Disclaimer: This article contains traumatizing events of suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. These services are free and confidential.
October 4th, 2010 is a day of reflection for me. What I have endured throughout my years in the educational system is something that leads people like myself to depression, suicidal thoughts, ideations, and attempts. Many people in society have often ignored bullying and it is often overlooked in schools.
Bullying for me began in elementary school, where I would find myself going to a battleground ready for a fight. Throughout my years, I have been everyone's punching bag. Every day, I had to fight both physically and verbally. Why was I bullied? Good question. Answers come from sexuality to body image and personality. This resulted in me getting suspended multiple times for defending myself. It was a constant losing battle. No one liked me back then.
However, in sixth grade, is where the bullying became too much to handle.
It all started on October 6th, 2010 when I attended Brenda Scott Elementary Middle School. It was a nice school. I went to school with the intention of having a great day. But of course, it was quickly shut down by another day of yelling. Two questions made my blood boil that day: "Are you gay?" and "Does your mom know your gay?" This infuriated me because I felt like why does someone care what their sexuality was.
I was always focused on myself - surviving. I would stay quiet and listen to everything the bullies had to say just so that I could survive each and every school day. I never confided in my parents about what was going on with me. I felt bad about being one of the few kids who focused on themselves, ignoring the world, and not waiting for a warm, positive, cordial environment where I can flourish to thrive.
This was part of my everyday routine. Every day, I was made to feel like I'm worthless because I don't fit in with the stereotypical groups in schools. I was my own person and I was rejected by the student population because of it. It was like being myself was forbidden. I was completely isolated from everyone else with very few friends.
After the fourth period, it was lunchtime. This is where it all began. I was in the line to get lunch when a couple of people started picking with me. I tried my best to ignore them but it was the most dreadful moment of my life. When I got my lunch, I proceeded to my seat. Apparently, that was someone else's "assigned" seat, but it was a lunchroom. The way this person came at me was just rude.
Instead of saying, "I was sitting here," they said, "Get up, b****." Even though I had gotten up and left to find somewhere else to sit, they followed me and came all up in my face threatening to fight me. I am just standing my ground. The next thing I know, my plate was knocked out of my hand and several punches were blown to my face and I fell to the ground.
What makes it worse is that everybody saw it and was laughing and jeering at me. I have never felt so humiliated in my life. Nobody would help me up or even attempt to see how I was doing.
After lunch, my life was miserable. At this point, I contemplated suicide because I just couldn't take it after that. "Why am I even on Earth if people are just going to make my life miserable?" I questioned. "Do I belong here?" I was already dealing with depression from the prior years and this only made it worse.
Little did I know that some people heard me and pulled me aside. We had a conversation where my emotions got the best of me. It was the first time that someone in middle school actually cared about me. When I got home, word of me having suicidal thoughts reached my neighborhood, where my mom and grandmother had a long talk with me. Since then, I have been working on myself as an individual.
Being observative in my childhood, I could understand why people have bullying tendencies and behaviors. They believed that I was weak because I don't fight. I feel like fighting is not a symbol to prove that you're strong. Because they thought I was weak, I stayed strong and unfazed. No matter how hard I tried to be myself, bullying traumatized my confidence in school.
During my school years, I ignored, push through, survived, but do not forget the memories.
As I think of this story today, I'm proud of how far I have become since I was 11. It was my parents who got me through some of the toughest years of my life and I am forever grateful for them. Since then, I have become more stronger and diligent and through God's grace, I wouldn't be here today. I'm proud that I stood my ground against these bullies and proved them wrong.
Now, I'm 22 and a first-generation, low-income college student at Michigan State University pursuing two degrees. Throughout my years in college, I have made a positive impact on many student's lives through my positivity, patience, and ability to empathize with other people. I'm proud to say that I am both a bullying and suicide survivor and I want everyone to know the dangerous consequences of bullying and what it could lead to.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and the fact that bullying can lead to suicide is what makes this a month of reflection. This month, take time to learn about the harmful effects of bullying and what it could lead to. Utilize resources to inform schools on bullying and what they can do to prevent it. No one should have to be bullied for being themselves, color, age, sexuality, or whatever the case might be.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or text the Crisis Help Line by texting HOME to 741741.