a handful of the memories that continue to haunt me.
I’ve always been extremely sensitive, so being able to laugh things off and forgive and forget doesn’t come easily to me. And although I was never physically hurt, I was still left with emotional scars that run wide & deep.
I never opened up to anyone at the time. Not my parents, not my teachers, and definitely not my friends. Because half the time it was my friends who were causing me that pain. I felt like I had no one I could trust, or lean on. And I think this is partly why I grew up to be someone who naturally isolates themselves from others. Because I don’t trust people. Because I’m always afraid of being hurt again.
Part of me likes to believe I’ve dealt with all of this, and moved on. That I’ve let go of the past, and forgiven people for actions they’re probably not proud of. Actions they may have tried to forget, just like me, for different reasons. But I’m still struggling to fully let go, and move on from being bullied.
Because it still hurts.
I can still feel the pain of that small, helpless girl, who wanted nothing more than to just fit in and be liked. I can still feel the tears running down my face, wondering what I’d done to deserve someone being so cruel. And I can still feel the dread of waking up each morning, knowing I’d be walking into battle again; one girl against a heartless army.
They’ll never know what I went through, and I don’t see the justice in that. I don’t see the justice in me carrying around all this pain today, while they’re out there somewhere living their life carefree. While I believe in karma, the knowing that our intentions catch up with us in the next life doesn’t comfort me much today.
I’d be lying if I said my ego hasn’t relished once or twice in the news of one of my former bullies getting fat or going bald; or working a crummy job or living in a dump of a house. I know that’s immature, and not who I truly am. But my ego is still hungry for justice. Payback. Retribution.
I was on the receiving end of ridicule, hate, and torment for years. And sometimes I wonder, have they even given me a moment of thought? And why is it that I am the one who is still suffering?
I’ve tried my best to heal. To confront the memories that still linger in my shadows. To send the ones who hurt me loving kindness while I meditate. And to do my best to understand, empathise, and forgive.
But it’s much easier said than done.
It’s easy to tell someone to let go and move on, because it happened years ago. But it’s not that easy when it happened to you. Some wounds take a lifetime to heal; sometimes many more.
So the truth is, I’m still struggling to move on from being bullied. I’m fighting myself to let go of my bitterness and anger. And I’m still healing the broken heart of my twelve year old self.