The other day, I logged onto Facebook to find a friend request from somebody that I went to school with. No big deal you’d think, until I’d realised that it was the kid (now fully grown yob) that had made my life hell for 4 years consistently.
Staring at the screen in disbelief I couldn’t help but wonder if she was now suffering with a serious case of amnesia (& therefore whether medical attention was required) or is simply a great believer in the “time’s a healer” philosophy. Once I’d gathered my thoughts, I couldn’t believe that all these years later she’d remembered my name & more to the point would still be thinking about me to add me! (I should clarify, we don’t have mutual friends, I’ve got a strict policy when it comes to school friends!)
Of course I’ve been told that curiosity killed the cat, but that was a risk I was prepared to take as I had a quick nose through her profile. I was amazed to find that her friends are the clique that she hung out with at school and the jokes resemble those you would have expected in year 9, recalling childhood memories. Most of the group seem not to have careers, be living within streets of where we grew up & sadly have offspring that seem to be repeating the cycle.
I’m probably being really unfair & I’m definitely not defining success through career or money. If they are happy with their lives, then in my eyes that is success. However, as I nosed through their profiles, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad for them.
So many years later, I’m almost grateful that I was bullied. It made me resilient, it taught me a sense of humour (& the ability to mock myself before anyone else could) and most importantly it encouraged me to reinvent myself as soon as I left school (complete with a late developing set of boobs) – something that the bullies seemed to miss out on. They’re still relying upon the popularity they fostered as kids, as though that was the highlight of their lives, the peak. I on the other hand, got to choose the kind of person that I wanted to be, starting from scratch.
At the time, I remember feeling like I was the only person in the world to have been going through it. But now, as a grown woman, I look around me & many of the people who I admire the most have recalled tales of bullying. It has given them the very qualities that I admire and respect.
As a mum-to-be, I can’t imagine the pain that it must cause to see your little one going through hell in the school grounds. However, I will take solace in the knowledge that it made me who I am today & that’s nothing to be ashamed of.