http://mandyroth.com/AABullyingJPEG.jpg
When I was asked to participate in this blog project I was all over it. Like, hell yeah I’m in! And then I was like ::whatEVA:: I mean, did I really want to talk about bullying and my experience? It’s opening an old wound, makes me vulnerable in a way I don’t like to revisit. It was another life time. Another person. But I know every time I read or hear a story in the news about bullying, it touches a chord. Like Phoebe Prince, Tyler Clementi, and the recent case of Amanda Todd. They all make me so sick and furious. So yeah, hell yeah, I wanna do this.

My story of being bullied

I was always teased to some degree. In elementary school I was made fun of because of my curly hair. Called Medusa or Fro. Junior High I was bullied, and sexually harassed on the bus by the shortest boy in school. I’m not sure I even knew what sexual harassment back then. I never told anyone. Maybe I should’ve, but I understand what it’s like to have the urge just to keep silent. To not want to make waves or draw attention to yourself.

I was raised with three brothers, so I was way more into fishing and playing outside than worrying what the trendy new fashions were. (Stretchy jeans and save the earth shirts were AWESOME according to me). I think the first time I wore makeup was prom. I say this, honestly, almost fondly and definitely with amusement. I was visually a hot mess in high school. I had hair like Krusty the Clown, glasses, and no sense of style in clothing. But you know what? Seriously? I didn’t give a damn.

::harder::
I was happily oblivious. Who cared what others thought of my appearance? I was a choir geek (before it was kind of cool) who excelled in music and leadership within the musical community. I was in my element. I also dabbled in drama and became a Thespian.

::guitarhero::
I found ‘my people’, which honestly, helped me with the bullying. Having somewhere to go where you’re accepted for who you are is KEY. And I had a lots of friends in my music/drama community, including a solid, core group of close ones. I loved life. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t popular or considered ‘attractive’. I was happy. And for the most part people let me be.

But there was a few guys who would follow me around, call me ‘grandma’ (I get it, I did sort of look like sixteen going on sixty), and sometimes push me or throw things at me. I tried to ignore them. I made it a point to not engage and just ignore.

::orelse::
But there’s one I remember most. He was the worst. I could theorize all I want, but honestly I really just don’t know what him such an asshole. But he was, and mainly to me. I know this guy had friends and some people think he’s awesome, but for some reason he made me his target. One day we were all dressed up in nice clothes to say goodbye to the upperclassmen in an assembly. He followed me to the bathroom. I can’t remember if he cornered me inside the bathroom, or in the small hallway outside. I was literally alone with him, trapped from getting out the door. And he started on the teasing again, moving closer to me. And I just lost it. I finally snapped. I had a Diet Coke in my hand and I dumped it on him.

::rockon::
Yup. I tossed my soda all over his pretty white dress shirt. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing for me to do. He looked absolutely shocked and enraged. I was 99% sure he was going to hit me. He lunged at me and called me a few choice names, but fortunately didn’t come after me when I ran past him. After that, I don’t think he bothered me again. Maybe gave me dirty looks in passing, but for the most part he left me be.

* * *

So life went on. I went to college, got immersed in an elite music program and discovered I could be friends with all kinds of people. Popular people. And, gasp, they liked me! And they were just normal people. Like me. To which suddenly, all that “It gets better” advice, was starting to come true.

::whattha?:: ::happydance::
My confidence bloomed. Continued to bloom as I ‘grew up’. I’m not at all the same girl I was back then. I’m a lot more confident in every way. Okay, I’m kind of the after image of a makeover show after years of exploring fashion/makeup/fitness/hair ideas. I have a successful career doing what I love–writing romance novels. And I’m raising a confident, smart, daughter as a single mom. I have amazing friends and family. I’m having fun jumping back into the dating scene. I’m just enjoying life.

::romeoohromeo::
But it doesn’t matter what I looked like then or now, it shouldn’t make me a target. And the scars of being bullied don’t ever really go away. Sometimes I revert to the same mental status of someone being bullied. I’m always a little surprised if someone flirts with me–wonder if they’re just messing with me. Sometimes I often wonder if some comments I overhear are a veiled joke about me. An insult. Sometimes I’m just bracing to be teased. And I’m making a conscious effort to get over that.

I don’t think bullying will ever go away completely. There will always be someone so insecure, so miserable, they turn to hurting others. I think people are being more vocal in spreading the awareness of bullying. More people are standing against it, though sometimes not until after a victim has taken their own life. To which I wonder…why didn’t people care enough when it was happening? Or, worse, did they make a mean comment too just to fit in? We can’t just be oblivious. We can’t just turn a blind eye and be grateful it’s not happening to us. Though, no doubt, it’s the easy thing to do.

I’ve raised my third grade daughter with this simple theme: We’re the nice ones. We’re not going to be mean. There’s enough mean people, make it a goal to be a nice person. It’s really pretty simple, and it’s amazing the friends you’ll make and how you’ll feel about yourself. Why don’t you try and befriend someone who you know is struggling with being bullied. Let them know you care. Sometimes they just need to know someone cares. Maybe encourage them to get help. If you have the gonads, you could even stand up for them. It’s not easy. But there are things we can do to bring bullying out of the dark. Awareness is a big step and social media is doing wonders to get these victims’ stories out. I’m glad I made the choice to share my experience, as uncomfortable as it may be, and knowing this blog may be read by former classmates.

