As a reader of YA and books in general we come across a variate of topics from diversity to mental illness.
Today I'm gonna cover a topic that I'm sure most of you are familiar with and maybe (I hope not) experience.
I'm gonna talk about Bullying.
Bullying is a topic that we encounter in YA in ways and forms like cyber bulling to slut shaming.
I mentioned in the past that I had a history and have witness bullying. Reading a character in a book going trough bullying is painful to read as it brings back unpleasant memories and for me sometimes trigger anxiety.
I am not one to have anxiety but place me in a situation as such I'll get panic attack.
Since I could remember I was always the target for being picked on. From my race to how I look to who I am to even the school I went to. I've been picked, provoked and bullied in many ways form and means and each time does not get easier.
I never understand why I'm such an easy target as I never did anything to this people but as mentioned in one of my book reviews for This Song Will Save Your Life, there was a time where I let the bullies get the best of me and wave the white flag.
Being bullied is like a a nightmare that I can't wake up from though over the years I learned how to deal with it, open up to people I'm close to and ask for help.
In a way I'm very a very straight to the point person. If something or someone is bothering I'll talk to my parents or an adult figure about the problems I have. I'm lucky to have two loving and open parents that I know I can turn to for help and for me it ease the situation. Even so it still does not prevent it.
Now you guys will be wondering why am I suddenly writing this post and revisiting unpleasant events of my life. Well as for the last couple of weeks this nightmares have came back to 'haunt' me.
I'm writing this blog post not for sympathy or that it will get people to read it cause Bullying is Drama and people love drama. I'm writing this to open up with my friends, family, blog readers or anyone going trough this about my experience and hoping this could help give those of you who are having a hard time the courage to step up to the bullies and even ask for help at the same time to anyone who doing such to stop whether they are contentious of what they are doing or not.
I started this as a little essay on my words and after talking with my friend 'PJ' I decided I'm gonna post this here as who knows, maybe this might help someone out there going trough what I went.
Like in the book 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before', as the main character pours in her though and feelings of a guy she likes in a letter and moves on with her life, I'm writing this in order to move on with life.
I'm 21 and when I left high school I thought Uni was gonna be this safe zone where I don't have to face such situations. Sadly as mentioned the last couple of weeks have been one of the hardest in my 'university career' as on top of assignments, presentations and midterms the kids at my dorm have in one way or another been bulling me.
It started on one of the days the dorm had a fancy dress party where the theme is to wear white so everyone in my dorm got decked out in white sheets and outfits. On the night of the party I came back into my room after washing my dishes and set them on the shelve without closing the door as I was gonna do that after. Seconds later a group of my floor mates barge in without knocking and scared the heck out of me. Like trip and fall scare the heck out of me.
They wanted chips so I gave them my only packet of corn chips and they left.
The next day when I was studying heard a weird swiping sound from my door and I turn to see a key tag being toss and pulled back from under the door. At first I thought it was my key tag but I realized I had mine on the door.
It didn't bother but after a while it got annoying. I opened the door hoping it was a friend playing tricks but just as I open the door I heard people scramble on their feet and running out of my hallway.
A while later I heard more swooping sounds. This time I saw them tossing under my door random posters that were suppose to be hung up on our wall for like safety reason and as floor decorations. I was in rage that I opened the door and once again heard people scrambling away.
In rage I mumbled 'Inconsiderate children' and in Malay 'Budak Bodoh' and went on with my night
The next night I was near my door when a random person knocked really loudly like door shaking loud. At first I thought it was one of my friends as he too knock like that but when I open the door, guess what??? I heard scrambles of feet and no one was there.
Fortunately I'm opposite the RA's room this year and one of the guys chilling in the common room saw the whole thing so I reported to my RA the incident and went on with my night.
