Updated: Aug 20
"This life. This night. Your pain. Your hope. It matters. All of it matters." - Jamie Tworkowski
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 9-8-8 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. These services are free and confidential.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a month when we raise awareness of the dangers of bullying and the harmful effects it has on people.
My story dates back to October 4th, 2010, when I was just in sixth grade. I attended a school called Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts in Detroit. This is where the bullying intensified since elementary school. 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. I was always picked on for my body image and sexuality. Many people tried to change my personality, and as a result, didn't wasn't successful.
On this particular day is when I was at my wit's end. It was lunchtime, which occurred around noon. I was in line to get lunch and a couple of people were already picking with me. I didn't mind it because I didn't have time to get into it with them. I got my lunch and went towards a seat in the lunchroom. Apparently, this was someone's "assigned" seat. Now, I didn't mind moving somewhere else, but it was the way it was said. It was in a very rude manner.
Instead of politely saying "I sit 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.
I was never so embarrassed in my life. I was on the floor, in shock at what just took place. Everyone was laughing and jeering at me, didn't even bother to help me up or at least defend me in some sort of way. 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 my 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.
As I reflect on my experience 12 years later, I am proud of where I am. 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 23 years old and a first-generation college graduate with two degrees under my belt. Throughout my years in college, I have made a positive impact on many students' 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.
One thing that I have learned is that it is okay to be unapologetically you. No one can write your story and no one can do what you do. I'm proud of who I am and I want other people to feel the same way. No one should be bullied for being themselves or have to change their personality to fit in. Take this month to educate children on the harmful effects of bullying and the consequences attached to it. No one should have to feel bad about themselves and be made fun of.
Stop Bullying: https://www.stopbullying.gov/
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022. https://988lifeline.org/
National Bullying Prevention Center: https://www.pacer.org/bullying/info/
Bullying Laws: nstlaw.com/child-safety/bullying-prevention/