My Bullies Made Me Better... But Not Before They Made Me Bitter.

I just finished binge-watching Netflix's 13 Reasons Why and I would be lying if I said it didn't trigger me.

However, for me, it wasn't high school that was a literal nightmare -- it was middle school. Guys were mean. Girls were even worse. Kids were cruel. I can still name them all, and I wonder sometimes if they knew what kind of impact they had. Certain incidents still remain vivid in my mind, to this day, over 15 years later. 

For me, the worst of the bullying didn't hit until sixth grade. For some reason, that year was a living hell.

Luckily for me, my mom was a teacher at my school and some days, when I wasn't strong enough to bear it, as soon as our car rolled up to the school or even approached it, I would beg her to turn back and drive me home. There were days I just wasn't brave enough to face my peers and endure the senseless torture.  

I was an easy target. I was kind and quiet. I was smart and a good student... teachers liked me. I was always taught to treat others how you wanted to be treated, and "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." I naively assumed everyone else was taught those things, as well. Without going into detail, I definitely learned the hard way that many of these kids weren't. 

People think cyber bullying just started happening in the past few years -- it didn't and I can fully attest to that. In the early 2000s, there wasn't an emphasis placed on anti-bullying at all. 

Back when I was in middle school, we had AOL Instant Messenger. We obviously had email. Those was the weapons of choice for many bullies after school, where the taunting would continue. Now with the popularity of social media and different social platforms, I can only imagine what teens today deal with.

I probably had it easy back then. 

After school, I was so depressed and mentally exhausted, I would take a naps until my mom would call me down for dinner. But what 12/13 year old would want to confess to their parents that they were being teased at school? What kid didn't want to be considered "cool"...?

Now that I'm older, I've come to realize that these kids' home lives must've been hell in order for them to have acted the way that they did. It almost makes me feel sorry for them. 

But to be completely honest, it somewhat horrifies me that some of them now have children. I just hope they teach them better. And I hope they listen.

Now that I'm older (and admittedly, more successful), I look back and realize that if I could, I wouldn't go back and change my experiences. As cliche as it sounds, they made me who I am.

Also, how boring would my life story be without going through the things I faced? Let's be real, here.

For years, I held this bitterness inside me whenever I thought back to those bullies. Still today, I'd be lying if I said I didn't still deal with the effects of it all from time to time. I'd also be lying if I said that while things did "get better," I've still faced some "bullies" in my adulthood, as well.

The only difference now is that my perspective has changed, my skin has thickened and while I'm not exactly at the point where I can thank my bullies for what they did, I can continue to move on. 

But hey, maybe it's just me.