Now in some universities they have a thing call 'stalker space' and 'confession space'. A couple of nights ago I got a message from a friend who remembered I mentioned on facebook about the poster incident. She screen shot me this confession just before it was deleted where they say something like:
"To the girl in ABC Dorm, we are sorry not sorry for throwing those posters under the door in attempt to hit you. You shouted you will kill us blah blah blah ... Be ready for round two #rezlife"
I was with a friend when I got that message and its a good thing too as this triggered the nightmares and I broke down into a panic attack. As mentioned I rarely get panic attack. The last time it happened was when I was on a plane with my mum years ago (probably when I was 11) as I was scared of the turbulence.
I was scared. Scared for my safety and what this people had the potential to do to me. But another part of me think 'oh this are just kids who are really bored and decided to pick on the random kids'.
Still I feel violated in terms of my privacy so I called my parents for advice. As mentioned I have a very open relationship with them and I know I can turn to them whenever I need help. Its part of my personality where thinking logically if something is bothering me I will turn to my parents for guidance.
Its also comforting not just because I am handling this situation away from home but but to hear the assurance that 'everything will be okay' in my parents.
Their advice was straight forward and simple. Talk to the Residents Office which was what I did. I immediately sent an email and got an appointment set up the next day.
I went to the office the next day with the same friend (well call him S'Boy for now) I was with last night to talk to the coordinator for health and well being. There I gave them a full timeline of what's been going on, not leaving or sugar coating any information. I was straight to the point and told them what's been bothering me to help them resolve this problem.
The meeting was fast and nothing complicated was needed apart from leaving it to the coordinators to talk to this people and advice my RA about the situation. I was offered counseling but felt like I didn't need it at that time as this compared to what I faced in the past was not as drastic.
I also requested for them to keep my name out of this (good thing my door does not have a name tag) and to not punish them. I know in situation as such you will want your bullies to be punish in the worst way possible (even S'boy, PJ and a few other friends I later told about the situation wanted them punished). That's not my nature or upbringing. I was bought up to resolve conflict as peaceful as possible. My only request was for them to leave me alone and and for them to realize what they are doing is wrong.
So yah the situation got resolved and comparing to the situations I've been trough in the past, this isn't the worst though it still affected me.
Now some of you guys will think 'Hang on... it got resolved THAT FAST?"
Keep in mind guys I've faced this for years in many ways trough different forms whether its a classmate or a teacher (yes that happened too both primary and secondary) to even on YouTube. I've learned how to handle and resolve this sort of situation as fast and peaceful as possible over the years and a part which I guess this time I got lucky as I acted fast as soon as it started bothering me.
Bulling is not fun. It never is. No one deserve to be bullied physically, verbally, cyber etc.
Noticed how I never mentioned myself as the 'victim of bullying'? That's because in every situation I tried not to victimize myself and try to resolve it as quick as possible. I find calling myself a 'victim' makes me feel week and helpless which is not what want to feel in such situation. I hate to be the 'damsel in distress' (blah I hate just thinking that word) and hoping someone will swoop in and save me.
At the end of the day I always remind myself that I have to make that change to make things better. Each experience I been trough I learn from it and keep in mind what were the right or wrong choices I made. Its like a choose your own adventure game where the choices you make will affect the outcome. You can have a good ending, a okay ending or a bad ending.
I got lucky this time and got the 'good ending'.
There are a few 'good choices' I've used over the years that really helped me get trough bullying and move on with my life.
1) Write - 'Take that pain, Put it on a page'
Like what I'm doing now, I find something therapeutic on writing what's going on. You can journal it, write a poem, song or story, just write. Yes its very painful at first but once you're in the zone, let the emotions, hurt, anger, rage, sadness etc. flow as you write your pain on the page.
It helps when you want to move on but also documents what's been going on for future events.
Also as I mentioned TIMELINE of the situation is important. By knowing the timeline of the events happening it helps alot when seeking help.
I recalled from memory the timeline of the events when talking to the coordinator and this helped them ALOT for finding a way to resolve the situation.
2) Talking - 'There's somebody out there'
I like talking. I'm a very talkative and chatty person.
