I’ve just read a blog post and it’s had a profound effect on me. Click here for the post When I had finished, I almost decided to delete most of my previous posts and start again. The post on Single Dad Laughing concerned bullying. I have alluded to the bullying I suffered at school in a previous post, but it didn’t really show the extent of the situation. I was bullied for 3 years, every day when I lived in Newport. I had no friends and the other kids decided I was gay. I don’t know why, maybe because I was shy. My family moved around a lot when I was young, and moving to a new school in Wales happened when I was 10. I was happy during my primary school years in Chepstow, and I remember the school voting for the end of school trip. We had the choice of going somewhere and having a complete holiday, or what seemed like a much more exciting option that would mean we had to do some school work while there. I knew that I wouldn’t be at the school for the trip, but they let me vote anyway.
Then with the move to Wales, everything changed. At the time I never really understood why. I struggled to make friends at my new school. I honestly can’t remember anyone there I could of called a friend. I wasn’t bullied, just ignored. I spent the last year of primary school, pretty much on my own.
Then came the move to secondary school, and that’s where things went wrong for me. One day it seemed like the entire school turned on me. Most of this bullying was taunting, name calling, laughing at me, and the inevitable shunning that accompanies this treatment. I do remember one kid, who beat me up out of school hours. Well, he punched me as I lay down on the floor huddled into a ball. I never had the confidence to stand up for myself. Always thinking it was something that I was doing wrong that caused it. My self confidence was quickly destroyed and what remained was slowly crushed to dust.
After 3 years of this, my family moved on again at I got a fresh start.
At my new school things weren’t so bad. I was now a quiet person and was mostly left alone, but by now I was academically stunted and in the lower groups for most subjects. Little by little the bullying started again. Not quite to the same level, and again I ignored it. I had come to think it was the way things were. I believed I was a bit stupid and rubbish at sports. I wasn’t smart enough to get on with the swots and because I don’t like football or rugby, I didn’t get on with the other kids. I did have some friends, and things had generally improved. I had two mates in particular who I stayed friends with for many years. Overall though I was still unable to function in social situations, and found it hard to talk to people I didn’t know well. Which is a problem I still have, now at the age of thirty nine.
After school I went to college to re-sit my GCSE’s after leaving school with only one grade C. I failed the again. Both my mates enrolled at the college, but I was the only one who stayed there more than a week. I failed again because I found it hard to walk into a class or even find the class, being unable to ask for help. The whole experience was too intimidating.
After a couple of low paid years in employment. I was drawing pictures while covering reception in my latest job and one of my colleagues suggest I should go to art school after seeing them. So I did.
I enrolled on a course in ceramics at the local college. Where I got my BTEC national diploma.
Then I should of gone to University, but my lack of self confidence prevented me from taking this step. I ended up working in a pottery. I should of been a potter, but because I thought so little of myself I was spending everyday digging mud into the machinery making usable clay. Earning what I would of got for free on the dole, and paying the travel costs to get there. During this time my friends had moved on. One of them had emigrated to America and the other was living in London. I’ve never and still don’t like talking on the phone, so we pretty much lost touch.
So I left this job and got a job in a petrol station. With the main purpose of increasing my self confidence, and working in a customer facing role did work. During this time I brought a flat, got a promotion to supervisor and became happier talking to people. Generally more comfortable in my own skin. I still spent most of my time off on my own. I tried going out to the pub, but its so boring.
I left this job for a night shift job in another petrol station, but returned to the same job again. Night shift work wasn’t helping my self confidence. After my return I met my future wife, who happens to be the sister of one of my best mates. The one that moved to London. I didn’t know her when we were younger, but we got together for an evening and haven’t really been apart since. I’ve never got on with anyone so well.
One day, I finally stood up for myself. I worked a whole shift at the garage, and at the end was so pissed off I took of my uniform and threw it at the deputy manager and quit. Luckily the uniform was just a shirt. Otherwise I would of left there in my underpants. I arrived home and told the wife, expecting a bollocking. “Well done.” She said. Then my old mate phones up and an hour later I was in the cinema watching Revenge of the Sith with him. This was a turning point in my life.
Not much later we had moved across the country to Norfolk (see Moving House Part 1 below). Then I went to University and got a degree in Graphic Communication. We got married half way through my course, and I’m now, well I have to say step dad, though I consider myself to be his dad, to an awesome young man.
I’m not really over the bullying, but I’m a lot better. I still don’t have a Graphic Design job, and work in a supermarket to make ends meet. On my bad days I think I may be there forever, but I still look for my dream job everyday. Most days I believe in myself, and when I’m struggling my wife helps to pick me up and kick my arse in the right direction. I still think about my past, probably everyday, but it has less and less effect as time goes on. I do wonder what life would of been like if I had addressed these issues sooner. I now know that I’m not ugly and stupid, or gay. Well, I’ve always known I wasn’t gay, not that there’s anything wrong with being gay, but I did think I was stupid and ugly. I tried not to, but when all the evidence supports this, it’s hard to think otherwise.
Well, if your still reading this and are, or have suffered at the hands of the bullies.
They are wrong
You are amazing
After all you’ve gone through your still here
I will finish by saying that the link at the top changed the way I thought. From now on my blog is going to change. I’ve decided to leave all the resentment behind, at last. I’ve left the posts there to remind me how I used to feel. I thought about removing them, but I think they should stay. That’s how bullying made me see the world for a long time. What a waste…..
Well thanks Dan. You’ve helped me and many more people.
If you want to get in touch, I will endeavour to reply, and help if I can.
All the best
The not so Grumpy Basket