by Jan on June 23, 2011

Lady Gaga was on The View a couple weeks ago talking about how as a kid she had been bullied. Taunted, being dumped in garbage cans and the recipient of all out cruelty was a part of her daily life. She told the ladies on the show that even now in the midst of super stardom, she still suffers from enormous low self-esteem. A necessary and daily ritual for Ms. Gaga includes looking at herself in the mirror while saying, “You are a superstar” to aid in altering her self-perceptions of ‘loserdom’ to this new reality of stardom.

I don’t have an awful lot in common with Lady Gaga except I too was daily bullied both at school and at home. And with the subject of bullying now gaining greater awareness and being addressed in a wider public arena, I have increasingly become more aware of the impact it has had in my own life.

I was a big child both in height and girth. Daily called names such as, Blubberbutt, Fatso, Pearbottom, Ugly, and the ever witty, “Do you have a license to be pregnant?” …I marched seemingly unaffected and unresponsive through my days. Physical harm was not uncommon for me. I have sharp and poignant memories of sixth grade recess and the game Prisonball.  Wherein when a player is hit with the red rubber ball (which hurt like hell) by the opposing team, the player then goes to ‘prison’ and is out of the game. And game after game, I seemed to be the first one in prison and sometimes was the only one. Alas, even in this state of incarceration within the painted yellow chipped boundary lines, I did not gain relief from receiving violent red rubber ball pelts over and over from the cruel bullies. I would huddle against the cold cement wall protecting my head in my arms accompanied by colorful name-calling and just take it. No complaints, never told a teacher nor anyone at home. I just quietly took it. I never considered there was another way.

Day after day, I now know living in this non-feeling and unresponsive state of being, gave me the ability to cope. I was able to detach, disassociate and what I call “live somewhere above my head”. I don’t remember crying, being angry or planning any kind of retaliation. While I have many stories from the land of ‘Bullydom’, there is only one incident I can remember that elicited crying myself to sleep.

The eighth grade party. David N. was hosting an end of the year party at his house and even though by that time, I had lost weight, replaced my coke bottle glasses with contacts and could have easily been mistaken for a young fashion model, I was not, nor were a couple others of the ‘unwanted’, invited to the festive celebration. All night I truly believed that David just plain forgot to invite me and somehow my name had been mistakenly overlooked.

I lay in bed fighting sleep, as I just knew he was going to call or show up any minute to repent of his oversight and sweep me away and into the loving, waiting and remorseful arms of my classmates. And that night when my fantasy disintegrated into a painful reality I wept year’s worth of tears and the message that I wasn’t wanted, didn’t belong, wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, et al, and was seared into my little soul.

It would take blogs and blogs to write about how events like this shaped my perceptions and my character. Fortunately now there is an abundance of research and materials available providing help and information regarding bullying. Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. states, “The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to victims.” www.mentalhelp.net and a quote from www.futurity.com, “Bullying dampens academic success”.

And as many articles stating the devastating effects of bullying, now exist abundant resources offering help and guidance for its victims:”Dealing with bullies can be difficult”, states www.how-to-stop-bullying.com.  Self esteem has much to do with how to deal with a bully, empowerment being key in helping to preserve a healthy self esteem.”

I was unaware I was even being bullied and never gave it a thought to attempt to change my situation and or stand up for myself. And after years of a veritable buffet of therapies and self-help groups, the most nagging and prevalent character challenge I face today is, to ‘stay in the game’, present in my mind and body and avoid the living “somewhere above my head”. Just to feel my feet on the ground, breathe the air into my lungs and hear the sound of my own laughter sometimes requires a clear and conscious choice. It is far more familiar to sleepwalk through my days.

Now, I believe positives can always be extracted from negatives. And in regards to myself and living a life well bullied, this is my creed: I will always, always fight for the picked-on discarded underdogs that grace the school yards and walk the halls filled with the adolescent masses. I will stand up for the unsightly and unwanted that breathe the same air as the preferred and privileged.  In my book, they’re the hero’s. The ones who may cry themselves to sleep or feel rage or feel nothing or stand up or fight back.  They are the ones who all of Heaven applauds as “God is near to the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spirit”.

To you who are being bullied, please speak up, be a tattletale and don’t be afraid. You are worth helping and never, ever believe a word they say!


mazfellow July 11, 2011 at 2:16 am


I agree with you that positives can always be extracted from negatives.

Bullying at school

Previous post:

Next post: