by Dylan Buckley
I can remember being bullied as early as the 3rd grade. For 15 years, I dealt with the teasing, the name calling, the physical violence, and the rumors. . . yet I did absolutely nothing about it. The question that I constantly ask myself and the question that you’re probably asking now is, Why? Why would someone allow themselves to be bullied for that long while staying quiet about it? The truth is, I had believed that the reasons behind my silence were justified. I had thought that being silent would spare me from harsher circumstances and worse torment. But I was wrong. If you are being bullied, please read through my reasons for silence below and learn from the mistakes that I have made.
1. I Believed That I Deserved It
When people tell you the same things about who you are over a long period of time, you begin to believe it. The teasing and the name-calling became “normal” and I started to believe the things that people were saying about me. I thought that I deserved this treatment from others because of who I was. Never believe your bullies. Realize your self-worth and push to create consequences for the people around you who are putting you down. No one deserves to be bullied and allowing it to continue will only break you down over time.
2. I Was Afraid
The rumors began in my junior year of high school. I was openly gay at this point, whether I had accepted it or not, and with that came a slew of rumors and insults towards me. It all began with a simple text. I was talking to a guy and my sexuality came up. He took it as though I was hitting on him and he decided that it was okay to tell everyone around him that that was what had happened. I couldn’t walk outside my own house without having people yell at me from their cars or make comments about the situation as they walked by. I was afraid. Not because I was scared of the people who believed the rumor, but I was worried that I had done something wrong.
I was worried that somehow, the situation was actually my fault or that people would perceive me differently because of it. Knowing what I know now, I would’ve gladly done something about the situation. You can’t kill a rumor, but you can hold people accountable for their actions.
3. I Didn’t Want My Family to Know
Growing up, I was extremely concerned about what my family thought about me. Almost every decision I made revolved around that concern. When the bullying began, I thought that keeping quiet about it would be the best decision to make. If they didn’t know about it, it wouldn’t become a problem. I succeeded in the fact that they never found out but the bullies succeeded in putting me down every day. It doesn’t matter what people think of you. What matters is that you’re treated like a human being.
4. I Felt Powerless
I began experiencing depression when I was about 14. As the years went on, my depression got worse and the bullying got worse. I became depression and the words and actions of other people added to the pain, making me feel even more powerless and worthless than before. When you’re depressed, you won’t even feel like getting out of bed, which made dealing with my bullies a low priority on my list. I gave up and I gave into the feelings that I was experiencing. If I have anything to say about this, it’s that you should fight no matter what. No matter how beaten down you are, you still have the ability and the responsibility to fight for yourself.
5. I Was Bullying Myself As Well
People around me weren’t the only ones responsible for the bullying. I was bullying myself as well. I told myself how ugly, fat, and terrible I was on a daily basis. I would cut myself and I would stay awake at night, telling myself how much I deserved to die. It’s hard to blame other people for bullying you when the biggest bully is yourself. I felt that it was hypocritical to go after others when I was engaging in the bullying too. However, I know now that I still should’ve done something about my bullies and I should’ve done something about the way that I treated myself.
My story didn’t end with me getting justice or eventually being liked by everyone. It ended with me trying to kill myself. It’s not a happy ending but it’s the reality of what happens if you make the decision to say nothing. I hope that you can walk away from this piece with some wisdom and that you will gather the strength to deal with your bullies. Remember, you are worth it.
You don’t have to be silent anymore. If you are being bullied, talk with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 so you can find better options.