11.10.2010

Victim of Bullying

These days, wherever I seem to turn, there is always SOMETHING I see or read pertaining to bullying, teasing, or about someone committing suicide over being a "victim" of hate. I may not agree with certain lifestyle choices, (i.e. homosexuality to be specific), but there should be no tolerance for any kind of bullying towards anyone because of their race, sexual orientation, or gender.

Seeing this new 'hot topic' arise recently, I just wanted to share my own personal struggle growing up with being a victim of bullying.

DISCLAIMER:
I have to warn you, what you are about to read isn't a falsehood.
Everything mentioned below, is true, and became a major scar in my life growing up.

For starters, I've always been considered the 'midget' in school. From elementary even continuing into high school. But towards the latter end of my education, the fact that I was shorter than 95% of my peers, didnt effect me as much, as it did, while in elementary. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. Not only was I short, but I had a high pitched voice.

For reasons unexplained, (I dont know why), I've always had a high pitched tone in my voice growing up. So you can imagine how I felt as time came to enter middle school, right when puberty was becoming evident for most guys, just not for me. I still had the same high voice as I did in elementary. As a result, I would be walking to class and all of a sudden, hear some individuals say my name, "Shaaaaaaaaaaay" in a girls tone of voice. Obviously they did it to put me down and make fun of me. I dont know why, but clearly it was the "cool thing to do," and no doubt made them feel like the 'big boys' on campus.

I'm not going to lie, it bothered me immensely. Everytime I would hear my name being said, in that same high pitched tone, I would freeze up and want to hide in a dark corner, just to escape them. There was even a time that I wanted to change the spelling of my name, so that it didn't resemble a girl's name. It just made matters worse! I was ashamed of my own name! I would look forward to the days that I didn't have to go to school, I was safe! But I couldn't escape the teasing. Even when I thought I was in an area that no one would know me, I would stumble upon someone involved in that "crowd" and they wouldn't hesitate to call me out in public.

In some ways, I honestly feel this became a major impact on my self esteem and the overall confidence I had for myself. It damaged me as a person. Even today, as I reflect, I can still hear their voices taunting me, and the laughter that would ensue afterwards. I was too ashamed to even attempt to share this with any of my family members, or my friends. Just for the sake of them not noticing, clearly, what those kids had noticed. I just kept it all inside. The sound of my name, eating me from within. It even got to the point where I couldn't see myself asking girls out, or seriously dating anyone. Who would want to date the guy who talked like a girl? There was no hope for me. It was true torture!

But dont get me wrong, to this day I have definitely grown passed all that! I'd like to think I've become a much stronger individual, just for the fact that I know what its like to be a victim of bullying, and being teased throughout the critical years of my teenage to young adult life. In some ways I feel empowered that I became the man I am today! Even though it may have effected me emotionally and mentally back then, I didnt let it get to the point where I wanted to take my own life. Who knows, it could've ended up that way, had I not had a loving father in heaven who never abandoned me as I would pour my heart out to him to, "please let those kids leave me alone, and stop teasing me."

I can only speak for myself, but I think that everyone goes through some sort of "bullying" in their life, some big and some small, but I believe it happens for a reason. Took me 17 years to realize it though, and I'm grateful that I didn't end up in a bad position because of it all. Yeah I may receive sarcastic remarks regarding, " Why did my parents name you Shay?" "Don't they know thats a girl's name?" (Thank you grandma.) But I love my name! If anything, its unique and definitely stands out in a crowd, just like me! Lol.

Hopefully you were able to receive some sort of strength as you read my words. I just hope that you're able to take something away from all of this, not to feel pity or sad for me, but to be aware of those "bullies" in your own personal life. Don't let them succeed in bringing you down. It took me a long time to realize this, but the only opinion that matters is God's. His and his alone is one of love and charity. I've found my strength in his love, and hope that you can too!

Thank you for reading.

9 comments:

Aaron Ludwig said...

Sad!! I will find them and beat them up. Just for the record- I never ever have thought you had a high pitched voice (true story)- and I think the name Shay pretty much rocks as a boys name. Seriously. I think it has a lot of personality.
Thanks for sharing this even though it was probably a little hard to. I'm also glad you used it to help you grow instead of letting it put you in a bad place.
You're awesome.

Aaron Ludwig said...

oh- that was Mary by the way.

kim and ned said...

I think you're right. We all have something that totally bothers us about ourselves, and that's always what people pick up on. You're a strong guy! I'm with Mary, Shay is the awesomest name ever!! I always hated my name because it was so normal and it's a boys name too. Why couldn't my parents be more creative!

$Ice$Man said...

Aw thanks ladies! Im glad you guys took the time out of your busy schedules to read something that honestly, did take a lot to put out there for the 'world' to see. I never wanted to share this side of myself, and decided that I've come along ways not too. Thanks so much for being such great friends to me!! Love you gals! :)

RaeLynn said...

Great post. It's interesting to hear it from your perspective. Some kids are just cruel. I agree that no one deserves to be treated with that kind of disrespect no matter how different they are from their peers.

$Ice$Man said...

Thanks Rae! Yeah its true, and the funny thing is how different it is looking back and realizing how much that experience, as traumatizing as it was, its made me who I am today.

Aaron Ludwig said...

Love you bro!
Thanks for sharing. You're a good example to me.
(This is really Aaron)

$Ice$Man said...

No YOURE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO ME Brosef!!

Jessica said...

I've been crappy at keeping up on the blogs and just started getting caught up on yours. Loved this post and I'm sure it was a little tough to share. You're a great example Bip and thank God you stayed strong and overcame this instead of ending up like so many sad stories we've heard lately. You're very loved by many and the world just wouldn't be the same without ya :)