This is how it all began......
Do you remember your first day of primary school?
Do you remember walking into the class room or school grounds with your giant back pack, full of hope and opportunity. The scared feeling you had, that you may not make any friends, or that people may not like you.
You would clutch onto the straps of your bag and march your little feet all the way into your class room.
Unpack your bag, clutching tightly to the books, which you had decorated with your family a few nights ago.
You walk into the room and get your desk, filling your tidy tray with your books, ruler and smelly pens and erasers. You feel ready now.
You look around the room trying to catch the eyes of a potential friend.
The morning goes smoothly, your teacher gets you to play some games to break the ice and get other kids to know each other. You’re having fun and a wave of relief washes over you. It’s going to be okay.
The lunch bell rings. The class run out to get their lunch and run down to the play ground to eat and play.
You sit with a group of girls, you all look at each others lunches, some girls start swapping sandwiches or things in their lunches…. and then one of the girls looks up at you and goes…..
”You cant have any of my roll ups because you’re fat….”
You feel your face go red, hot tears popping into your eyes and you look down so they can’t see how upset you are. The girls in the group all snicker. But you don’t get up and leave. Because you are frozen and trying not to cry. Inside a tiny part of you dies.
There was nobody there to stand up for me….. and maybe the comment meant nothing. Maybe that little girl had no idea what she was saying because she had heard her mum say it once to another one of her friends and thought that it was okay.
That excited hopeful feeling I had walking to into the school for the first time that day, disappeared.
Each lunch time became ground hog day.
”You cant go on the swings, you’re fat”
”You cant play tag, you’ll be too slow, because you’re fat”
”Yuck, no you cant be my girlfriend, you’re fat”
Through primary school and into high school these comments would be thrown at me, little darts sticking into my heart.
Each time I would go red, tears popping into my eyes, my heart sinking a little more. I would sit down and watch these kids play with each other and laugh and giggle. When picking teams happened for school sports, I was the last one standing. Nobody wanted me on their team. Nobody would even give me a go. They just assumed, she’s chubby and chunky, that means she can’t run or jump or do anything.
If you’ve been bullied before, you’ll know that things kids say, DON’T leave you. Even as an adult, I remember vivid moments of being bullied.
I remember being pushed down and my face shoved into the grass on the school grounds. A foot pressing into my head and being made to eat it because “Thats what fat cows do, they eat grass”.
Where did these young girls and young women hear these words. Was it from older siblings, parents or magazines or tv shows? Why did they think that It was okay. Did someone say it to them and they have deflected it onto me?
Bullying isn’t okay. Bullying led me to my eating disorder. Bullying led me to years and years of therapy and counselling. Bullying led me to believe that growing up, I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t pretty enough or going to ever be anything in my life.
Bullying destroyed me.
Be careful what you say around your children. Be careful what you say to yourself when your children are around. If you have a friend who is saying something around children who can hear these things, make it right, don’t join in.
Our actions. Our words.
These things lead to a bigger picture.
Something you say today, could be the start of a snowball effect.