A Bitter Sweet Walk Down My Memory Lane


When The Chennai Bloggers Club came with the contest of “I Struggled, but I overcame…,” I wondered what I should write about. Most of my friends had a handful of issues that they wanted to write about from failed marriage to an abusive relationship, from sexual abuse to online stalking, from PTSDs to severe health issues, but I had none of these. Neither was my ex abusive, nor did I suffer with some crazy disease that intimidated me. You might now think that my life either too boring or too blessed with. People who know me will definitely know that it isn’t boring, and as of me, I am definitely happy with my life, but I don’t think it’s lucky or blessed.

To start with, I have (well, I am still not used to “had”) an amazing set of parents. They are at times boring, strict, pointless, but if asked to, I will never swap them for anything. Yes, even if it is for a position to be the Queen of this universe. All the people right now in my life love me, my college buddies, childhood buddies, roomies, blogging pals, besties, and even acquaintances. Right back at ya, folks! So, why the hell did I sign up to write this post?

The stylish lifestyle blogger, co-author of 2 anthologies & 1 full length novel, freelance EmCee & Wedding Planner, Travel Writer & Traveller is what most people associate me to, but if you had known me 13-15 years back, you might not expected me to be all these.

Life until my Grade 7 was beautiful. I had no issues, or that’s what I remember. We, 90’s kids, are blessed. Our childhood was intact and more real than the current state, where technology has taken over childhood or even infant life for that matter. So, coming back to the question in your minds, ” What happened after 7th grade?”

To be honest even I have no idea! Bullying is all that I can say. I didn’t even know I was bullied because I learnt about that term only after my 8th grade. Generally, you are bullied if you are misfit, and I still wonder how was I a misfit? I was from the same locality, my parents were from a good social background, I was not disabled in any form, but why? While I struggled in the wrath of these bullies, I realized, I was weak.

A tomboy, front bencher, every teacher’s pet, friends with seniors, puts her hands up for every event or competition – this was me, then. My mom said my bullies were jealous of me; my sister thought that this girl bullied me because I was close friends with her then-crush. Well, whatever the reason was, they made 2 years of my life hell.

I would enter the classroom & these people would gang up & whisper something among themselves pointing at me. I used to wonder what they spoke; I was worried if something was wrong with my face or dress. When I get up to answer a question or read a comprehension they would make weird noises; when I enact a play, they would not applaud for me. If anything was a relief in this, these they constituted just 1/5 of my class strength.

I was too meek to go and complain to my teachers or let my family complain to them, mainly due to the fear that they might end up tarnishing my name. Although the remaining 80% of the class didn’t tease or bully me, they were afraid of these 20%. There was a time where these people spread rumors that I have an eating problem; they once withdrew my name off a science exhibition that I signed up for; they come to my dance rehearsals and make weird noises or keep pointing & gossiping.

This was not it, these guys were the studious lot in my class; when I miss a class due to rehearsals and asked them for notes, they openly say that they weren’t interested to give. I tried so hard to figure out what was wrong.

One year flew by, the second year, I muscled up some courage, and decided not to give a damn to them. They started manipulating a couple of my friends against me, give me nasty dares in Truth or Dare, always make me sit in desks that I am not comfortable in, and so on. There was a time where I wanted to quit & change schools, but changing schools in 9th grade was supposedly a bad decision. Also my mom asked me what was the assurance that I wouldn’t be bullied in my new school.

Slowly, the bullying raised. One of the guys fatally chased my cycle with his in a narrow street, one evening. My mom caught him & scolded him. That aggravated his anger, and they started to abuse me in everyone’s slam book. His friend even destroyed my craft work, when I went to Prayer Hall, that I designed for my Arts & Crafts class. They started ignoring people who was friends with me. They even made a close friend of mine take sides with them. He was weaker than what I was.

Fortunately, in tenth grade my section got changed. I had almost a fresh set of classmates except four or five people. I continued to be the nerdy tomboy who participated in all the co-curricular & extra-curricular events. During one such practice, I broke my feet, I ended up with 3 fractures & one dislocation. I couldn’t walk, and it was like an icing on the cake for my bullies. They made more fun.

My new classmates were super friendly. Despite the fact that I didn’t exactly try to forge friendship with them, they all were already friends with me. They completed my pending notes; one of the guys carried me to the class everyday from downstairs; they made me participate in all events except sports & dancing; they also made sure that I was not left out. I started opening up, and though it may sound clichΓ©d and the Harry Potter way, love is indeed powerful than evil.

I started to be a more confident person. I was bold & I questioned what those people’s issue were when they pointed at me. After a couple of times, the bullying became hushing & it slowly faded. At 11th grade, we took different streams, classes jumbled, few people left school. Still, some of those bullies did try to irritate me now & then, just that I was too busy & happy to let them drain me.

Years later some of them have me Facebook Friend Request, a couple of them didn’t. They never invited me to their engagement or wedding. Still, I happened to accidentally see them at a few weddings of mutual classmates. A customary “Hi,” and that’s it.

Do I still hate them? No. I am actually thankful to them. If not for them, I would have been the weak girl who might have let the society hurt her, let the guy she dated hurt her, or the social stigma hurt her, but no, they were the first & the last set of people who hurt me, for I struggled & overcame.

My story might not be as sympathetic or as melancholic as most of the struggle stories, but I just wanted to be heard, for some preteen/teen somewhere might need these motivational words, “If you are bullied, you are not flawed or weak. However, if you let them keep bullying you, then you are. Stand up against bullying.”

~Love,
Stri

Read my other post on bullying, here.

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