How I survived childhood bullying

By Amanda Bloye on July 23, 2012
From grades two until seven, I can’t remember a year where I wasn’t bullied. Individually, the kids who were mean to me were my friends, but together they were cruel. The ringleader was one of my best friends. But when other kids came around, he would forget that we were friends or that I had just helped him with his spelling. Being one of the chubbier kids I guess I was an easy target.

By Grade 6 it had escalated to full-scale warfare. Around Christmas they took popular holiday songs and cleverly changed the arrangement to include hurtful things about me. In the spring, it was literally sticks and stones thrown at me at recess. I’m not proud of this, but one of my favourite moments of that year was the one time I fought back and pegged one of my bullies in the side of the head with a rock.

As hard as the bullying was on me, I think it was harder on my parents. They were also bullied as kids. My dad would tell me that in life there are leaders and followers. He said I was a leader and that part of the reason there was a group of kids instead of one bully was that they were all followers.

My mom tried to defend me. One day when she saw the bullies in action while waiting to pick me up from school, she got out of the car, told them to stop and even called one kid “Cupcake Boy”. This ended up making things worse for a couple of weeks. When I would come home crying and wanting to switch schools, she would tell me to stick it out and that the other kids were jealous because I was one of the smarter kids in class.

In Grade 8 the bullying stopped, but I also stopped eating, or at least stopped eating enough calories for a healthy 13-yearold. Suddenly there was no more teasing, boys liked me and I was popular. By the end of the year, the ringleader apologized in my yearbook for all of the years he had been mean to me. But the scars from the years before were too deep to heal so easily. The taunts about my weight weren’t easy to forget.

With every pound I lost, the teasing faded and my friends became true friends – ones I could have in and out of school. It was great to fi nally feel accepted, but I’ll never know if the teasing stopped because they grew out of it or because I was slimmer. In some ways I think it validated every hurtful whisper, rock and cruel holiday song my bullies threw at me.

My story didn’t end in tragedy or make the evening news, but neither do most. If I could talk to my 12-year-old self I would tell me that it will get better. I would make sure that I understood that I was fi ne the way I was.

At 26, I am confi dent, happy and disorderfree. My experience with bullying made me a stronger person. The funny thing about bullies is that they are usually the most insecure of everyone. It just took me 15 years and a great support system to realize it.

Amanda Bloye is ParentsCanada’s assistant editor and associate web editor

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2012.

By Amanda Bloye| July 23, 2012

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