We are continuing our #Bullieswontwin series, If you’re not already familiar with the series then you can read all about Our #Bullieswontwin Guest post series by following this link . Last week we heard the amazing story from Sophie Mei Lan, I think you will all agree that Sophie has more than shown that bullies will not knock her down. She is doing absolutely amazing. I’m still very shocked that someone who is so beautiful was taunted in such a way. I would put money on the fact it is because she is stunning and the people were jealous of her.
This week the lovely Nicole from The Mum Reviews is sharing her story with us, please don’t forget if you like our series and want to support us please share this post and our other stories and help us to spread the word Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Bullieswontwin .
Please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Nicole and I’m a parenting blogger over at The Mum Reviews. I live in Surrey with my husband, two sons aged 2 and 5, and a black & white cat. I’ve lived in the UK for 16 years but I grew up in the USA. In my day job I work as an editor at an academic publishing company.
Can you remember when the bullying started for you? Where were you? What happened?
I’ve experienced bullying in a few different contexts, but the most hurtful type was the “mean girls” sort of bullying you get in secondary school. It involved public humiliation, hurtful comments about my looks and demeanour, spreading malicious rumours about my behaviour, and “poaching” my friends.
One example of the humiliation was when, during an overnight school trip, some girls stole my underpants from my bag and then left them in the middle of the path. They lay in wait for me and then jumped out and started jeering at me asking why I throw my underwear around and teasing me for the style of underwear I had (quite nice satiny ones actually – they were just jealous!). I should have ignored them and pretended the pants weren’t mine but instead I picked them up and ran off crying.
Another time some girls forced me to go into the bathroom and take off my bra to prove to them I didn’t stuff it to make my boobs look better (jealousy again!). Then they threw some toilet roll on the floor and pretended it had come out of my bra, so I couldn’t win. Those same girls use to write cruel “poems” about me on the whiteboard in classrooms. They turned my best friend of the time against me – they made her their friend and she joined in with them in being cruel to me.
There were also always rumours. Apparently I was a big slut who slept with everyone, even though I slept with absolutely no one (and how could I – I was too unpopular!). I was constantly watched for a potential form of behaviour that they could start mocking. For example, I once sat on a stool while talking to a teacher. Apparently, my posture on the stool left something to be desired, and one of the boys started imitating the way I supposedly sat. It was called “doing the Nicole” and was quite hilarious, apparently.
Can you remember how it made you feel at the time?
It definitely hurt. I would cry a lot when I was on my own and occasionally I would violently lash out at people. The girl who stole my underwear later wrote something very rude in my yearbook (Americans have these books every year with everyone’s pictures and all your classmates sign it, for posterity and stuff). I responded with something slightly more rude, and when she confronted me we got in a girl fight. Full on slaps and hair pulling. I reckon I won.
So yes I got in trouble at school for it. I felt bad and I think my grades even suffered a bit. But I also tried pretty hard not to let them get me down. I focused on finding friends of my own and got better and better over the years at ignoring the haters. When I graduated high school, a few people who weren’t my friends but didn’t bully me either told me how much they admired my attitude. That was quite nice … but it would have been better if they had stood up for me!
How has bullying affected you in your life and how you are as a person?
It’s funny looking back because I think in my youth I found it easier to stand tall and be confident in the face of bullying. I kind of created my own narrative of myself and didn’t give a monkey’s what other people thought (except I did – but I kept telling myself that I didn’t). As an adult, the undermining of confidence that I faced in my youth does sometimes come back to bite me. I get very stressed now about being in situations in which someone might reject me. It sometimes affects me at work. My job involves convincing people to write books for us and I find it hard to face possible lack of interest or rejection. It takes me back to the school girl who just wanted to be accepted and liked.
BUT at the same time, I have all the things I want in life. I have a successful career, a husband who loves me (and he’s got an English accent – American girls dream of this), lovely kids, lovely friends … the list goes on. So bullying bashed my confidence, but it didn’t stop me from growing up and having a happy life.
If you could change anything about your experience what would it be? What would you do differently?
I was often pretty clueless and didn’t realise when I was doing something that left me open to ridicule. In hindsight, I can see the times I shot myself in the foot. But I can’t beat myself up about that because I didn’t know any better. I think I did the best I could in the circumstances and I’m actually pretty proud of the way I dealt with it.
If you could give one piece of advice to somebody who is going through bullying now what would it be?
Remember that bullies are doing it because they have issues of their own and they are taking them out on you. They might be insecure, have a terrible home life, or even might just be a little bit stupid. Don’t let their problems become yours. School is a tiny fraction of your life, even though it seems when you’re young that it takes forever. Before you know it, you’ll be all grown up and you’ll be able to choose where to go next and who you spend your time with. Hold your head high and look to your own dreams for the future.
I think you will all agree it was very brave of Nicole to be so open and honest with us and she has only done it in order to support our campaign so Thank You Nicole.
If you would like to know more about Nicole and her blog then please follow the links below.