I saw this video on Facebook and it sparked a post that I probably should have written awhile ago, but it doesn't really relate to swimming, biking and running at all.
Please watch it.
Amazing, right? I'm sure that almost everyone can relate to that video in some way.
Growing up, I was bullied. Again, I'm sure we all were in some way but it started very young for me. In Kindergarten some of the boys would pick on me and then later some of the girls. We had two "cliques" in my elementary school (remember I went to a K-8 in a small town so I had to deal with the same people for a long time).
One girl in particular would constantly bully me. I was actually friends at some point with all of the other girls in my class, but this girl was one that I had to keep my eye on.
I even remember crying in our upstairs bathroom when I was in fourth, maybe fifth, grade that I wanted to be home schooled. My parents couldn't do that, and my mom did look into having me go to a different school on the island (Mount Desert Island), but the taxes would have been too much.
My eighth grade year was one of the happiest times in my life, not because things got better but because I graduated. I had a different "family" that loved me, my swim team. I would be joining all of those kids in high school and I'm sad to say that as soon as I got there I did cut all ties with anyone that I went to elementary school with, at least for a little while.
I thought high school was going to be so much better. It was for a little while and then this group of girls started picking on me. Saying that I "stole their boyfriends", that I was a "slut", a "bitch", etc. I was afraid for my life at times, especially since one girl threatened my life.
She came up to my locker and said, "if I ever catch you outside of school alone I will beat you with a baseball bat". My mom and I went to the police station to get a restraining order, but we never ended up getting one for some reason.
The only year I felt like I could "breathe" was my senior year. Most of my bullies had graduated and there weren't too many left.
I truly hope that the people who bullied me growing up have changed, but because of the magical world of Facebook I know that for some this isn't true. I'm honestly glad that I didn't grow up in the technological age that we are in right now, because I don't know if I could have handled it. The bullying that I received was far less than what kids are dealing with right now, which is scary.
If people think that bullying doesn't affect you, I'm pretty sure I'm proof that it does. It has hardened me, but for the most part that has gone away. More importantly, I don't take crap from anyone now, I do not let myself become a target and I won't ever again.
Please feel free to share your stories, either here or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.