I was the victim of bullying all throughout school. Actually, elementary was not bad. It was a small school made up of around 40 kids from kindergarten to grade 7. I remember liking school then. Of course there was always the popular kid even there and of course I was not it. But I was not harassed like I was once I left.
Due to poor teaching, my parents decided to send me into the middle school in town a month into grade 7. I went from a school with just 40 kids to one with over 600. I think that was the worst year off my life. I really had no friends and was constantly harassed, mainly because of my weight, but I sure the kids would have found something if it wasn't that.
Part way through that year I met a girl named Kim while in (the dreaded) gym class. Her classroom was next to mine and we became friends pretty quickly! She was tiny, had glasses, smart as hell, and I am sure was harassed in some way as well. We were definitely not the popular kids! Her friendship was that little bit of peace I looked forward to in that hostile world of middle school.
Grade 8 was a bit better. Kim and I ended up in the same homeroom together and our friendship grew. Into grade 8 I met some other girls named Kathy and Crystal. They attended church together and they invited me to attend a youth bible study that was held in our school once a week. Through that I got to know them and then then in grade 9 a friend of theirs started grade 8 at our school and I got to know Lana.
I was still bullied, but now I had a support group. I don't even remember talking about the bullying to them face to face, but we all understood and were there to support each other, I think through distraction! This group of friends grew and into high school I really had a sense of belonging.
We started a tradition, I am not sure if it was in high school or afterwards, where we would all meet for brunch on Christmas Eve morning and exchange gifts. It had been six years since I had been able to attend one, but they were still going. I would always get a call from a cell phone by one of them so I could say hi. I missed that brunch so much!
This year the stars aligned just right and we were all back in Dawson Creek for the holidays. We were all invited into the home of Kathy's parents for brunch this year since we were such a large group! Thank you so much Whitrow Family! It was such a treat to have this tradition in full swing this year. Those who had husbands and kids brought them, and we all had a wonderful time. There were 7 kids under aged 4 and they were all boys!
Thank you Crystal, Kim, Kathy, and Lana. I don't know were I would be without these friendships! Seeing you this holiday brought me to tears. I want to cry now as I write this! Your support through those school years has stuck with me. Instead of turning into a bitter person holding grudges from that time, I became a happy, compassionate person. Thank you to the rest of that support group from high school. I am still close to many of them as well.
I hoped that high school would be left behind once I made it out into the "real" world, but sadly there are the same problems out here as there were back there. But now I have the skills to avoid that so-called popular crowd, the cliques, the in-crowd, whatever they may be. I have no desire to be part of that and it saddens me that those still exist. I feel strong now, strong enough to reach out to those who feel left out and not worry when I know I am being left out.
Of course I hope my boys will never be the brunt of bullying, but that is not realistic. I just hope they have a real friend or two that will help them make it through.
Crystal, Me, Kim, Kathy and Lana