On The Receiving End

Charles - Newton, New Jersey
Entered on May 6, 2009

Bullying has affected me in a lot of positive and negative ways. When I was at public school I had my personal belongings broken and my work was crumpled and destroyed by a bully. I never experienced bulling until my last year at public school. It felt horrible to be tortured by my peers.

I have seen the news and kids are hanging themselves by their bed sheets because their self-esteem has been so wounded by other children. I can understand why those kids would go to such lengths to escape the constant torment but I would never be able to hurt my family that way. These kids must feel extremely depressed to think that suicide is the only path to happiness.

My approach towards bullies was to be friendly but not join their posse. This approach was not successful and it made things worse. They were more abusive to me because they thought that I was a “nerd” who was trying to hang out with the “cool” crowd, when in fact, I was only seeking their camaraderie.

The bullying that I endured hit the extreme when I made a logo design for a Google contest through school and the bully snatched it out of my hands and crumpled it up. He had no regard or respect for the time and effort that I had put into the project. I couldn’t hand the artwork in wadded up in a ball. I felt forced to drop out of the contest. This made me upset. I worked very hard and my project was destroyed on the school bus in front of other kids my age. I was embarrassed and disheartened.

Another bully at school once took my new mechanical pencil, broke it and dropped the pieces back into my hand and said, “whoops”. I wanted to lash out at him, I was furious. I decided to take the high road and figured “what comes around goes around” and that someday he would suffer consequences for being mean and nasty, punishment that I would not have to give.

Bullying has not only affected me in a negative way it has also opened up doors for me. I joined an anti-bullying contest this year. I was able to express my feelings in any way I chose. I decided to write a song about what it was like to be bullied while other kids watched and laughed. Writing a song was helpful because I was able to add things in verse that were making me upset, things that I didn’t even think were hurtful until I wrote about it. Artistic expression is a way to explore your feelings and it can make you feel better if you are able to focus all of your emotion to a paintbrush or guitar or other form of art that you enjoy.

Bullying starts at home with irresponsible or uncaring parents, parents that don’t make their kids apologize and let them get away with hurting other people. Responsibility starts with parents and that responsibility starts as soon as the child is born.

I believe that my essay can touch people and help them understand how hurtful bullying can be. I hope that, through writing this essay, other kids who are in a similar situation as me, will read this and know that they are not alone. I believe that we are all in the game of life together, that we are all on the same team. We should lean on one another, console each other, help each other and respect each other…not knock each other down or plow each other over. Charlie K., homeschooler, age 12