I don’t know how much you know about me, but if you’re reading this, then chances are we’ve probably met in person. From what I’ve been told, love me or hate me, I definitely change the atmosphere of any room I’m in.
Has that always been the case? I mean, sure. Anybody who lives and breathes changes the atmosphere of the room they walk into, some just do it more obnoxiously than others… like myself.
Recently, I was talking to my roommates and jokingly I said, “I think when I was younger I was probably bullied, but it never turned out the way they thought it would because I always laughed with them.” And of course, we all laughed at that, but somehow saying those words out loud brought memories back of times I was actually bullied, but seriously did not know what was happening.
I texted my mom and told her that I had this revelation and she texted me back: “You were. It made me angrier than you.” Well alright then. This was 2 days ago, and since then it’s almost been burning in me that I need to say something. Not because I want all of this attention, because I don’t. But bullying has been a problem for about as long as language has been around… so why is it suddenly a big deal that people raise awareness for?
The answer for that I believe is because depression and suicide are so much bigger than they were before. Or at least, they’re both talked about so much more. I don’t have any big revelations or statistics to throw at you, just this: that what we say affects those around us.
In my case, I was completely oblivious half the time because I seriously didn’t realize that people didn’t like me. It’s made me who I am today, what I like to call a “clique-breaker.” I’ve never belonged in a clique and if people ask me if there are cliques, I honestly don’t know… unless people are intentionally pushing me out or I’m isolating my own self.
However, just because I didn’t struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean I don’t know people who do or did. My dad struggled with depression for a good portion of his life. He was bullied for a good portion of his childhood. There are things I know based on stories from him and my mom that I can’t share here, but just know, my dad was ultimately a victim of bullying and in the end it cost him his life.
Am I blaming those bullies, or the Army, or some weirdly late case of PTSD for the fact that my father is dead? No, ultimately it was my dad’s decision to take his own life. He knew what he was getting into when he decided to entertain the thought of suicide, and despite our best efforts, neither Mom nor I nor anyone else could’ve said or did anything that would’ve changed the course of what happened.
Honestly, I’m at peace with that thought. Do I still get sad that my dad is no longer a part of my life? Yeah, pretty much everyday. What daughter doesn’t wish she had her father there to watch some of her biggest life achievements? I’m going to be graduating from the one school I’ve had a burning desire to go to since I was 12, and my dad doesn’t get to see me do it. That’s hard. I’m almost crying thinking about it.
What is my point, you might be wondering? Well, I’m glad you asked. Even in writing, I take the long way around a story.
The point is, my naivety (yes, that’s a correct spelling for the word, I just looked it up) in the fact that I was bullied is one of the things that I believed help me get through my dad’s passing. However, that naivety didn’t come from my stupidity or ignorance (though I do remember being called both as a child)… I believe it came from the protection of Jesus. I know, I just got super spiritual.
It’s kind of hard not to be “spiritual” when the reason I’m still alive is because I’m so grounded in my faith. Because let me tell you, if it wasn’t for Jesus, I definitely would’ve killed myself… or I would at least be a very depressed person.
I have depressed days, but I always fall back on the faith and hope that I have in Jesus Christ my Savior. He is always faithful, and He’s never left me even in my darkest times. Because He’s never left me, I’ll never leave Him.
Today, the bullies might think they’ve won, but they won’t win the war. It’s already been won. Darkness is receding, the light is breaking in stronger than ever. Because of that, Jesus is the reason that I and my family still live and breathe, and He is the reason that I am the way I am.
I was born to stand out. I was born to be a clique-breaker.