1. What is your name?
2. How old were you in when you first experienced bullying?
When I was in 7th grade.
3. What did the bully say or do/what were your bullied for?
I had two best friends and they started hanging out with high school kids and smoking and going to parties and I wasn’t into it. They used to call me names and harass me at the bus stop and one day that got their friend who was a senior in high school come to the bus stop and push me around.
4. Was the bully a boy or a girl?
They were all girls.
5. How were you different from your bullies?
I wanted to have slumber parties and study and be a kid. They just wanted to look cool and tough and I wasn’t interested in that.
6. How did it make you feel, how hard was it on you during the times you were bullied?
It was awful. I went from having two best friends to having no friends. I dreaded leaving the house in the morning because I knew it was going to be a fight at the bus stop waiting for me. I hated walking by them and their friends in the hall because they would always call me names and push me around.
7. How did you respond?
I just ignored it. I started trying to find new friends. I found an awesome fun group of girls that were into the same things that I was and that stood by me and supported me.
8. Where would the bullying take place (classroom, cafeteria, gym, playground, hallway, bathroom, home)?
Pretty much everywhere at school and the bus stop. They never had the guts to try it at my house— my mom is scary! Haha.
8. Were there any teachers around at the time? Did they see, respond or help?
No adults were at the bus stop (which is where it was the worst). They never did it around adults at school.
9. What do you think schools can do to prevent bullying?
This is a tough one. It is hard for schools to control what they can’t see. Bullies usually aren’t stupid— they hide from adults.
10. How long did the bullying continue for?
Not very much longer after I got a new group of friends. Once I showed them that they didn’t have any power, they lost interest.
11. What was the worst act of cruelty your bullies ever did to you and what was going through your mind as it was happening?
Having the senior girl try to beat me up at the bus stop. I had never been in a fight in my life and I was super scared and she was way older and bigger than I was. I was terrified!
12. Did you ever let anyone know? Did your parents know?
Yes, I told my mom about all of it. She has always made me fight my own battles and figure it out on my own— which I am grateful for. But once the senior girl got involved, my mom found where she worked and went and gave her a stern talking to. She never bothered me again. Like I said, my mom is scary!
13. What advice can you give to parents today who face the same problem with their kids?
I actually think that it is a bad idea to coddle your kids. Most of us have been or will be bullied in our lives. I think having to learn how to overcome it on my own was the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me tough and it made me learn how to deal with things in life on my own. It helped me further down the road with other things in life for sure. I think these days a lot of parents handle their kids like their fragile glass and kids don’t learn life skills that are important later on.
14. Have you seen the bully/bullies since? Has the bully ever apologized/or did you ever reach out for an explanation when you got older?
Yeah! The two girls ended up dropping out of high school. I think one got pregnant. They both have since tried to friend me on Facebook— which I denied. It felt so good hitting that deny button!
15. Do you think bullies realize how much damage they do?
No. And I think a lot of that has to do with how they are raised. I would never bully someone because my mom taught me kindness. She taught me to put myself in others’ shoes. If kids are taught to be kind and thoughtful and individual, I think a lot of the bullying would go away.
16. How did bullying affect your personality and how do you think it affected you long term in your life?
Like I said, it made me much tougher and happier. I learned to brush off people and things that don’t matter.
17. What advice would you give to someone currently experiencing bullying?
Keep your head up! Don’t ever let them see you cry. Ignoring a bully is the best thing that you can do. Just keep being you and finding the things in your own life that make you happy. They will continue to be miserable.
18. In the end, how do you think surviving bullying helped you become who you are today?
It has definitely helped me now that I am in the public eye a bit. I find it much easier to let criticism slide off of my shoulders. It has made me focus on the positive things and people in my life and shut out the negative!