Joanne, Age 43
“Pink Shirt Day is a day that I will always promote, and I am so glad that over the last few years bullying has been brought to light so that we can do something about it. I am 43 years old but have next to nothing for happy memories from school. My memories consist of being taunted and teased, called every name in the book because I was overweight…I wasn’t like everyone else. I had no groups to hang out with, no boyfriends that I could be proud of to hold hands with, It was just me. I would walk the halls at school to get to my next class, or go to the bathroom only to be called names again or hear ” did you feel that earthquake?” as I walked by the bullies hearing their laughter behind me. My bullying went on all through elementary school, to junior high and even to senior high. Even my own neighbourhood wasn’t safe from the name-calling. At school it was mainly the same 2 guys, but when those guys were in their groups it got worse.
So what do I remember from my school years? Crying…a lot. Lunch hours, recess, were spent mostly hiding in empty classrooms or corners of the library where no one could find me to hurt me. Years later, one of those guys found me and messaged me through Facebook and apologized. He said he knew what they did all those years was wrong and that he was sorry. Just knowing that he acknowledged what they did to me all those years, surprised me. I was grateful for the apology but even though I can forgive him for what they did, those memories, those scars will remain with me the rest of my life. Bullying has to stop, I don’t want to see kids growing up into adults with the same memories of school that I do. Just because someone is different, doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings, like they don’t feel hurt like everybody else…let’s end bullying once and for all.”
“When I was a kid my only friends were boys, I wasn’t the typical little girl who liked to play doll or things like that. Many laughed at me because of it, saying I wasn’t a “real girl” that I had to be a boy, that my parents were wrong about my identity. But I had friends who liked me so I didn’t pay attention what they were saying about me. All that changed when I was 10. I don’t really know what happened, but even boys didn’t want to be near me. I spent the whole year alone. They weren’t really laughing at me, they were just avoiding me, staying away from me. It wasn’t a good year for me, I also have had to face personal problems, I did it on my own.
We all changed school the next year and I found some new friends but somehow people found something else about me. They were always asking me questions like “Why don’t you have a dad?”, “Did he left because you did something?”, “What did you do to him?”,” He didn’t love you enough to stay”, “You didn’t love him so he left”, “You made him leave and now you’re sad because you don’t have a dad like us”. It wasn’t just painful. At that time I thought it was true. I didn’t deal with it or run to a teacher, I did like always, just kept things inside and ignore everyone.
Thankfully it all stopped when I entered in high school, I suppose people were mature enough to understand me a bit or to realize they were wrong. I still had a few people laughing at me but I also had great friends who defended me, they were good to me.
I regret one thing though, maybe if I had talked about it earlier I wouldn’t have had to face bullies for so long. Maybe if I hadn’t been so ashamed, maybe if I had talked someone would have done something and the bullies would have stopped and I would have been the last one, I know I wasn’t the only one but I guess they were too afraid to talk. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, we can’t fix everything by ourselves.”
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