“I wish you were that pigeon”, said the girl pointing to the lifeless bird lying in front of us. All the other girls pointed at me and laughed. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I was all of 7 at that time, and didn’t understand what was going on or why these girls were being so mean to me. Yes, I was a victim to bullying, except I couldn’t fathom the implication of it. I spent most of my childhood being bullied by the other kids who lived in my society. I’ve been called ‘kacha nimbu’ (a phrase used to describe a weakling), had kids run away from me as soon I stepped down to play, have had a girl slam her front door on me because I “wasn’t allowed” to play with them, been teased about my clothes and even been slapped for being “too annoying.”
Since I’m the only child, the only person I could confide in and cry about these things was my mother. I believed I was too weak to stand up for myself and hence she would fight my battles for me, trying to explain to them how erroneous their behavior was. Unfortunately, that made things worse because I now became “the girl who goes crying to her mom for everything.” This went on till my teens. Needless to say that my self esteem hit rock bottom. It took me a while to regain my confidence; I immersed myself into various extra curricular activities at school and stuck to the friends who brought positive energy into my life. However, the impressions made at that age have left imprints and I sometimes find it hard to make conversation with new people because I’m too afraid that they wont like me for who I am. Though now there’s a little voice in my head, which has become louder with time, that tells me to overcome that fear, and most of the times, I do.
I don’t talk to my bullies anymore. Of them however, is now one of my closest friends; our relationship changed over time and she proved to be a fantastic friend, quite an exception! I’m not in touch with the other girls, although we are in each other’s lives, thanks to the proximity social media brings. I don’t think they even know how they made me feel back then so this one goes out to them. I don’t know if they are reading this but it feels a hell of a lighter to finally let it out.
So, what is bullying really? “Repeated, aggressive, unwanted behavior towards someone.” It can be verbal, physical, social or cyber. Workplace bullying also exists and statistics say that one in every 3 people face it at some point in their life. Most people don’t talk about it or bring it up but I need to emphasize on how important it is to talk to someone about how you feel even if it your bully! Learn to let go of people who bring negativity in your life- whether its someone you call your best friend, a relative, a colleague, your boss or anyone really. No one can make you feel like garbage and nobody deserves to feel that way. Life has a lot of beauty to offer and nobody should be able to take that light away. Stand up to bullying- whether it is happening to you or to someone around you.
In this editorial, I take you through my story: right from when I was a vulnerable, helpless girl to a strong persona who decided to walk away from the unconstructive negativity. I hope it motivates those people who feel insecure every day of their lives because of how people make them feel and help them rise from their situation and take a stand.
Photography : Ria Sejpal
Hair : Justine Mellocastro
Make-Up : Saher Ahmed
Styling : Sayali Angachekar
Concept & Story : Nimisha Khanna