I know there are many kids and teenagers that are being bullied, facing problems at home or have nobody to really talk to. And I know it may seem like it`s easier to not tell anyone. I know it`s hard for many young people out there to open up and tell someone what needs to be told. I`ve been there too and today I thought I`d share some advices to not only you kids or teenagers, but also to teachers, parents and other grown-ups as I believe they have their responsibilities to make things easier for us who`re younger.
I was in fifth grade when I decided to tell someone about the bullying. Very late, to be honest. I had been bullied for quite a while by then, and it was a huge step for me to tell someone. I remember thinking it was weird that no one had cared enough about me. Nevertheless, I told this teacher we had for barely two months. She didn`t take me seriously at all, which is for me shocking today. When she quit her job, we got a teacher whom we had till our time was over at that time. She was a sweet and kind teacher, but like all the other teachers, she didn`t do anything about me being bullied. I didn`t talk that much to her about it, but what I remember the most is a conversation I and my mother had with her. She didn`t have much to say, which was disappointing. For a while the principle`s assistent was involved too, but she was “gone” after a while and my situation didn`t really change much.
Something else that I remember too well so many years later, is something my math-teacher in 7th grade said to me when I asked him why he didn`t help me: “The world`s unfair, get used to it.” I remember the anger I had and the frustration I felt and I still believe that no real teacher stands by and watches someone being bullied. In my head this math-teacher of mine should`ve been thrown out of the school, because I could`ve been that girl who the next day or the day after that never showed up at school.
At Østmarka I believed no one would actually want to help me, but yet I let JK know about my past as a victim of bullying. To those of you that have no idea who he is – he was my “main” teacher back in secondary school. He was the first person that had actually listened to me, tried to understood me and letting it all out to him was a huge relief. Giving him a chance was a great decision – after that we talked a loooot about bullying, as I was being bullied at Østmarka too. I remember sending him many angry messages. He didn`t mind getting looong messages, haha. And usually, he`d show up the next day or whenever he could at the door during whatever lesson and point at me, as in “I got your message, let`s talk now”. Sometimes we talked for some minutes, other times for more than an hour. I felt like it was worth it and compared to my primary school, my teachers actually listened to me and tried to be there for me.
Those who`ve been reading my blog for some time know what how my high-school dealed with the situation, so I`m going to leave that part out (for now at least).
Some time ago I read an text, where a grown-up told this little girl to tell her teachers and other people at school that she`s lonely and nobody wants to be her friends. Which is, of course something I recommend every kid and teenager out there to do, but I couldn`t help, but think: What if nobody does anything for this girl? What if she feels that hopeless feeling I felt when I was at her age? She`s 9. And I think telling a little girl like her that “people might not help you sometimes” would`ve been mean, but I also think that I wish someone had told me the same. When you end up in a place where you`re screaming so loud but nobody hears a thing, you feel hopeless and you feel like nobody in the whole world cares. And trust me, many kids and teenages slowly start to lock themselves, they end up not letting anyone in and I think that`s scary. I wish someone had told me that sometimes people don`t know how to help or don`t want to help. I know that might sound so cruel, but I guess what`s worse is doubting yourself and everyone else around you.
Cause guess what happened to me later on? I don`t open up easily to people, but I gave my new teachers at Østmarka a chance. It worked out very well, and today I have friends for life.
I think every kid and every teenager should allow themselves to tell grown-ups our problems and struggles, whether it`s our parents, teachers, principle, psychologist. I think it`s important for them to have someone around them. And not everybody`s going to listen to you, but don`t you dare ever think there`s something wrong with you. Don`t ever give up and don`t think nobody`s going to help you just because one of some didn`t. Along the way you`re going to meet people like that. You`re going to feel helpless, you`re going to stop trusting people, but don`t ever stop standing up for yourself. You deserve so much more than people walking away and not wanting to care about your problems. And one day, you`ll get what you deserve. Go and tell someone you trust or believe is going to help you about your challenges, about your tears, about your scars, about whatever is frustrating you – don`t let it build up inside you because one day it might kill you. It`s helping to help you. Trust me, it will. And who knows – you might make some great friends on your way, just like I did. 🙂
I`d also like to say something to any grown-up who might read this. Always take kids and teenagers seriously. If they`re being bullied, they`re being bullied. You might be their last hope. Listen to take, give them a hug, tell them you`re they`re for them. And if this doesn`t help you – imagine if it was your kid that was being bullied? Would you reject them and tell them it`s their problem? I really don`t hope so.
For so many years I was told to go and let grown-ups know if there was anything wrong. The first times I did that, it didn`t go well. I cried, I felt so angry and hopeless because nobody was actually willing to put some effort to help me. But some time later I gave it another try, and it went well. Very well, actually. And I really don`t know where I would`ve been if JK and all those other amazing teachers hadn`t listened to me more than three years ago. So the lesson is: Take kids and teenagers seriously. Help them out. And if you think you aren`t capable of helping them, let someone else help them. Who knows – you might end up being a lifesaver.