I just finished watching 13 Reasons Why. It took me less than a week. (golly, being unemployed, I have a lot of time on my hands). But, like most of you probably, I was hooked. Line and sinker. I had to know how it ended. Unlike most of you, probably, it reminded me too much of my own high-school experience.
Now that there’s a spotlight on it, let’s talk about bullying. That’s what this TV show was about, for the most part, wasn’t it? How bullying effects people in ways that you can’t even imagine? How the littlest things from everyone pile up on that one person? How your throw-away comments can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Yes. You don’t know what is going on in someones life, so YES, how you treat that person today is their last straw. And YES, it is your fault, in part.
I was bullied throughout high-school. Not just for a few months, and then focus shifted to someone else. For the whole 4 years of it. Every. Damn. Day. It wasn’t just by one person, it was by everyone I knew. If i didn’t know you, it’s because you never said or did anything to me or about me. If i didn’t know you, it’s because you didn’t hurt me. You were one of the good ones. I didn’t know any of the good ones.
The only friends I had were the ones who sought shelter during the lunch breaks, away from the rest of their tormentors. We seemed to find each others hiding places. This is the only reason we were friends. We didn’t have anything in common except the shared hiding places. I don’t mind admitting that. We weren’t really there for each other, but we were there together.
Life was hell. Part of my life will always be hell. There are scars that you don’t see. Fractures in my brain that ache. Memories that don’t fade, that are dredged up if I feel alone. I don’t know how to love myself. I am not a confident person because I was taught that I wasn’t important, or pretty, or intelligent; what do I have to be confident about? I don’t believe any compliments that people give me, nice things that you have to say. I have a pit in my soul that these good things go, and I sometimes think that pit will never close. That’s what bullying did to me.
That part of my life is over now though. I got through it when I really thought I couldn’t. I’m working really hard on those things now; love, confidence, compliments, how to close that black pit in my soul. So far so good. Like my parents always told me, high-school will be over before you know it, and I’ll have my whole life ahead of me. It’s just really shitting timing that your most integral psychological developmental stage happens at the same time all the really bullshit stuff you’re not equipped to handle comes at you. AMIRIGHT?
Thankfully, my own experience has given me something those horrible kids didn’t have: Compassion. All those bad things have made me the person I am today. It’s why I’m studying to be a psychologist. When people ask me “why that?”, it’s really difficult to answer with “I was bullied as a kid, so now I want to help people who are hurt, because there was no-one to help me”. For as much as I grew up to hate people, I really just want to understand them, I want to learn about them, I want to help them be better people. Maybe I just want to know why those kids did that to me.