Body Love and Body Kindness, Healing Difficult Emotions, Overcoming Self-loathing and Anxiety

I Was Bullied Yesterday–and I Stood Up for Myself

I went to walk in the forest yesterday. And unfortunately, I met some bullies.

At the entrance of the trail I walk on, there is a low concrete water cistern. Some teenage boys were sitting on it as I passed by it. There is also a small creek I have to cross over right past the cistern. For some reason, as I was crossing over the creek, I looked back at the boys, and I saw that one of them was video recording me secretly as I was crossing over the creek.

Now, I would like to give the kid the benefit of the doubt—like maybe he was thinking, “Here is this lovely woman in her Land’s End parka, looking strong and joyful about going on a walk in the forest. Let’s capture this moment.” Unfortunately, in my experience, that is not how situations like this play out.

When I saw what he was doing, I gave him my best evil eye and said, “Really?” He put his camera away, and I headed down the trail. Like a lot of people, I experienced some painful bullying instances when I was younger, and I still often feel paralyzed when things like this happen. I have occasionally been bullied in my adult life as well, and I am still learning to stand up for myself. I often feel really afraid.

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As I was walking away from the kid, headed down the trail, I absolutely started to feel powerless and afraid. I could think of all sorts of frightening and unpleasant reasons he was recording me.

“Oh hell no,” I thought to myself. “I will not let this disempower me.” So, I marched back down the trail towards the cistern, and I took pictures of the kids, as well as the house they were likely from and sent them to my husband just in case.This made me feel a lot better.

In the past when I was bullied, I always thought it was something wrong with me–like my hair or clothes were too weird or I was too thin or too voluptuous or something else. But the weird thing about bullying is that I have been bullied when I was thin, when I was voluptuous (and every stage in between), when I wore stylish clothes, when I wore plain clothes, when my hair looked great, and when it looked wild.

That’s because bullying is never about me or you. It’s about people being bored, feeling gross about themselves, having a really distorted view of themselves, having no purpose in life—and they take it out on people.

I wanted to write this post to help me with my continual fear of bullies, but I also wanted to write it because I know I am not alone in being afraid of bullies or alone in having suffered from them. So, I just wanted to say, you are not alone, and you can take your power back.

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I also am really proud of myself because for the last six or seven years, I have been working really hard on learning to love myself, to have my own back, and to stick up for myself. Yesterday, I realized that work has really payed off. Before, this incident would have devastated me, and I would have spent the whole week wondering what was wrong with me. Yesterday, I realized clearly that the action of those boys had nothing to do with me, and I had nothing to be ashamed of. (You can read more about sticking up for yourself here and here.)

I am so proud of how I have grown and become a stronger person.

And also, too bad these kids didn’t get a picture of my hair yesterday because it looked really good.


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How have you learned to deal with bullies?

12 thoughts on “I Was Bullied Yesterday–and I Stood Up for Myself”

  1. Good for you. I remember a few years ago passing a group of teenagers on a woodland walk and feeling slightly apprehensive. Then I noticed one of them toss some litter away. I was so angry, and rather than ignore it, I surprised myself by stopping and telling him to pick it up. Which he promptly did!!! And then I said ‘you do not drop litter in the wood!’ And he looked really sorry! I walked away wondering who the heck I had turned into, but quite pleased with myself. I thought afterwards about how a lot of antisocial behaviour is boredom and thoughtlessness rather than malice, and sometimes people just need to have their behaviour highlighted. That’s not to say there aren’t instances of very real malicious bullying, but that sometimes just shiny a light on something is enough to stop it happening. Which I think is what you did too.

  2. For me, learning to deal with bullies was an essential part of high school and it’s made me less likely to put up with any nonsense. A good many years ago we were living opposite where some new houses were being built. I got really fed up with rubbish (e.g. big cardboard boxes from bathroom fittings, other wrappings and paper towels) blowing into our garden from the site. So one day I gathered up a huge armload of the stuff and marched right into their site office with it. I dumped on the floor – ‘This lot is yours!’ And told them not to let it happen again. They were suitably embarassed, apologised and the rubbish stopped blowing around….very satisfying!! (So maybe that wasn’t really bullying, but being able to deal with bullies made me more able to get it sorted out.)

  3. “That’s because bullying is never about me or you. It’s about people being bored, feeling gross about themselves, having a really distorted view of themselves, having no purpose in life—and they take it out on people.” – AMEN, AMEN, AMEN. So glad you took the power back (and your hair always looks fabulous).

  4. A great post my friend. And very well done for standing up to them. I know from experience how damaging being bullied as a youngster can be, and how it still causes anxiety as an adult.

        1. Oh wow, I am so, so sorry to hear that. And I understand that, too. I tend to get really triggered when people start talking about people’s bodies and which ones are good or bad because most of my bullying experiences came from people either bullying or harassing me because of my body or the clothes I was wearing or things like that. It can be really, really hard to work through those triggers. I am so sorry you still deal with that. I do sometimes, too.

          1. Yes, I have loved blocking on WP and have found good friends here, too. I also began a cool self-love journey about seven years ago that made me more aware of these problems I have struggled with for a long time and have helped me in working through them. I have been so grateful for that, and I am so glad to hear that finding good WP friends has helped you, too.

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