Is there anyone alive who has never been bullied? I certainly was….right from secondary school. Young lad moving from the city to a rural town, well, it was inevitable really….in small country towns tribalism rules! It started with ‘that new lad thinks he’s hard, we’ll show him!!’ mentality.
I was 14 years old, and after walking my girlfriend home one night, everyone in the local youth club had appeared outside the chippy. I heard someone shout out:
“There’s that new lad from the city – hey! Think yer ‘ard do you?!!” (I didn’t miss the H!!! This was Derbyshire tha know’st!)
“Oy !!! I’m talking to you!!”
I just kept walking, thinking to myself, “There’s too many to stop – Just keep walking, Pete”.
Next thing I know, the sound of footsteps running up behind me and Bang!!! Punched in the back of my head! I picked myself up and walked home feeling so deflated. “I hate this new town!!”
I didn’t want to leave my house; going to school was fearful every day. All because I was the ‘new lad’. It was shit. I had had this for at least 3 schools – High school, I mean. That’s my excuse for shit grades!! Never could concentrate, me.
One lad used to stare me out in every lesson…strangely enough there’s a lad I now talk to on Facebook who used to scare the shit out of me every lunch break. Punched me a few times too! I was capable of fighting back but I had no confidence back then. I was fearful of others joining in if I had a go back!!
Looking back, I wish I had, because I feel doing nothing made it worse. Others figured you were weaker and then they would try it on! Luckily I wasn’t gonna let that happen and eventually I did start sticking up for myself. It took a long time, but I won a few fights in a park and my jiu-jitsu was giving me new-found abilities.
The army was the start of it again all over again. We would spend too long on ops waiting on standby. Some of the lads found it highly amusing to bully us CROWS (Combat Recruits Of War) – fresh meat, you know, new solders).
This confidence I’d built up was now getting knocked down again, slowly but surely. You couldn’t fight back as they were senior to me in rank or time, and there was a strong platoon feeling, a bond. I was in shit this time!! Signed my life away for 3 years with no way of getting out, no going home. You were living with them. After a while in the army I realised it was just a handful; that no one would have backed them up. But I didn’t know that back then. They would do stuff like make us run around broom poles as fast as we could, then try walking while our heads were spinning, and if you didn’t make them laugh and fall over, they’d make ya do it again!!
Or like the time a guy made me get on the 4-tonner truck on the way to the ranges. “Keep your eyes closed,” he said. “This is a test for all soldiers to see how strong they are.” So I closed my eyes and they sat on each arm and said, “Lift!”
I tried to lift thinking, “No way, this is bollocks!!’ Next thing a guy squats down on my face and rubs his ass on it! I was so sick – Mortified!!
This was funny to them, but I can honestly say it was the most demoralising time of my life…..well, besides nurses shoving pills up my ass and they were NICE! But when a pretty girl puts pills up your bum you feel awkward, I tell ya!
No, bullying has a massive effect on you, but I’ve learned that these events have made me a stronger man. And you should never think it will always be the same. Things change; kids are cruel; men can be animals. But I guess there is a point, a line.
No matter how badly you have or are still being bullied, never stop believing in yourself, even in the hardest times. By the way, I now talk as best mates to that lad in the playground, he’s had his fair share of shit now and he’s seeing life so differently. Most of us grow in life – ok, some never do, but most do.
We’re all given a life path, one that will change and shape us, whether we like it or not. I say to those who may be bullied out there, be proud of who you are and one day you’ll see how amazing it is to be you!
So don’t let the bastards get ya down. If you’re ever feeling you can’t deal with it, don’t give in – Talk! Tell a teacher. Seek help. Or punch the bully back right between the eyes like I should have done from the beginning! You might not win but they’ll think twice before picking on you again.
I started punching back and I will never stop now in anything I do in life. Bullies are usually not happy with their own life in some way or another, so don’t take it to heart
Be strong out there!!!!