Thursday, September 6, 2012

As a child I was bullied.  I don't mean just made fun of like average 6 year old's make fun of each other, I mean tortured every single day of my life so that I was scared to do anymore than leave my room.  I was scared to stand up to anyone for anything, defensive even if told in the nicest, calmest way that perhaps there was a better way to do something, and terrified of everyone around me.  I was terrified of my own parents when I got in trouble for normal teenage things that they were going to hurt me or throw me out!  How can a child feel safe in an environment where their peer shave made them afraid to breathe?

Even now when I see some of the girls they give me the "how dare you draw air from the same air that we breathe" sort of look.

I had two good friends I could hide behind when I felt truly alone in the world.  They were my guiding light in a world filled with dark.  There homes and their families were my shelter against the scary world that existed outside those safe houses.

I was made fun of for being fat.  For wearing glasses.  For not having the right close.  I was made fun of because my parents were divorced, because my names did not "match" the rest of my family.  I was made fun of because I saw nothing wrong with being friendly with boys so long as they were nice and generally also bullied.  I was bullied for being smart in some areas, and stupid in others.  I read too much, but how could someone who read so much suck so badly at spelling?

I remember I started to develop before some of the other girls in my class.  I had my training bra snapped.  I remember one boy in particular who would come up, grab me by the chest really painfully hard and scream "squishy boobs" at least once a recess.  Granted he has grown up into a nice guy, but I will never forget the pain and the humiliation.  I can carry on a civil conversation with him now- people grow up and mature, but I wonder if those memories still embarrass him as much as they embarrassed me.

I remember one boy in my class who was bullies as much as I was.  He eventually left the school.  I remember another one who was so nice, but scared to associate with me in case they would start making fun of him to.  One girl who would only be friends with me "in secret outside of school" so no one would pick on her.  I was diseased.  I was contagious.  I remember going to one bar mitzvah and sitting at a table made up of only 4 girls- the losers in the class.  I spent the whole afternoon crying in the bathroom.  I remember the day of a bat mitavah being hit by a car and breaking my leg only to later that night have one boy ask me how badly I damaged the car.  I never went to another bar or bat mitzvah after that.

Teachers and staff knew.  Older kids knew.  Kids in my class knew.  But no one ever did a thing to help me.  I would hide in my room and cry.  There was one year when one girls drive with her parents all the way down to deliver a mishloach manot to my house- it did not matter that she was giving everyone in the class, the fact that she had not left me out meant so much to me I never for got it.  I told her about it a few years ago and she did not even remember- but it is one of the warmest memories of my childhood.

And so I hid.  I would take a book at recess and sit on my own until a teacher would yell at me for not playing with the other kids.  I would say I was not going to go on shabbatonim but the hanhalah would call my parents and tell them I had to go.  When it came time to choose a high school I did not want to spend any more time with anyone in that class, but the hanhalah of the school actually tried to pressure my parents into sending me to a school I did not want to go to!

I went to the school I wanted, and there made some wonderful friends who have lasted me the rest of my life.  Friends who have been with me through thick and thin, happy and sad.  Sure there was bullying- to one extent or another kids will be kids, but it was nothing on the level of what I had put up with until the end of the eighth grade.  I was always still scared that one day everyone would turn on me.  That I would end up being the one with no friends sitting in the corner crying while everyone else was having fun.  And there were times where it did happen- but often because I let it.  I did not have the skills to know how to stop it.

I just tonight wrote to two people who could have helped save me from the hell in which I lived for all of those years.  I asked them what they knew that made letting an 8 year old be scared to go to school be okay.  I asked them if they knew what was happening, and I was sure they did, why they never put any sort of stop to it.  We will see if I get an answer.  They are both men whom I greatly admire so I really hope I do.

So why does this post belong on by blog about my sweet little Gabi?  Because once you fall in to the roll of being bullied, it is almost impossible to get out.  If I had not let people bully me into things I knew in my gut were not right, I strongly suspect my gabi would be here.  Maybe a preemie like her older sister, but not dead in an unmarked grave somewhere.  If I had the guts to stand up to my husband when I wanted to go to the hospital, to the doctor who said lets wait a few hours and see, and then finally had I had the courage to stand up to the chevra kadisha liason, she might not be with me, but at least I might know where she was.

I know that I will never, ever , ever forgive those girls in my class who made my life a living nightmare for some nay years.  Times has worn down the scars and new friends have hidden the scar tissue, but the marks those girls left on my soul will be with me for ever.


  1. Anonymous, I know who you are and you don't scare me. The only one people are getting truly sick of is you.

  2. And yes, stupid anonymous comments that have a certain writing style (or lack there of) will be deleted. I am also turning on the option that tracks IP address so I can see if they are all coming from the same witch. If they are from who I think they are from, please stop reading here. Please stop posting here, and get your toxic sludge out of my life.

  3. Sounds like it was coming from the top down in that school - some kind of societal structure and the more they could assert it the more it justified their lack of ability to stop and heal it. May you soon see only blessing from those wounds.

  4. Rachel just ignore the mean person. I know it's hard. I was also horribly bullied from junior high to I Graduated. just consider the source and ignore it like water off a duck's back. You are better than them. You are a good kind loving person. Don't let a mean spiteful person bring you down. :)