Talking to someone who you can trust and are close to or even someone who is a good listener helps. I find talking to someone and expressing what's been going on helps a lot and lifts this weight off my shoulders.
While I'm lucky and bless to have friends and family who cares and that I can open up to. Sadly this is not the case for everyone.
It could be they don't have the courage or are even embarrassed of what they are going trough. If you are feeling anything along the lines of such listen to me....
Don't feel this way! Its only gonna make it worst (trust me it will). Lift your chin up and talk to someone who you think will listen to you. You'll be surprise as they might care about you more than you think.
If you still are not up to talking to them then try counseling or if you are still at school try your teacher.
By talking to someone and voicing out what has been bothering you, it not only helps you deal with the situation but could maybe stop this from happening to others. Also you'll feel better and probably more confident when you know someone is on your side.
Don't feel alone as there is someone who does care for you. All you go to do is raise your voice.
Also be honest and straight to the point. Don't go all ring around the roses and tell them the story from the moon and back. It will take a longer time for them to find a way to resolve the situation.
3) DON'T GIVE A DAMN - 'Shake It Off'
Mind my language but SCREW WHAT THOSE PEOPLE DO OR SAY TO YOU!
Ignore what they say or as they got nothing better to do than to waste their time and effort on provoking you. Maybe deep down they might be going trough some even worst SHIT and this just make them feel better of themselves or maybe they are secretly JEALOUS of you.
Don't give a DAMN as when you do you give them more power and reasons to pick on you especially if you did nothing to deserve this. They are not the 'king/queen/boss' of you.
Ignore them. Who knows they might eventually get bored and move on.
Or else do what I like to do. Show some empathy and kill them with kindness.
I was often called the 'ASIAN NERD who loved to SHOWOFF' in first year economy as I always do my homework (cause duh we have to and I'm not gonna let 10 bonus marks go down the drain) and got top in my class by a group of kids and guess what??? One of the classmates who gave me the title is also Asian but an Aussie Asian.
To some people its offensive but to me I embrace it with a smile and say 'Thank you and sorry this offended you'.
I worked for it. I did nothing wrong but did what I was told and was rewarded with high marks.
So get that 'EMERGENCY TAYLOR SWIFT DANCE PARTY' playlist on and 'SHAKE IT OFF'
Let whatever they say go in one ear and come out the other as what they say is TOTAL BULLSHIT!
4) Move on - 'Gone is any trace of you, I think I am finally clean'
An experience like this can leave scars, bruises and wounds both metaphorically and physically.
But like a battle scar, each one of this will make you stronger and more confident.
It will not happen over night. It might take days, weeks, or even years before this nightmares can be buried and you can move on.Take your own time and move at your own pace. Be comfortable with yourself.
Facing bullying is like facing your fears. You need to take your time but at the end of the day its you who is facing this fear.
Take a deep breath and take that jump.
But also remember, let what's in the past go and move on to the future as things WILL get better.
To those of you who are going trough tough times, stay strong. It sucks but suck it up as it will get better.
To those of you who know anyone who is bullying or are doing this to others, stop doing it. You're not only ruining others but probably yourself. If you are bullying others out of boredom, than get a hobby and put your energy into something positive.
If you are doing this out of jealousy, maybe make friends with that person. I know this sounds weird. But gain their trust and make friends with them as they will help you improve you in whatever you're jealous at. If you're jealous at them for being good at math or even bullying that kid for their math homework, instead of bringing their spirits down, take a deep breath, suck up that ego and ask them for help. Who knows, you might make a friend or two.
If any of you have faced bulling, share in the comments how you deal with it.
If you made it to the end of this blog post, thank you so much for reading what I've been going trough. I really appreciate it.
Also to my friends and family who helped me trough this, thank you for your support and always being there for me. I love you guys.
The last 2 weeks ++ was tough but I'm thankful that this situation has settle. And when I press that publish button I'M READY to put this ordeal to the past and and let it go.
I'm ready to move on with life.