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.
A few months (?) ago I wrote a post about how blood cancer has affected my life and how it has motivated me to take part in the world’s greatest shave. Since then my local paper published an article to help me raise funds (thanks Maribyrnong Leader!), I was able to raise $1000 thanks to my generous family and friends (donation still open, if you are interested), and on the 11th of March I rocked up to Federation Square, got on a stage and let the volunteers shave off my locks…
Not going to lie, there was a moment during the shave when I actually had tears in my eyes – I loved my long hair and a lot of my confidence came from wearing my long hair out and there I was letting someone just shave it all off. But now (four days after the fact), I love the new me and it feels liberating to just wear my face. So here I am #nofilter
More importantly, the events around Australia raised $10 million – that’s $10 million that will go towards those suffering from blood cancer and their families to aid treatment processes, that’s $10 million that will go to researchers who are in the process of finding a cure. It makes me hopeful, maybe not for my grandmother who’s cancer has worsened over the past month (she is being tested for TB at the moment) but there is hope for others and I think it’s important to be hopeful in this fight for a cure.
As you all know I have been battling with body issues pretty much my whole life (If you haven;t read my previous posts already- please check them out here, here and here). But over the past few months I have been really determined not to let my demons get the better of me and to really love and embrace the way I look.
Every now and again though the little voice inside my head will make an appearance and squeak silly comments like “oh look your tummy doesn’t look flat in that dress” or “GURRL, why you got no butt!” BUT I have gotten a lot better at shaking off that feeling of insecurity. More importantly, I have become a lot more aware of treating my body with love and appreciation and taking the time to make sure she is well taken care of. After all, she is all I have got.
…and I said to my body, softly “I want to be your friend.” It took a long breath and replied “I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
When I was younger I took solace in writing – I pretty much documented ever little detail of my life and I spent hours trying my hand at writing short stories, poems, songs what have you. But somewhere along the way to becoming a “grown up” I became more critical of my own attempts at self expression and I guess over time just stopped writing. “Its not good enough…I need to be better before people can read this…I don’t have anything interesting to say” (ugh!). But I don’t want to be tangled up in this web of insecurities anymore – I want to find my own voice and not be so afraid of being judged.
That is why I started this blog (and enrolled in WordPress’ Blogging University).
So I want to challenge myself to find inspiration everyday and write my story without over thinking and being over critical of myself. Actually, one of the readings recommended by Blogging U for today’s post sums up what my resolution quite well;
“Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here — and, by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”