Since a steering member has stepped out with a bullying perspective of the bully, I thought I would write about the bullied. So if you're wondering if you're all alone and if no one understands, I hope you read this. I was once you. I thought bullying was natural, a part of growing up. Simply being Asian American living in Tennessee, I thought I would never belong. When the school forms only have three bubbles: white, black, or mixed - you start to wonder why you are so different. Why can't I just fit in?
The kids always told me to go back to my home country. If I walked by them in the halls, they would say derogatory things like "Ching ching chong." I've gone to countless teachers and the only advice I was offered was to ignore them. One time I wore a shirt with a bald eagle, my idea of what is distinctly American, and I approached my teacher, "If I show them that I'm American, will they leave me alone?" She just looked at me with a sad look and carried on. The system let me down. My family didn't understand. The greater burden was that I had let myself down. I believed them - all the insults and sad looks; I thought I had no hope to ever be normal. I won't pretend that what you are going through is easy, and that there is a magical solution. I have been there, and I know it doesn't suddenly just "get better." There is not an age or geographical boundary that you cross - it is something inside of you. Things don't just get better. You want better. You make better.
More importantly, you need to find someone to talk with, someone who can relate, someone who understands. You are never alone, and you need to grasp that. We are all struggling to find our place in the world, and there is a place for you. You belong somewhere - you mean something. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You are so much more than a bubble on a form, a stereotype, or an insult.
http://www.glaad.org/spiritday Stand against bullying!
I was fortunate to have a support system by the time I was outed in high school. When I realised my sexuality in middle school, I desperately sought out someone that would understand. I found a LGBT student forum at Student Center Network (now located at student.org). Suddenly, there were many struggling like me. Most of us were small-town teens just looking for a friend. My friends in middle/high school were important too, but I wanted to emphasize how influential and important that LGBT support was - even if it was online. My "internet" friends spanned from the UK to Australia, and we've met up and kept in touch to this day. They gave me the strength to just be who I am because I'm not alone. Now there are support and social groups that you can find everywhere on the internet. QAPA is proudly a community of resources, a community you can reach out to. We have members that have struggled like you have or maybe have overcome obstacles that you will have.
Reach out. Talk with someone. You don't have to deal with this alone.
Please also consider the Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/