If I’ve talked about bullying in this space before, it’s been in a superficial way that doesn’t reflect on my own personal experience. Probably because I didn’t want to think about my experience or acknowledge it. Anyway I’m sure everyone has a story to tell, and well, here’s some of mine.
I was never a physically able kid. I can remember Mum and Dad taking me to some fancy doctor (the staircase had an ornate balustrade, I would remember that!) and Mum telling him I was uncoordinated. Mum said you agree don’t you Deborah. I had no clue what uncoordinated meant but it seemed important so I said yes.
I did special classes after school. This is the seventies, I must have been bad if they made me do that lol! I do remember trying to learn to hop as a six year old and being horrible at it.
Anyway I was hopeless and everyone knew it. I also wore weird clothes, had glasses and plain/ugly to look at.
You know how the teachers do that thing where the two popular kids are team leaders and they each take turns picking a person for their team? At the end there would be me, and one would say to the other, you can have her, and the other one would say, no you can. Then the teacher would force one of them to have me. This happened many many times. I developed coping skills that involved laughing at myself and being a distraction.
Then when I was 12 I went to the church school and all of my coping mechanisms were frowned upon and taken away from me. But that’s probably another story.
Growing up I experienced a lot of bullying from the adults in my life. I did not grow up feeling safe, at all. But to be honest I just thought this was normal. I mean doesn’t everyone grow up like that? Isn’t every single adult in the world out to get you? Surely it’s true that a child can not do a single thing right??
No?? Ok then.
So I’m wearing a pink shirt today to acknowledge (probably to myself to be honest) that it’s not ok to let someone put you down or push you around just because you are you. That’s it. There’s no criteria you have to meet to be able to feel safe. You don’t have to be smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough or physically able. You can just be you.
I feel like I might need to wear a pink shirt more often.