R’Perspective: Bullying comes from anyone and anywhere

bullies and bullying

Kids are mean. In my lower middle-class elementary school, teachers talked about bullying being bad. Then, in fifth grade two kids sat on beanbag chairs as the teacher announced to us and pointed at them, “Bullying has happened in our school.” Everyone in the classroom just remained quiet, but we all knew that was not the only time bullying has happened. It was just the first time a teacher knew.

Going through school, it is not unusual to be ignored by friends once they find their clique. Sometimes people will hate you for no reason. There might be a reason, and it does not always hurt to ask why the bully hates you.

“Because you are a bad friend,” one bully said to me.

Do not ask the bully in place of someone else. You see, I asked a girl that was mean to my friend if she hated her — which was a bad idea on my part. Immediately after, my other friend pulled me away to desperately interrogate me on why I would ask something like that. She said that it would cause them to start talking about our friend. Yeah, sixth grade is a weird time. Who would really go up to a teacher and tell them that a classmate hates them for some reason? Would the teacher declare, “Bullying has happened in our school?” Probably not. Especially if it was not during some bullying awareness week.

Bullying happens all the time and is portrayed often in the media, and the solution they present is often to either fight it or tell an adult. That is not that easy in real life.

Fast-forward to high school where my friends and I witness a disabled girl being bullied by a group of girls. We did nothing, and we regretted it. However, in that moment a friend could have made a difference in that disabled girl’s life like a friend did in mine. A friend can really make tough times bearable. My friend did not care that a girl was mean to her when she already had two friends who were nice and cared about her.

Family members can be mean too. When I was in elementary school, my mom had to work long hours. So, I stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house. I was a picky eater, and it was not acceptable to them. One time, they made fun of my body hair in front of guests. What sounds like a compliment to men is definitely not a compliment to the opposite gender, especially a sixth grader.

For the most part, I stayed in the guest room, avoided them and waited for my mom to pick me up. This was not a case of bullying that I could fight, tell or ask my way out of. As children, we are often told to respect adults. So at that age, I thought I was the problem.

Overall, bullying can happen anywhere from anyone.

There will always be people who do not like you in life. So, you can choose not to confront them, and you can also choose to not give them any attention. There are also times when we think about all that we could have changed but did not do so. As cheesy as it sounds, what does not kill us makes us stronger. Four years of bullying from my aunt and uncle made me who I am today, and I like who I am today. I would not change a thing about my past.   

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