Overcoming the Bully

  • Posted on: 16 June 2017

In the 3rd. grade, a girl called Liz and the other kids would laugh at me whenever I said the word “CHOCOLATE”. They would rub it in my face that I could not pronounce tʃɒk(ə)lət/ or “choklat” like normal people do. It didn’t matter that I was generally good at reading and writing or that I got praise from my teacher for being the best in diction that darn word CHOCOLATE always got in the way.

I wouldn’t say I am fat, but I have always been blessed with a healthy shapely figure, even in childhood and that made matters worse for me. I became the butt of all their jokes; Porky who couldn’t speak fluent English.

Being bullied at school was one thing; I also had to deal with constant criticism at home from my step-mother.

When I look back I realize now that that was an enormous burden for an eight-year-old to carry.

It will come as no surprise that life didn’t get any better in high school either. Only difference was that kids befriended me when they needed help with last minute homework.

In my little mind, my life was hell on earth. I had no escape and getting up every morning felt pointless. Eventually, those excellent grades began to drop, the one thing I had going for me. I hated my life.

But coming to University made a difference for me. I enrolled in a Bachelor of Communications programme, and as I studied and interacted with other students I began to re-evaluate my life. I began to discover the stronger, braver, confident person that was never allowed to flourish in the past years. I began to assert myself; I could now speak up and make my opinion heard too.

I’ve waffled on, I know. Why should you care about my life’s struggles?

I have come to learn that often we go through challenges to make us stronger and help others in the future.

So if you are reading this and you can relate to the cruelty of bullying let me share some tips with you:

• Walk away – This takes the power away from the bully. If you give them no response and show no reaction, you don’t fuel their fire. It simply shows them that you have no time for them.

• Unfriend or Block them on Social Media – If the bullying happens on social media, just as you would in real life, cut off the ties. Very few people realize that they have the power to actually report cyberbullying and get the culprit’s account blocked.

• Speak Up – Never stocking the fire is always the best solution, however, there are times you may have to actually stand up for you because no one else will. Learn to take a stand when necessary and let people know that you are not a doormat.

In hindsight, I am grateful my experiences made me stronger. I can now help others; I didn’t allow bitterness and self-pity to turn me into the bully.

Selma Twiiti Udjombala