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Bullying: Jersey Girl in Canada's Memoirs
Saturday, October 5, 2013
October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Hey readers!

  Bullying has unfortunately been an ongoing reality for many, to the point where children are taking their own lives every day.  Some may say, "Well, she can't handle a joke- it's just a joke."  Others may say, "She deserves to have everyone hate her."  No matter what, there will always be folks who don't mind their own business, try to drag you down, tear you apart, even want you to quit your own life.

  This may be a different kind of candid in comparison to my usual blog posts, but today I will share one of my personal stories on how a bully affected me.

  I knew a girl since I was 14 who made me believe she was a trustworthy friend, despite the fact just three weeks after my boyfriend broke my heart, she started dating him.  She wasn't one of those conventional "pretty" girls, nor was she considered "popular".  She didn't exactly know what fashion really was, and she swore like a trucker, but her nonchalant approach to life led me to believe that she wouldn't serve bullshit on a silver platter, for she didn't care enough to make that kind of effort.  I, on the other hand had a bubbly personality most of the time, said hi to everyone, had decent grades, came off as a bit naive, and woke up at 4:30am every day to curl my hair and cake on my makeup before school.  It was the first year of high school, so of course I wanted to fit in and be accepted like everyone else.  We didn't really look like we would be friends, but we were.

  I wasn't going to let some guy get in between my friendship with a girl, so I was there for her through every fight, through all of her tears her boyfriend (my ex) caused her, even the time when she lost her virginity to him.  I listened to all of her venting.  Maybe she confided in me because I knew him for over a year longer than she has and maybe I'd be able to give her insight?  Maybe because she knew that once upon a time I had feelings for him while we were dating, so I could relate and give her great advice as to how to approach different situations with him.  I really did not have as much experience as her when it came to him, or life in general, since my parents sheltered me.  Either way, I was there for her through it all.

  I remember some of these phone conversations would last hours sometimes, on days that I needed to vent as well.  I'd always let her vent first because I was always taught that you should put others first- so I did.  Once she was finished venting, I'd start to vent, then she'd find a reason to get off the phone.  Other times, if my stories were juicy enough, she'd stay on the phone and listen, not give me real advice, then find some reason to get off the phone.  I know at this point, you're probably reading this wondering why I even became friends with this chick to begin with.  As I'm typing this, I'm wondering the same thing.

  When I was 16, I wasn't a happy girl.  That was the year I started to smoke pot for fun, then found out that my dad had other kids in a previous relationship before he met my mother, and he didn't want to talk about it with me, for it would have just upset my mother.  He had told me when I came home intoxicated about how I'm nothing like his good kids in the Philippines.  That effected me a lot because I felt that I was lied to my entire life, like a huge betrayal, as well as I didn't feel good enough to know the truth or be included in these secrets.  That's when I started to drink heavily to try to forget, even hung around with the wrong guys, and that's when a lot of rumors started to spread about me to the point of people just hating me, verbally attacking me, no matter how much I defended myself.  (SIDE NOTE: Eventually, my father and I had sat down and talked about all of this, and we're closer than ever now).

   I started wearing  a lot more makeup than ever, dressed a lot less conservative, and started talking out of
This slut-shaming shit has got to honestly stop.
my ass, joking around about my level of promiscuity, since I was being called names anyways.  I've been called pretty much everything in the book you could imagine.  Some stories I've heard about myself:  I heard was a slut, I was called a useless drug addict, attention whore, a try-hard loser; I heard I had a wild gangbang.  I also heard I wanted to have sex with 100 guys by the end of the school year; I was also called a prostitute who overdosed on crack and died in the ambulance.  That last rumor spread to my neighbor who went bawling to my mother that I died that afternoon, until I came home that night then they realized it wasn't true.  Believe me, I've heard it all from even the most surprising of mouths.  Even some girls who I have always been cool with, but never got too close to, have told me, "Stop being such a hoe" and "You're a nobody and you should kill yourself for being so f***ed up".  I even had a few people (guys and girls) throw lit cigarette butts and matches at me.  High school wasn't the best 4 years of my life, needless to say.
  Anyways, going back to my friend- she was the one who had told me about a lot of these stories that she heard, since I had a tendency at this point to skip class, smoke pot and miss out on the in-class rumors.  I actually cared a lot about what others thought about me, so this got me to feel depressed and heavily self-medicated to the point where I got suspended a couple of times that year.  I ended up taking a year off from school, worked two jobs at the mall, got an agent, became a tribute artist and even traveled a bit.  When I was ready to go back and finish school, I ended up transferring to public school just to get a fresh start.

  My friend kept in touch with me and still kept me up to date with all the latest gossip, as well as asked about my life.  I didn't care about any of the gossip at this point, because I knew what it felt like to have my life stories twisted around and shared with people who have no business in my personal life, so I just humored her like I cared about what she was telling me.  It was just nice to talk to someone from my old school who I thought I could trust.  It also seemed nice that she cared how I was doing while I was back at another school, working and traveling.  The number of times she told me she missed me was touching, actually.

  One day, this other girl from my old school told me that my friend was involved in a group conversation in the cafeteria while some of them were making fun of me, calling me a slut, as usual.  Two years had already passed since I left the Catholic high school, so I thought this was pathetic.  My friend could have stood up for me, but instead, she laughed out loud and shared some of her stories about me, like as if we were never friends.  I started to think about how I trusted her and every time someone talked bad about her to me, I defended her.  I know a lot of stuff about her that I could have easily shared, but that would just be stooping down to her classless level.  I finally came to the realization that she played a big role in all the hurtful rumors that were spread about me.

