I used to be a bully. Yup, you read that right. If you have just recently started following me, you might even find this hard to believe. But it is true. I was a bully.
Yesterday, a close friend of mine shared with me about how her sister had fallen victim to cyber-bullying. What happened to her sister was absolutely disgusting and although her sister did handle it very well, there’s no doubt in my mind that she is crushed. When she posted about her experience on Facebook, girls came rushing to her side to support her and to compliment her. As I read the comments, and saw how uplifting and empowering they were, I couldn’t help but wonder about this cyber-bully. You might be wondering why I would care about this girl who found happiness in ripping my frined’s sister to shreds. It is quite simple actually.
I could be that girl.
If social media was prevalent back in my days of bullying, that would’ve been me. I was a full-fledge bully. I thrived on making others feel completely worthless. I thought it was funny. I am not proud of this now as an adult with a stepson who has fallen victim of the school bully from time to time. But I wanted to share my journey of how I became a bully and then transformed into a woman who desires to spread love and light.
From the moment I started school, I knew I was different. Not just because I was the only black girl in my community, but because I just saw things differently. My mom always had the honest approach to life, so I was that kid in kindergarten who knew that Santa wasn’t real. I never spoiled it for the others, but I can vividly remembering telling my teacher that I knew the truth.
At the young age of 6, my life changed. Things started happening in my body that were not supposed to be happening for years to come. I quickly found myself at the National Institute of Health where I underwent treatments on and off for the next 5 years. This experienced changed me. I wasn’t allowed to be a kid. I couldn’t participate in sports, or even gym class. When I was actually in school, I was the weird kid. I tried to fit in by becoming the class clown. I thought the other kids would like me if I could just make them laugh.
We moved from our small town to a nearby city so that it would be easier to get back and forth to Maryland ( I live in Upstate New York). I found myself planted in an inner city school and I was scared. I dind’t know how to interact really with kids my own age because I spent so much time surrounded by adults. I spoke eloquently and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Once, I was almost jumped by some girls in my class. I escaped that time, but I literally went to school in fear every single day.
I changed schools a couple more times while living in Rochester. I was socially awkward. So I again resorted to laughter. What I found was that when I made fun of someone, others would laugh. If I made fun of myself first, the insults towards me wouldn’t hurt as bad. It then became like a game to me. I didn’t wake up every day with a vendetta to make someone’s life miserable, it just sort of happened. It didn’t make me feel any better about myself, though. Like at all. Who I was at school was not at all who I was outside of school. I was without a doubt living a double life and it was exhausting. It left me so torn and broken, that in seventh grade I wrote a letter to my guidance counselor that I wanted to kill myself. I felt ashamed of my actions, but I didn’t know how to stop. I didn’t want to go back to being the victim, so I continued to be a bully of some form.
When we moved back towards my hometown in 8th grade, I saw the move as a fresh start. But going to a school where your mom and aunts and uncles went to school can cause a lot of pressure. On a daily basis I was reminded of some stunt someone in my family pulled and I felt like I had to live up to an expectation that I would never meet. I failed. I felt like someone was always watching me, comparing me to my predecessors and it only took one incident to spiral out of control and let my inner mean girl come out with claws and fangs. This vicious cycle continued through high school and even during my first stab at college where I became the victim again.
I am not sure where things began to change for me. Maybe after I became a wife and mother figure I started to see things differently. I still battle with my inner mean girl every day. Some days, she shows her ugly head and other days I am able to keep her check. It is not an easy task to be kind. It is much easier to make fun of someone else and to avoid dealing with your own hang-ups.
If you have read this far, let me leave you on a positive note. You never know what people are dealing with behind closed doors. The person who may be lashing out on you is more than likely experiencing great inner turmoil. I know I sure was. Life is not easy. It is so hard to find your way and some girls just don’t have the courage to seek help. So this is where we come in. As a recovering bully, it brings me great hope that people really can change. It is never too late to start being the best version of yourself.
If you are a bully, you don’t have to continue to be one. It is one of the most gratifying feelings when you can make amends with those you have harmed in the past.
If you are being bullied, reach out to someone who you trust. Bullying is never ok. If you are afraid or ashamed to reach out to someone you know, I am always here.
If you know someone who is being bullied, absolutely surround them with love and positivity. But be careful not to attack the bully. They are very fragile, although they might not seem like it. I promise you what they need is love.
We women are way more powerful than I think we know. We are capable of doing the impossible, and we often do it in heels. Let’s use our power for good ladies. Imagine what we can accomplish if we all worked together and empowered one another!
Please share this post. There are so many women who are hurting. Let us make a conscious effort to end bullying once and for all.
Light, Love & Champagne,