I suffered from bullying for many months, but it did not stop me from hanging out with my bully, considering her to be my best friend. She pushed me to my limits and to do horrible things.
My mother calls me Dolores, my friends and family call me Lola, I see myself as Marquesa Lola, but you may call me Auntie Marquesa Lola. I’m an active woman who has been emotionally wounded many times. But rather than having these experiences crippling me emotionally, I used them to help me become the person I am today, and I LOVE that person!
Today, I want to share a bullying experience with you. What is it? How does it affect people? Let’s take a journey back through my childhood.
Picture a very stubborn five year old who starts school for the first time. Picture a teacher who believes, “La letra con sangre entra,” or, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.” It was not an excellent thriving environment for a stubborn child. I learned that submission was a better choice at school if I wanted to be spared of a good spanking. When teachers verbally or physically abuse kids, the abuse is rarely called bullying. My teacher was my first bully, but not the only bully in my life.
I became a shy and withdrawn child and the victim of another bully. She was a friend, and I looked up to her. She managed to make a puppet out of me. She demanded money, food, clothes, and any item she fancied from me. My parents could not explain why I kept misplacing sweaters, coats, and toys.
I suffered her bullying for many months, but she was my “best friend,” so I did not stop myself from hanging out with her. She made me do terrible things. She intimidated me to steal small toys, pencils, or spit on other children’s food, and I was forced to watch them eat it.
As a reward, I was allowed to have a spot in her team of cool kids. She was so twisted that at one point, she asked me to give a love note to a boy she knew I liked. I became the messenger between the two of them. At that point, I realized she was not a true friend.
And I was right!! From the time I told her I was no longer interested in her friendship, she made my life a living hell. I was subjected to an entire year of insults from her team. They would spread rumors about my family, and they used sarcasm and put-downs that were unbearable to me. I was so affected by it that I decided to tell my parents. We decided I needed a break, and I was sent to live with my aunt for a few months.
If you or someone you know is being bullied, tell your parents or teachers about it. I know how lonely and emotionally daunting it is when you are the victim of a bully. I remember suffering from anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. I remember I could not concentrate on school work, and my social interactions at school were just limited to my bullies. If this is happening to you, please, find a trusting adult and share your concerns with them. Don’t go through this experience alone. My parents were very supportive when I finally told them.
You may think that students who are bullied are the only ones affected by the bully, but the reality is different. There is another group of kids who also may experience mental health problems: the bystanders. I remember when one of the kids from the “cool group” reached out to me and tried to protect me at times.
Often, she watched silently for fear of retaliation. I believe she also suffered from anxiety due to the pressure to participate in the bullying. She felt powerless to stop the bullying and guilty for not having defended me at times. If you are a bystander, you have a big responsibility. You should share what you know with a person you trust because not only will you help the victim move on and heal, but also, you will find closure yourself. Doing the right thing will help you recover from the trauma as well. I was very moved when this girl finally left the group.
“My friend,” the bully, grew up to be a sour adult. She never finished school and had problems with substance abuse as a teenager. If you are a bully, consider talking to an adult who can help you figure out the reasons why you need to bully others. You will find out that often it is not your fault. It may be a byproduct of your environment. Usually, you can work things out with the help of a trusting person.
It is crucial to tell your parents and educators if you are either being bullied or if you are engaging in bullying behavior. If you are not sure what you are experiencing is bullying, do a self-check: Are my new friends making me do things I am not comfortable with? Did my behavior change? Did I change my eating habits? Are my grades declining? Do I have difficulty sleeping? Please, don’t ignore these signs and run fast to tell someone you trust.
I believe my own bullying experience shaped my personality. Telling my parents was the best choice I made. I also learned that it is painful to be ridiculed. I promised myself I would never submit a person to the type of abuse I went through. I vowed myself never to force anyone to do anything against their will, ridicule, or insult them. And, to this day, I have kept my promise to the best of my knowledge. Other children are not as fortunate as I was, and instead of turning the experience into a life lesson, they end up experiencing severe mental health issues. If you want, you can share your story with me, your Auntie Marquesa Lola. I am here to lend you a hand. Don’t let anyone dim your sparkle!!!!