The other day, I was over on Toulouse and Tonic’s blog reading her post on Bully Shaming™. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do. It’s an awesome post, and Toulouse is an awesome blogger.
What I loved most about this post is that someone who is so gorgeous and so obviously has her shit together is speaking out on something no one wants to admit they’ve been through.
I was bullied in high school.
And Toulouse has inspired me to share my story with you.
So here goes . . .
As many of you already know, I grew up in South East Asia and went to an international school. In my recent post where I dished the details of my first kiss, I told you that there were 3 distinct groups in my school:
2. Normal People
Of course, within each of these 3 groups, there were many, many subgroups. Some were cooler than others. Some were down right nasty.
My junior year in high school, there was one such nasty group. I’ll call them The Skanks as I just cannot come up with a more respectful way to refer to them.
The Skanks were comprised of a bunch of alternative-type girls who hung out at the most popular mall in the country (which was comprised of a bunch of awesome little bars and other hang outs that served alcohol to underage drinkers like us) and associated with a local gang (who also frequented that mall). So it was serious business if you pissed them off. And if you were unfortunate enough to do so, they took great pleasure in threatening you. And it didn’t matter what your “social status” was at school – you could be the most popular girl in your class, but if you pissed them off, you were toast.
Example: one weekend, a friend of mine hooked up with a guy at a club who didn’t go to our school. Turns out he was friends with one of The Skanks, and on Monday morning, the entire Skank clan came up to my friend (in front of a lot of other students), held her against a wall, and told her she better watch her back and that she better never, ever do anything to hurt this (guy) friend of theirs. For the next week, my friend was scared shitless to walk the halls by herself because any time she saw one of The Skanks, they would yell nasty things at her, purposefully bump into her, threaten her . . . you get the idea. And she was scared out of her mind to keep seeing the guy she had met, but was also worried all hell would break loose if she told him she never wanted to see him again. What a conundrum, right?
So I knew firsthand how horrible these bitches could be, and I made it a point never to piss them off (and never to make eye contact with them if I saw them walking towards me in the halls).
About halfway through junior year, I was sitting with a bunch of my friends before the first bell rang, and I saw The Skanks walking our way. We all muttered “oh shit” under our breath and moved back slightly so we didn’t get in their way as they hunted down whomever their next target was.
Imagine my mortification when I heard one of them yell, “Dani, can you stand up please?”
What the hell had I done?
(And why did my boyfriend stand up and loudly say, “I’m staying out of it!!”? What an asshole.)
So I stood up and they took me to an area where no teachers could see us and then one of them yelled, “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY IN THE LIBRARY YESTERDAY?” at the top of her lungs.
I honestly had no idea. And I was pretty sure I was going to wet my pants.
Do you know what I said in response? I said, “I don’t know, why don’t you refresh my memory?”
Shit. That was not the right thing to say.
They went batshit crazy on me. Turns out I had said something to my best friend’s boyfriend about another guy they were friends with. I honestly can’t remember what it was I said, but it was obviously not something I would’ve said to his face.
And they were pissed.
And, as predicted, they threatened me, told me to watch my back and keep my mouth shut, and suggested I never run into them outside of school or they would kick the shit out of me.
Needless to say, I spent the next 10 minutes crying in the bathroom and was late to Homeroom. My best friend, who was late to school that day, went APE SHIT when she saw me and started yelling how freaking ridiculous these girls were.
I love her.
But at lunchtime, The Skanks cornered her and made the same threats they had made to me.
So we were both screwed.
Given the option, I would’ve transferred schools. It was that bad. Walking to and from my classes and sitting in the cafeteria scared the crap out of me for the next week or so, and there was no way in hell I was going to that awesome mall where everyone hung out after school. I was even choosy about what bars I went to with my friends on the weekend (yes, I partook it way too much underage drinking).
And then junior year ended, they graduated, and I was top dog at school.
Fast forward 11 years and I traveled back to Asia to attend the 50th anniversary of my high school. And on the first of the 7 nights we were all there to celebrate, who did I see? One of The Skanks.
Only this time, I think she was the one who was trying not to wet her pants.
Not me. I had made something of my life by then, and I managed to tie that trip into a business trip (take that, biatch!). And I wasn’t going to let some loser who peaked in high school ruin a trip I had been looking forward to and planning for months.
But I didn’t want my week back home to be awkward, so I was the bigger person – I went up, said hello, and hugged her (yes, I hugged her), and all of us partied together like we were long lost friends for the rest of the week.
But don’t worry. I made sure she got her comeuppance.
You see, my best friend was also in town for that event – the same best friend who had stuck up for me all those years ago. And after the 2 of us had consumed way too many cocktails that first night, we decided it was time to confront that bitch who had made the last half of our junior year miserable. And we decided to confront her in front of EVERYONE who was out with us that night.
I almost felt badly for her when I saw how red her face went and how much she squirmed when we asked her why she was such an awful person in high school.
Once we cleared the air, we all pretended to laugh it off, but I caught her eye and I gave her one of those looks that said, “I may forgive you, but I’ll never forget how horrible you were to me”.
She has since sent me a Facebook request (which I accepted) and made comments on pictures of my daughter, so I know she regrets how she made me feel in high school. And I know she will spend the rest of her life feeling badly that she treated me (and many others) the way she did.
And now she’s a mom. I wonder how she’ll react if her son is bullied?
Do I forgive her? Sure. She was a kid.
Will I ever forget? Absolutely not.
I’ve just chosen to leave her fate up to that glorious bitch named Karma . . .
BULLYING is the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person physically or mentally. Learn more about bully prevention at www.stopbullying.gov.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by bulling, get on the bully shame train with us.
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