This appreciation post is slightly different, but a lot darker, and a lot longer so strap yourselves in.
Be warned there's talk of suicide! Facebook may jail me for this.
As I said before, I had been bullied. A lot. Both on the outside from others but also on the inside, from me, echoing what the others had said. I also found other stuff to beat myself up about.
I felt unloved, unwanted, hated in fact. I loathed myself.
I was angry that I did or was the thing that bullies would make a beeline for. I would then hate on myself for being weak and not standing up for myself!
It was a constant cycle.
I avoided places I knew the bullies would be. I'd plan out my routes home so I knew I wouldn't cross paths with any one of them.
It was years before I could walk up to the shop at the top of my road because one kid would see me and come out of his house each and every time just to threaten me or intimidate me, so I would take the long way round so he wouldn't see me.
My family weren't aware, and I was too ashamed to say anything to anyone. And teachers didn't care, or maybe they did but I don't recall a teacher ever standing up and stopping it.
Actually there was one, a dinner lady called Mrs Rickard at Oak Green. She told that particular bully that he didn't want to mess with me as I would fight back and hurt him. He backed off!
There wasn't a support network back then. Childline wasn't even a thing.
Now I know some people are sitting there screaming at their screens. Fight them back! It wasn't that easy.
The cliché response is that I didn't want to hurt them, but it was true. If I ever I did try to fight back, it was like my body was made of lead and I couldn't move. I'm sure that's how David felt when he just stood there on the playground.
I can only recall two occasions that I actually fought back, and both times I lost control and it scared me!
I used to cry myself to sleep at night and even wet the bed up until the age of 12! (The jury is out on the connection of bedwetting to bullying, but some research does suggest this can be a cause.)
Anyway you get the picture!
There was a metaphorical dark place within me that I used to fall into at really tough times. I sometimes visit it in dreams now, and I always feel like a helpless child in those dreams, but then the grown up me comes and shines his metaphorical light on the situation. And all is well.
In that dark place, were the voices of the people who intended to hurt me. But they always sounded like me! I think I recognise that dark place in others. Sadly so many times recently.
It was my 15th birthday and I had been carrying around this worldly weight of mine for what seemed like forever.
Birthdays don't bother me now. I don't tend to make a big deal of them (my own that is) but when you're young they are everything.
I was on holiday in Weymouth. Littlesea Holiday Park, run by Haven Holidays. This was my second home that year. My mom and my aunt were buying a static caravan there, so managed to get there quite a bit.
I woke up that day and I must have been feeling extremely sensitive. Nobody had made a fuss, and I got a few throwaway Happy Birthdays, but the family weren't actually there, I don't think so anyway. I so desperately craved more of a fuss back then. I guess I wanted to feel important enough to everyone else.
There was one guy Steve (another Steve not that one). He was kind of a jerk, he was friends with my (now) brother in law Kevin. They were both young. I think Kevin was 19 at the time.
They would do the usual "bloke insults" that guys do that some women just don't understand (and some guys too lol). I became the constant butt of their comments, and it really got to me.
Looking back I don't think they were saying anything particularly bad but I was feeling hypersensitive and it became the straw that broke the camel's back.
I took off on a walk. A hike. I knew exactly where I needed to be. I walked and walked along that coastline until I found the highest point I could, and I climbed it! I'd felt the need to do this many, many, many times before!
Now I don't actually think it was that high so I may not have done any serious damage to myself but it's more about the feelings than anything else.
I stood on that edge and looked down. It was high enough!
As I stood there all the feelings of hate, frustration, anger, hurt, welled up inside and I readied myself. I was going to jump. I took a deep breath and backed up!
A couple of years before, my cousin, friend and I took turns to jump out of my Aunt's bedroom window onto the porchway below. It wasn't a proper porch, just that metal slab that sits above your front door. We'd jump on that and then down to the ground. It was only about 10 feet up.
Yes that was stupid! But it was a fear factor thing. Like jumping out of a plane. We had a phrase too.
"Your mind says go but your body says no!"
Back on that edge, that heavy feeling of lead came back. Along with it though, was the voice from that dark place.
But this time, whilst still authoritative in its tone, it said something different. Please excuse the language.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing? You are going to kill yourself because someone doesn't like you? That's pathetic!"
"So what if they don't like you, fuck 'em! Let THEM kill themselves. Why should it be you, you've done nothing wrong?"
"You're going to miss out because of them? They're the problem not you!"
"You're a fucking idiot if you do this. Don't let them control you. They don't deserve that power!"
Now they may not be the exact words but they were words to that effect.
This went on for about an hour, until eventually I talked myself out of it! I walked away, and headed back to the campsite. No one had even noticed I was gone. Nothing had changed, except maybe me!
That wasn't the end of my being bullied or as adults we like to call it victimisation. But it was the end of those feelings of suicide. I would not do that for ANYONE! Fuck 'em!
I realise that it goes deeper for some than it did for me but there are people who do care, and there are people who can help!
I was lucky to have that voice within me. I don't know where it came from but it visits me from time to time And I'm thankful that it's there.
So in short (short? you're having a laugh!), this post is appreciation for that powerful voice that I have inside of me!
I'm sure we all have one. We just need to be willing to listen to it more!
Please note that I'm more than okay now! There is no need for any concern. And I'm not after reassurance, I don't need it but others will. Thank you anyway 🙂
If you ever feel low, by texting the word 'SHOUT' to 85258 you will start a conversation with a trained Shout Volunteer, who will text you back and forth, sharing only what you feel comfortable with. Their volunteers will work with you to take your next steps towards feeling better.
Or you can call the Samaritans on 116123 in the UK and
1 (800) 273-TALK in the USA.
A quick internet search will find numbers for other countries.
I'll be back with a lighter post soon. Hope you have a great day x