I want to open up a bit to you this week and share my story of being bullied. I happen to be a very open person and I have no problem talking about personal things, so this topic is not something I struggle to talk about. I hope I can help any of you who have gone through that or are currently being bullied; I wish to give you some encouragement and advice on how to deal with teen bullying, because it affects a lot of youngsters.

Bullying started when me and my family moved to another town, literary to the other part of Slovenia. There I started to visit another school and I became the new kid. You probably know how difficult it must be for anyone who suddenly changes schools and becomes that new kid that no one knows. Well, on top of being a new kid, I had an accent and spoke in a different dialect (Slovenian language is very rich in dialects and almost no one speaks in the correct standard Slovenian), plus I was shy and had tons of family issues at home. Needless to say – being bullied was kind of meant to happen on those things alone.

At first it was cool, you know, you meet new people and you get along. I had friends and even though I wasn’t a part of the popular bunch, I still talked to everyone to some extent. But after a while, the popular kids started being mean to me, younger bullies that regularly got drunk and high started to notice me (for some reason) and my friends, if I can call them that, started to say things like: you are ugly, no boy will ever want you, nice body ugly face. I have no idea why I stayed in the group. I remember being told that I will get beaten after school, because I talked, only talked, to a guy that one girl dated. We knew each other for years and sometimes texted, but it wasn’t like we were flirting or hanging out. Then I would get trapped in the bathroom and younger girls would splash water on me, until I was soaked and humiliated.

I would cry and be all wet when I got back to class, but no one ever asked what happened. And I tried being cool you know – I would hang out with the smokers and eventually started to smoke (age 15), I would wear tons of makeup and let a boy that I liked put his hand on my thigh (he was my first kiss, a very, very bad one). I wanted to fit in and when my so called friends would tell me that I was ugly, it crushed me. I always felt like a freak, my skin was bad and I didn’t wear clothes that my rich parents bought me in Austria. But I was about to go to high school and my plan was to start all over again because no one would know me.

It started nice. I had a crush on the popular guy (blonde hair, blue eyes, tall, always surrounded by girls), obviously, I wore nice makeup and cool clothes, I would skip school to go out for a morning drink with a guy that I almost got beaten up for talking with had a crush on for 8 years (yes, 8 long years of being just a friend) and I had a bunch of cool friends. We would smoke in a park and ate at McDonald’s, we would go shopping together and texted cute boys – the dream of most teenage girls you know. Then there was a girl that went to primary school with me and she knew who I liked and who I talked to. She liked this guy that my cousin knew, and we would talk about him and stuff, nothing serious.

Until one day I came to school and no one would talk to me, no one. My friends would avoid me and tell me that they don’t want to hang out with me anymore and that I was a whore for doing what I did. I had no freaking idea what I did, so I insisted on knowing what happened. They told me that I took my best friends boyfriend. Literary stole her boyfriend. That was crazy. You know why? Because she never talked to him, except one hello at a party. And guess what? I never talked to him either. That day all my friends turned their back on me for something that they made up – apparently I stole her boyfriend.

But that was just the beginning. In the next few months I would get bullied by the whole class. That group of girls started to call me ugly names, move and shake my chair when I was sitting, literary yell at my face that they hope I fail class (I did, so hurray for them), they told the guy that I had a crush on that I liked him (guess what he did – kissed a girl right when he saw me walking towards him) and turned the whole damn class against me. No joke, out of 23 people, I only had one person that would talk with me and even she was looking at me like I was weird.

I eventually started skipping school and my grades got bad. I finished my first year, but failed the second year. I tried to move to the third year, but kept on failing at actually attending school. Everyone knew me as the weird kid; I wore sweatpants, no makeup, ponytail and headphones. No one cared. After two years of trying to finish the second grade I decided to drop out and get myself together. I lost my mother, my nonno and uncle, was diagnosed with clinical depression and wrote down a day on which I will kill myself. I saw no meaning in life, people hated me and I had no love for myself.

Final ceremony in primary school before we go to high school. I was smiling, because I hoped I will start a new chapter, not knowing that less than a year later the darkest phase in my life will begin. I was 15 when this photo was taken.

I do remember one day, a few months before I started my second year, when it got slightly better though. We were sitting in a class and waiting for the teacher to arrive and it was just me, a few other students and a girl that started the rumor that I stole her boyfriend. I got up and started telling her with confidence in my voice that she knows that rumor is not real. I told her that she should be ashamed of herself and that they could just tell me if they didn’t want to be my friends anymore. I told her that she is very well aware of her lies and how far has she taken them, so she should stop. After that, I was just ignored by everyone with an occasional rude comment.

After that I spent a few years at home, licking my wounds and hoping I will get out of it alive. As you can see, I am a survivor of a horrible bullying experience and not only that, I managed to forgive everyone that bullied me – verbally, mentally and physically. I am still recovering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, but overall I feel healthy. I now know that all those things needed to happen to me to learn how to love myself. I needed to be pushed down and humiliated to find compassion for myself.

I encourage you to find help if you are a victim of teen bullying, because there are a lot of people that want to help you. I will not include resources, because all of you are from different countries, but I want you to find groups or individuals in your area or country that are helping victims of bullying. You are not alone, trust me. I know that it feels like you can’t go through it and face them, but you can. I promise you that it does get better and that those people are so unloving towards themselves that they cannot show love towards anyone else.

People that hurt others don’t love themselves.

Please let me know in the comment section what is your story when it comes to teen bullying and how have you managed to deal with it. Are you bullied right now? Have you been bullied when you were younger? What ONE tip would you give to someone who wants to give up? Let me know your story and connect with me through Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tanja

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