I remember the guy who bullied me when I was 10 years old. He was senior, probably in ninth grade at the time and had recently moved to Dubai from India. We lived in the same apartment complex and so went on the same school bus. I don’t know why he decided that he hated me but he did and he made sure I knew just how much. He never did anything while we were actually in school or when we were on the school bus, but the few minutes he had between getting on to the bus and the time between getting off the bus and going up the elevator were horrible. It started with him throwing an entire bottle of water on me just before I got on the bus and then things escalated. One day just as we were nearing our home, he came up to me and said I’m going to kill you filthy lankan. And I didn’t know what to do except to run to hide in the underground car park instead of heading to the elevator. That monster followed me, he chased me around for awhile until I ran into the elevator but I wasn’t fast enough- he got in as well and spat at me and pulled my hair while I crouched in the corner biting my tongue and forcing myself not to cry. When the doors opened on his floor, he just got off very casually and walked off like nothing happened and I went to my house and told no one about it., I was scared because he told me he would kill my mum too. He did this a few times before he got caught by the Manager of our apartment who walked into the elevator and saw him kicking me and spitting at my face. He and his family were kicked out of the apartment complex shortly after and my parents went and complained to the school and he was expelled. I was so scared the whole time because I felt like I had given more reason for him to come kill me and my family.
I had many long conversations after that with my parents, with the school counsellor and the likes who told me all about bullies and how I need to stand up for myself and tell an adult if something like that ever happens again- because hurting another human, bullying is never okay. After awhile, I stopped having nightmares and I stopped crying all the time and I felt safe. I felt like now that I had been through a terrifying bullying experience I would be safe from it and I wouldn’t have to experience it ever again.
Reality had a much different plan, since then I have faced so many bullies in all shapes and forms.
You can’t predict when someone decides that you will be their victim. That you will be the punching bag for all the anger and hate that is obviously gushing through their veins. You can’t predict when people will go out of their way to tear you down to make themselves feel better.
It doesn’t get better with time.
I cried last night because some girl decided that she will take the opportunity to ruin a great moment for me by trying to tear me down – 18 years later bullies still make me feel the same way that boy did back in the elevator. The one thing I have learned through all these experiences is to not let the taunting and hurtful crippling words get the better of me and my spirit and not let that rule my life. It is hard though, so hard.
I am trying hard to stick to them, some are harder than others to be honest. I have had a few breakdowns recently and it has been hard to try and see the silver lining but I promise to keep fighting the good fight. But one thing that I have realised from my major vents to my friends is that we all go through shit periods where you feel like you are lost and it is important to start patting yourself in the back for the smallest of accomplishments regardless of how important they may seem in the grand scheme of things.
Which brings me back to a resolution that I made at the start of this year that I have sort of been able to actually start and keep up so far – my morning routine. Last year my morning routine consisted of waking up just in time for the train and frantically pulling my shit together before dashing out of the door and then binge on coffee and ham and cheese sandwiches to get me through my chaotic day. Now, its starting to take a different shape.
I have now started waking up at 7 am (I am slowing going to try and make this 6am so I can go for a morning yoga class – but small steps!). As soon as I wake up, I drink a glass of water and turn my phone off from airplane mode and read some news. Because I am now waking up earlier, I actually have time to make a breakfast smoothie (which is usually all the fruits I can find around the house, some linseeds and fiber supplements)and take time to decide on what I am going to wear (which for me was fairly a foreign concept to me and it also meant I used the other 3/4 of my wardrobe which I hadn’t even touched previously). I manage to do all this and get to work by 9am which means I don’t need to rush through the day and feel like I am constantly playing catch up. This small change for me has meant a lot, mostly because I have become a lot more productive and I have more control over how I spend my time (oh and I have started to really exploit the ical app which I highly recommend!)
Anyway, that is all for now. Before I finish off, i just wanted to share something I read in an article with all of you:
I know that it is disheartening to keep going when you’ve been stuck in the same situation for what feels like thousands of years, but you have to know that most of the time (not even sometimes) the only way way out is through.
Every time she wanted to buy something she would have to ask him. It didn’t matter if she was using her own money or whether what she bought was for her own use – she had to ask. If she wanted to eat something, she had to make sure that was alright with him. Tip of the iceberg.
So he never told her outright that she had to ask – that was never an agreement that they both made when they got into a relationship. In fact over the many years they have been together, he had never once told her that she had to have his okay. But for some reason, this was how they worked. She would want something and she would check with him before making the decision.
What happens when he says no, you ask? Good question. Then she would nod her head and say something along the lines of”yep, you know what you are so right, what do you think I should do instead baby?” and so the cogs of their relationship keeps ticking.
What happens if she goes ahead and does what she wants anyway? Well, he will bring it up in casual conversation- about how she whines a lot, how she is so fat and in general how she is a disappointing human being.
There are days when she wants to get away from this. This isn’t what life is about, she tells herself but then she doesn’t have the confidence to get up and step out of the door. She doesn’t believe in herself – she doesn’t think she is strong enough. Has he cut off her wings?