This is a very personal story for me to share but I truly believe that I have to since it’s something that is so close to me and hopefully will help some of you.
Yesterday was ‘Blue Shirt Day’ also known as Anti Bullying Day. I unfortunately only found out about it today but this doesn’t change the fact that I want to share my story/personal experience with bullies. So, buckle up y’all because this is a long one.
I was first bullied at the age of six years old. Well, that’s as far as I can remember at least. I was the shy and nice kid so obviously it was easy for “stronger” kids to pick on me, as sad as it sounds. I spent my childhood years at a private elementary school where every year the classrooms would be filled with the same kids – the same 20-30 kids. So, in a way it was supposed to feel like a safe environment – and it did eventually, but my first memories from my time in this school were bullying memories where I was picked on just because.
One of the earliest memory I have is when I brought this jumping rope and this girl (she was the main bully – some other kids were just following unfortunately) told 6-7 kids to tie me up with it. It was horrible. I remember them laughing and screaming – and I know they were just kids and I really hope they are respectable adults now – but this memory has never left me. Obviously, this image of me being the girl tied in the rope with no friends followed me around for a few years until I met some of the other outcasts and we became best friends. But still, I always felt like the weird and loner kid in the classroom and it really was a terrible feeling – feeling nonexistent because they don’t want to see you but when they do well you wish you were invisible.
Eventually as I grew up in this school I started to have a voice of my own and I kinda became the cool weird kid. I was writing songs and they thought it was cool – they thought I was cool. But then I decided to change schools because I wasn’t happy there.
Maybe this wasn’t the brightest idea but I felt that I needed to see more of the world and the only way I could do that was to go to a public school and see different cultures and experience new things.
I was 14 at this point.
I started my 9th grade at “Pierre LaPorte High School” in the music program. It honestly felt like a dream coming true – and it was in some ways. You know, these stereotypical movie where the main girl gets into her dream art school – well it was like 70% of that happening. So it was pretty cool – but obviously, in these movies, the new girl gets bullied and this was no different for me.
Yet, I was so excited to meet my new classmates – and just new people in general. I already had a friend there, Jennifer (who actually is my best friend now) so at least I knew someone.
When I got in my class with my fellow music group class mates, hmmm well, I didn’t feel very welcomed. Maybe cause I didn’t really know how to interact with them? They were pretty different than the people from my previous school.
You see, my previous school was a private Jewish school so in the end, as we grew up, it was a community really – so even if some of them were assholes to me, I was still able to find people who were nice and friendly that I could interact and feel safe with from any grades. FYI, this school maybe had in total 300 students – elementary and high school together.
In Pierre-Laporte? Oh boy – different story. There was at least 1000 students and that was just high school. So, I was pretty much on my own when I got to my first class. The first few classes were quite awkward because for some reason my name on the list was “Anne” and not “Nelly Anne” and therefore, I wouldn’t answer when they would call Anne because I didn’t realize it was me – cause it wasn’t me!
I eventually became kinda friend with this girl in my class and would hang out in class with her – she was also a bit of a outcast.
Sidenote – I just wanna say that outside of this classroom I had a good group of friends that I loved very much and I’m very, very, thankful for them for helping me go through High School even though after lunch break I would go back to my regular class with the people that made my first year in a public school a living hell.
So, as I was saying, I was friends with this girl and in her agenda, for some random reasons, she had a picture of a piggy bank. Obviously, one day I looked into it and I see arrows pointing to it with the name ‘Nelly’ written on it. And right beside it, a drawing a person with boobs and a penis. I turned around and saw some of the guys laughing at me.
Wow, that was horrible. Horrible.
I was indeed much taller than most of the people in my class but was that a good enough reason to make fun of me because I’m different? They couldn’t accept me because of my physique and also the way I spoke – I have a french Moroccan accent which is much more different than the Quebecois one. Since that moment, I unfortunately would make sure that whenever I go in class, I would stay silent, read my book, only answer when it’s really needed to and just keep quiet.
The next year, in that same school, I was again with the same people since we were in the music program. Funny enough though, I’m not sure if it’s because I had gained confidence over the summer or whatever, but I made friends with some of the other girls who were bullied in the class too – and we would hang out together all the time. I finally had friends in my classroom! That’s also when I became the emo kid of the class room which was honestly I title that I proudly took because at this particular moment, I almost didn’t care what people thought of me.
My final year of high school was a bit different – I just simply didn’t care about what people thought of me 100% and was proud of who I was. I was the weird rocking girl who had bunch of friends in the other classes. I wasn’t popular but people liked talking to me and I had a few different groups to hang out with.
I was still bullied from time to time in that year but I didn’t let the bullies get to me like they did my whole life. I was just so tired of it and I think I made it clear. I did cry at some point in that year because of some idiot who was making fun of me and was kinda pushing me around but I remember promising myself that I would never let that happen to me anymore.
Of course, all of this shaped me into who I am today – an emotional and proud young woman who wants to help others find their voices and stand up for themselves. The only thing that got me through high school were my good group of friends, TV shows and music – which is why I love to write about it.
These bullies affected my mental health and I would have to fight and tell myself that I was worthy and beautiful.
So this is my story – and really, it’s almost just a synopsis. I will try to open more about it knowing that it might help others – but, if you want to share your story with me please let me know in the comment. Remember, you are not alone in this journey and bullies are just little bumps there and there to make you stronger.