Being bullied is not a new thing. Please don’t be afraid to tell someone you need help. And always remember, you’re not alone. I know sometimes it feels like it, but you’ve never been alone. Somewhere, someone is hurting just as much as you are right now. And as cliche as the phrase is? It does get better. I promise.

::huggies::

Check out what other authors have to say on bullying at the links below! But first let me leave you with then and now costume pics (and I love them both!). Left: High School (Thespian Initiation week) Right: Present Date (Halloween Party)

::yesyes:: ::yeahthat:: ::workit:: ::woot:: ::whipitgood:: ::whenaproblemcomesalong:: ::whattha?:: ::whateva!! ::whatEVA:: ::welcome:: ::tmi2:: ::tired:: ::tMi:: ::stupido:: ::sticky:: ::sisboomba:: ::shhhh:: ::sad:: ::romeoohromeo:: ::rofl:: ::rockon:: ::pulltheothe1:: ::ponyexpress:: ::paddleme:: ::orelse:: ::ohnoudidnt:: ::nono:: ::nanadance:: ::loser:: ::lesigh:: ::itwillgiveyoucancer:: ::isaidplz:: ::ireallydo:: ::iam:: ::i<3u:: ::huh?:: ::huggies:: ::howdymaam:: ::harder:: ::hard:: ::happydance:: ::guitarhero:: ::gogogo:: ::garthbrooksishot:: ::drool:: ::dontdoit:: ::diddy:: ::diddy2:: ::delicatelikeaflower:: ::counting:: ::chef:: ::cheeze:: ::busyasa:: ::booby:: ::blushie:: ::blink:: ::blank:: ::bedrocka:: ::bday:: ::awwwe:: ::arrrrgh:: ::angelbaby:: ::aaahthatsbetter:: ::OTK::

14 comments to “Authors Against Bullying ~ Shelli’s story”

  1. 1

    Shelli,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I laughed when I got to the coke part. I had a mental picture of a guy soaked.


  2. 2

    Wow. What a creep! I’m so glad you got away from him because he sounded like he had some serious problems. I’m so glad you were confident enough to continue being you, doing you when so many others would have tried to fit in with the “in” crowd.


  3. 3

    Wow, Shelli, great story! Heavens, I could tell tons about being bullied when I was a kid, because I’m half Japanese. Seriously, it was a time when mixed marriages were considered bad, and moving to Hawaii didn’t make it any better, oddly enough. I’m glad to say that I raised my son differently, and he has always taken action whenever he sees bullying.


  4. 4

    Shelli – I’m so proud of you for speaking out, and for standing up to that jerk! You’re a wonderful person–inside and out. I consider it their loss that they didn’t take the time to get to know you. I’m certainly glad I did :)


  5. 5

    We’re the nice ones! I love that line, Shelli. :) I tell that to my son,too.

    Thanks for sharing your story!


  6. 6

    [...] Shelli Stevens [...]


  7. 7

    I was too tall, too skinny, to smart, too whatever. Haters are going to hate. I was never one of the cool kids so I was bullied on occasion at school but it was nothing compared to the bullying I got at home.
    I think my kids had it worse at school as some of the social filters we had as kids have eroded to the point of non-existence. In some ways it is better. There is more information out there and role models are speaking up and out against bullies. More needs to be done at home, in schools and in the media.
    My daughter is Jewish and a lesbian living in the bible-belt. How she has grown into the incredible woman she has despite all the negativity is one of life’s great mysteries and one of my greatest blessings.
    I think blogging about this is a good thing. Thank you for sharing your story.


  8. 8

    [...] Shelli Stevens [...]


  9. 9

    [...] Shelli Stevens [...]


  10. 10

    “We’re the nice ones.” Such a great message for your daughter. Thank you for sharing your story.

    E.J. Stevens
    Read my Authors Against Bullying post at From the Shadows.


  11. 11

    Thanks for sharing your story. Good on your for dousing the jerk with the soda.

    I’m very proud to be a part of this important event, and empowered by all the stories of hope and encouragement I’m reading today. It’s wonderful that people can get together and promote the positive.


  12. 12

    Thanks for sharing. We’re teaching our kids that we’re the nice ones, too. :D


  13. 13

    I like your take on what could have been a terrible turn of events. And dumping the soda was an excellent way of dealing with that creep.

    Good on you for taking the high road, and teaching your daughter the same.

    <3,
    -J


  14. 14

    […] Michelle M. Pillow Kate Douglas Shawntelle Madison Leah Braemel Aaron Crocco NJ Walters Jax Garren Shelli Stevens Melissa Schroeder Jaycee Clark Shawna Thomas Ella Drake E.J. Stevens Ashley Shaw Jeaniene Frost […]


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>