I was bullied in junior high. Were you?

Every single day of junior high, I wished Mike Burns* would fall off the face of the earth.

Because every single day for two school years, Mike mercilessly picked on me.
And most of those days, he made me cry.
I swear my tears powered that boy’s black heart and kept it pumping.
He was a bully. And I was his target.

The bullying happened on the bus. At my Catholic school. During after-school activities. Everywhere.
I couldn’t escape it.
And I couldn’t understand it.
I hadn’t done anything to him. I was a regular tween girl. Nothing stood out about me. Why me? It made no sense.
But I was Mike’s target for three long years.

At times when Mike was cutting me down, I could see his cruel words were even making his gang of buddies uncomfortable.
But no one stepped in to help.
My friends were sympathetic but powerless. The adults were clueless – or ignoring it.
My parents’ advice? Just ignore him. He’ll stop. Thanks, mom and dad.
So I kept on keeping on. Ignored Mike as much as I could. And prayed for the years to fly by and for high school to start.

Then the summer before eighth grade I ditched the glasses, got contact lenses, and sported a new hairstyle. I went to summer camp and had my first boyfriend. I had discovered a new confidence. And I started the new school year feeling empowered.

On that first day of school, everyone was complimenting me on how great I looked. Even Brody, my secret crush. I was reveling in the glory until Mike Burns took notice. He came up to the group of us, took one look at me, and said loudly,

“You can change your hair and get rid of the glasses. But whatever you do, you’ll always be a loser.”

Dead. Silence.
This was usually my cue to cry.
But instead, the pent-up, frustrated words I had been dying to say flew out of my mouth:
“Shut up, Mike.”
More silence.
He stared at me.
I held my ground.
Then Mike looked away, huffed something I can’t remember, and skulked away with his friends.
And that was it. The moment was over. And math class began.

Mike still was cruel to me during eighth grade.
And he still made me cry.
But not as often after that.

A few months ago, Mike Burns’ name came up when my mom and I were talking about kids I went to school with. I asked her whatever happened to him.
She said that he was the only one of his five brothers who never married. He was, from what she heard, a lonely, unhappy bachelor.

I smiled a little to myself when I heard that.

 

 

 

 

 

*Name changed to protect the not-so-innocent. And me.

I wrote this post to join forces with Suzanne of Toulouse and Tonic and her Bully Shaming project. We’re all writing about our experiences with bullying to free ourselves from the torment we endured and remember that we aren’t alone. We want to hear your stories, too.

Were you bullied in school? How did you handle it? What would you say to your bully now if you had the chance?

If you’re a blogger, I encourage you to write about your experience with bullying and link up with Suzanne – read how to do it at the end of her post.

If you’re not a blogger, tell us about your experiences in the comments below…

This week I’m also linking up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out. She blogs at Things I Can’t Say – check her out sometime – I love her blog.  🙂

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10 Replies to “I was bullied in junior high. Were you?”

  1. After I read this, I keep trying to remember if I was bullied or not. I remember a girl in junior high who wasn’t very nice to me, but she wasn’t very nice to anyone. Girls in high school were bitchy, but I don’t know that I was relentlessly tormented over and over again. I’m sorry that you had to go through this. It makes me glad that I don’t have girls, although I’d be a fool to think that boys don’t go through this, too.

  2. I was bullied a lot as a kid. I was nerdy, overweight and incredibly shy. It makes me so sad to look back at myself at those ages and the fact that I couldn’t stick up for myself. Like you, once I hit puberty and blossomed a bit, I was more confident and the bullying lessened throughout the years. This was a brave post, and very important for people to read. I’ll check out the others too, such an important topic!

  3. What a horrible experience! I'm so glad that you found the confidence to stand up for yourself….and I'm so sorry that the adults in your life didn't step into help(for 3 years!)

  4. I’m so sorry that you were bullied. I was too. I did a whole series back in April talking about when I was. I don’t know if I can link up since I wrote it months ago but if you are interested in reading it, it is http://tidbitsqueenchaos.com/2012/04/bullying-part-1.html.

    I hate when people refer to it as a “rite of passage” or “boys will be boys” or “girls are just that way”. None of that helps when you are in the midst of it. Great post!

  5. Havng bipolar disorder I was open to ridicule I was first diagnose when I was 14. The friends I had before I got sick turn into my bullies I still find it hard to trust people now and I am 53 years old. I think we need to teach our kids to be accepting of people letting them know it take all types of people to make up the world.

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