In this world we are supposed to think that little girls and boys are made out of sugar and spice, and everything nice. Unfortunately, that’s not true. When teens go for help in a bullying situation, most adults don’t realize how cruel kids can really be. With all the technology advances, bullying has reached a whole new level. As a young teen, imagine being taunted 24/7. Most can’t imagine that, but for some that nightmare is a reality. Others take advantage of all the latest ways to communicate. It’s one thing if you have a bad day because someone called you a name, but constantly being told your life has no value, and that your very existence disgusts others creates major self esteem issues. I personally have had an experience with no-good people who just wanted to feel like they were better than me. So they were succeeding in doing that by constantly putting me down. That’s why when I heard Phoebe Prince’s story, it really tugged on my heart.
Phoebe Prince was a young teen, just like you and I. She had just come from Ireland and started to date a popular boy and was excited about seeing America. After she began school, she received daily verbal abuse, and threats for physical abuse. When she came home from school, it didn’t stop. The bullies did everything they could to ensure Phoebe’s life was nothing but torture. They began to leave cruel remarks on her Facebook page. To everyone who thinks this is funny, it’s not. This is called CYBER BULLYING. It can lead to low self esteem and teen suicide. I have also had my own personal experience with cyber bullying.
I still remember it as clear as day. After missing days of school because I was too upset to go back, I finally faced the music and went to school that rainy Monday. Tears rolling down my face I entered the school building. The school signs that had students coming together and smiling angered me. I felt like they were a lie. After I slowly walked the hallway I wiped my tears and opened the doors to what was going to be another grueling day of taunting remarks about my “frizzy hair”. But I felt like maybe there was hope that they had found someone to pick on who deserved it. I must have unpacked for 20 minutes because I knew no one would invite me to play a math game, which we had to do every other day. After everyone got into their seats I sunk into my chair trying to duck so no one would notice I was in the room, but surely they did. That day it wasn’t rude remarks, it was them throwing paper balls in my hair. To this day I don’t sit at the front desk unless I have to. I hate myself for not turning around and saying something, but I knew if I did they would say something horrible to me about my appearance, and I figured a hit on my back is worse than a hit on my self esteem. I can’t overcome my insecurities as easily as taking a paper ball out of my hair. I was crying on the inside and trying to keep from crying on the out. Little did I know that was just the beginning of it all. I got threats on my message machine, if I signed in to check my email kids from my class bombarded me with ugly comments about my appearance, and how worthless I am. I was singled out in games we played, sport teams, and in group work. And what astonishes me is the teachers did NOTHING. They saw it going on, and even helped them come up with an excuse of why me and I guess the other “odd ones out” couldn’t eat lunch in the classroom as well.
The next day I went into gym, we were playing field hockey. Of course no one picked me to be on their team, so I just stood somewhere on the outfield. That day I had hope that it could be a good day, because my sister had straightened my hair the night before, and my mom had bought me a brand new outfit. I was feeling so confident. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. So I thought. I was perfectly content standing in the outfield. But then I hear a comment about my weight purposely shouted across the field for me to hear. But the most hurtful thing was I saw the people who I thought were my friends huddled around the pack of monsters laughing too. The night before I had gotten a message on my phone telling me that they turned all my friends against me, that no one was on my side, that everyone thinks I am ugly. So when those girls made that remark I couldn’t take it anymore. I slammed the field hockey stick on the ground, and couldn’t stop myself from crying. I was so embarrassed I started to choke because I couldn’t breathe I was crying so hard. After everyone saw me, I was mortified. Then the bystanders apologized to me and told me not to worry what they said, but a few moments ago they were laughing at me too. I don’t know what happened inside me that day, but in a way I think it was my breaking point. I broke free of everyone else’s opinions of me. That day I got picked up from that horrible school and vowed I’d never go back; and I didn’t go back. To this day I have no idea why everyone didn’t like me, or why they had chosen me to hate. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have wonderful parents, and two very supportive sisters who told me I was amazing every day. When teens have that type of pressure on them it makes them not think clearly. All those evil things coming out of the mouths of innocent looking children can really fog someone’s self image. Luckily I would have never even considered suicide or harming myself in anyway, because I was blessed with an amazing family, my faith, and an outside life. For some though, school is all the kids have. And to be threatened and mocked around the clock can cause kids to really do things they would not normally do.
Since 7th grade, I’ve come a long way. I now realize I wasn’t the problem. They were the problem. To the teens out there, I know usually adults say the reason they pick on you is because they’re not happy with themselves. The fact of the matter is though, that’s true. It’s just that right now our self esteems are so bruised, we can’t see the truth that leys beneath the surface. I now have a healthy self image, and know I deserve more than to let other people treat me like I am the dirt under their shoes. My message to teens is, you cannot let these horrible children get to you. As the age old saying goes, no one will love you unless you love yourself. Even if you can’t switch schools like I was lucky enough to do, you will get through school, if you allow yourself. Having a positive outlook on not only yourself, and life, you will find that you are a much happier person. If you are caught in an ugly bullying situation, tell an adult. This does not make you a tattle tale; it can potentially save you or someone else’s life. Also, you could try to plan things to look forward to outside of school. That way you can give your mind a chance to relax, and possibly make new friends. Trust me on this, you deserve to live. Despite what anyone says, always keep in mind you are absolutely deserving of a happy life. It’s too late for Phoebe, but it’s not too late for you.