   When I was 20, I had a bad breakup with a long-term boyfriend (who also went to Catholic high school with me) that August, which had resulted in me buying a one-way ticket to California for November, to run away from the pain.  None of my girlfriends understood why I was in love with him, since he wasn't considered a good-looking guy.  I didn't really trust many girls at this point, besides my new best friend (who is still to this day, my true-blue soul mate), who didn't party as often or as hard as I felt the need to.  I was partying 3-4 times a week, getting high, getting drunk, just trying to get numb in any way; even to the point where I would hang out with the wrong people just because they were into partying hard as much as I was.

  Two weeks before my big move (almost exactly 9 years ago this month), I hung around the wrong guys (one of which I thought of as a friend at the time; the other, stalked me to the point of landing a job where I worked) who ended up pressuring me to pop ecstasy and wound up physically taking advantage of me.  I know I wouldn't have let that happen provided I was sober, but I was too high and too scared to just walk out of there.  I didn't know who to talk to about that situation, as I didn't want a repeat of high school, so I stayed quiet and just felt dirty and ashamed for years until I was ready to open up to a psychologist.

  I went to seek professional help because I started to notice I lash out a lot at whoever I dated since then, at
OCD isn't limited to compulsive hand-washing.
times seemingly for no reason, and I honestly started to believe I was crazy.  I've had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder since I was a child, but it increasingly got worse as I got older, trusted less people, and went untreated.  I eventually learned how to control it the natural way, since I couldn't take anti-depressants due to my past drug history.  For anyone I was close to, I felt bad for not speaking up about this, because for years I've had a tough time trusting people in my life, but after this, I can clearly see who truly loves and cares about me, and how trustworthy and understanding they are.  I never told anyone about this until years later, especially not that girl I knew since high school, for I didn't trust what she would have done with that information.

  Over time, that girl I knew since I was 14 and I grew apart, still kept in touch here and there (I still don't
know why), but I knew not to bare all my secrets to her anymore.  With that time we had apart, I could actually step back and see the big picture:  She only called me when she had to complain or brag about her life, or when she wanted to know information about my life to tell others about.  When something in my life was going extremely well, she would put it down somehow just enough for me to question it, or feel bad about it.  I was never invited to be there for her on a normal day, nor was I really acknowledged at her wedding much at all.  Yes, I went to my bully's wedding.  I also found out that just two days after her wedding, she called me a bitch to her husband's friends, some who I grew up with.  I obviously had enough of her.

  11 years of friendship down the toilet, I finally mustered the courage to save her number under the name "Avoid".  I don't even think she was worth saying "bye" to, nor did I feel I owe her an explanation as to why I stopped talking to her, since all she would do is lie through her teeth and play the victim.  Part of me stayed friends with her because I saw her good side, another part of me only stayed friends with her because she knew a lot about my life, and I saw exactly how she gossiped so I didn't want anyone knowing about my life.  This is why she was such a bully: She could have used my life stories against me at the drop of a hat.  After all of that time walking on eggshells, wasting time being friends with someone so toxic, when I finally let her go, I felt like I had the freedom to focus on what was actually important in my life.

Truth:  Rise above them.
  Anyways, the reason why I shared my story is because it's important to recognize the signs in people you can trust vs. those you cannot.  I should have stopped trusting her the minute she started to date my ex-boyfriend.  I should have listened to my other friends who had warned me about how much of a bitch she was, but I've always been stubborn and chose to see the best in people, no matter what.  One thing led to another, and snowballed into something totally off-course that could have easily caused me to slip into a suicidal depression, but I was determined to keep moving forward, continue to learn, grow as a better person, and improve my life.

  We all make mistakes- no one is perfect.  I coulda, shoulda, woulda done this whole friendship with that girl differently, but we cannot change the past.  We can learn from our mistakes for a better future for ourselves and the future generations.  I don't think anyone should have to go through this hell like I did, nor are you alone.  Even if you or someone you know is or has gone through something similar, it is imperative that you stay strong and remember that tomorrow is a new day, which is a chance for a fresh start.

  Bullies can come in many different forms- they could be strangers, your peers, those you have considered your closest friends, even family members.  Be aware of the signs to walk away, and don't let your relationship with the bullies cloud your judgement just because they're nice to you behind closed doors.  Bullies use more than just fists to hurt others, words can cut even deeper at times, leaving emotional scars that can be with you for life.  

  Yes, obviously sharing my story is making me think about it, and it still makes my blood boil years later as I'm sharing this, but I sure hope you can learn something from my story to hopefully encourage those who are being bullied to stay strong and hold on to life because no matter how old you are, whether you're a child or a middle-aged adult, you will go through tough times and you will continue to make mistakes.  Knowing this, also remember that with every bad day, you will be granted a good one to make up for it, so just keep your chin up, keep trying hard to be positive and keep an eye out for that light at the end of the dark tunnel.

  October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  I will be posting all month about bullying, building self-esteem, and some productive ways to stand up to/deal with bullying.  If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below, hit me up on, or tweet me @JerZGrlinCanada.    

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