I have always been different. I come from an American family with a very strict and strong set of morals and ideals on life. People latched onto this, maybe it was because I was proud of being that individual; that I believe individuality should be celebrated. But I’ve always been different.
I didn’t play rugby or smoke, I wasn’t the smartest or the coolest. I had a need to please people so even when I was bullied in the back of my mind it calmed me, because surely any attention is good, right?
I was both physically and verbally bullied, even some teachers would make stereotypical remarks about where I come from but it was fine because it’s what I was used to, I’ve always been different. Any attention is good, right?
I would be smacked around and go home with bruises over my head, arms and legs and tell my parents that it was because I was clumsy that I had them. I assured them that I was loving school – they had enough to worry about and didn’t need another thing.
This is the mindset that a lot of people get into when bullied, that their life means nothing, how could it when you go though something like this and everyone sees, but does nothing to stop it? Any attention is good, wrong!
I look back at everything I went through and how I kept quiet about it all. I wish I could tell a younger me to find his voice and tell people, because by speaking up you can help more than just yourself. You can never tell when someone might be hiding their own pain but by stepping forward you can restore a little hope. You can turn something bad into something good by showing how you survived, and will carry on surviving.