I remembered talking a while back with my boyfriend, Connor, about our teenage days after he showed me his favorite movie, The Revenge of the Nerds. He said that bullying the nerds was extremely common in his school back in the day. However, no one dared to bully anyone in front of him because they knew that he would not put up with it.
At that moment, I felt proud of my man. I had always known that Connor stood up for everything right, but I never knew how far he could go to ensure that nobody got humiliated for being whoever they were under his watch.
While I was swooning, though, Connor asked, “Did you witness any bullying when you were a teenager?”
My immediate answer was no. “I was technically a part of the nerdy group because I was in a special science program. We were set apart from the rest of the school, and you would honestly not find a nerd bullying another nerd. If anything like that happened outside of our little bubble, I would not have been aware of it,” I explained in length.
Although Connor and I moved on to other fun topics afterward, his question got stuck in my head the entire day. I found my explanation a bit odd, even to my ears. I mean, regardless of what school you went to or what program you joined, there would forever be bullies in the mix. So, how could I not have witnessed a single bullying incident when I was a teenager?
We were already in bed when the answer hit me. I received some pretty harsh words from my schoolmates because of my weight back then. I would walk around the pavilion and see some boys and girls snickering behind their hands while looking at me. Other bolder kids would call out, “Hey, Ms. Piggy!”
How Could I Forget That?
First of all, let me inform you that it was not a repressive technique many people use when they go through traumatic experiences. I learned about that when I took basic psychology classes in college. I knew that bullied kids tend to handle the matter this way, but I could assure you that I did not find my experience traumatizing at all.
The primary reason was that I was well aware of the truth about my weight. Yes, I was far from being a size 0 like those cheerleaders and other popular girls. Even I would agree that I was in the oversized group of teenagers. Still, you could not expect anything different from a tall kid trying to get into the wrestling team.
During that phase of my life, being a bit into the hefty side was an advantage. The snooty kids might have been disgusted by it, but I got to play my favorite sport because of my weight.
Since I came from a long line of big-boned Irish women, my family pretty much prepared me early on to accept my size, too. While they all encouraged us to eat healthily and do more physical activities, everyone was curvy, so it never felt like I did not belong. I only realized that other families did not eat more than one serving every meal when I started going to school.
How Can You Be Bullied And Never Need Counseling?
I am no counseling expert, but I can say from experience that it all comes down to the words we allow to stick to us for life. Every person can act as a magnet for comments from other people, you see. Wherever you go, whatever you do or look like, someone will have something to say about you.
As I mentioned above, I got a lot of comments regarding my body size. They went past my shield and hit me well sometimes, yes. But before those words got comfortable and permanently attached to me, I shook them off. Hard. Because of that, there was nothing to wear me down.
Another critical factor is self-awareness. I knew I was bigger than the average American girl, and many people only liked extra-large when it came to food, salary, and products – not other people. Being aware of that gave me enough time to accept that I would meet bullies in this lifetime. I was not wrong, and I was prepared for their attacks.
Furthermore, you need to seek support from your family. While I was not the only fat girl at school, I had the enormous confidence to ignore my bullies because I knew that my parents loved me. Unfortunately, I also learned about some big girls whose families poked fun at them. The bullying at school and at home (albeit indirectly) pushed them to get counseling later.
All I’m saying is that I forgot about the bullies in high school because their antics did not affect me too much. I did not need anyone to save me like the nerds in my boyfriend’s old school because paying no attention to the bullies was the worst comeback for them.
If you ever get bullied, you should try what I did, too.