My memories of school are a mix of good and bad.
My first school was a tiny local public school. And as any young school girl, I had typical “fights” with other children about silly things, I had my friends and my best friend and I even had those silly fights with “frenemies” – all of which I now have fond and funny memories from! I remember I had to have a meeting with a teacher and another girl one time when I was in year two because we got into an argument over Santa Claus. She told me he didn’t exist, and I sternly argued that he did. (THOSE kind of silly fights).
I attended this school until year five, after which I moved to a much larger, independent/private and Christian school (I moved because both my older brothers were now out of primary school, and my parents thought it would be best and easier if all of us attended the same school).
Making friends has never been an issue for me as I am a little outgoing, so settling into a new school was fairly easy for me. I found it hard adjusting to having to wear the private school uniform though. I HATED the tedious tie. I HATED the straw hat. And I HATED the thick, stiff, shoulder-padded blazer and the tie-up leather shoes, the collared shirt and the full length, bottle green skirt. And most of all I hated that we had to use the school's trademark bag (which was larger than I was!).
The people were all very friendly, however the traditions were foreign to me. Christianity was very prominent in their way of living/teaching, and I soon found myself engulfed in it. I began attending church on Sundays, as well as youth group on Friday nights. I joined the lunchtime Christian drama club and even the prayer group. I continued to grow in my faith up until I moved to a new school in year nine.
This school was a public high school. I didn’t know many people straight away and found that I changed a lot, very quickly. Looking back I can see I began to care what other people thought of me within the first few weeks of moving to this school. The few people I did know before moving to the new school were part of the stereotyped “popular” group.
At my old school, everyone was friends with everyone really. I had my best friend, and together we sort of floated from group to group and everyone got along fairly well (mostly). At my new school, it was very different. Groups rarely intermingled, especially at lunch times. And there was a clear but unspoken “heirarchy”. To fit in, I soon found myself changing and altering EVERYTHING about myself. I started swearing, wearing makeup, straightening my hair and I hate to admit it, but I wouldn’t stand up to bullying if I saw it occurring.
WHY? Because those “bullies” were my friends.
Bullying isn’t always intentional. At the time, those actions were intended in a playful or joking manner, however it isn’t about the way we treat people but rather how they interpret it. I now know that our actions have more of an impact than we know. And I know this because I too was bullied. I began firstly feeling self conscious of my clothes, materialistic goods, makeup, pimples etc. However, after a while I began receiving (unintentional) bullying/comments on my physique from my friends, which caused havoc with my own self confidence and beliefs.
Growing up I have always been very active, and involved in multiple elite and/or competitive sports. My body type is genetically slender, and was also incredibly solid/muscular due to the training I was doing. I was then bullied about having these big muscles. I was told I was “bigger than the boys”, called a “bodybuilder”, told that “no boys liked me because I was stronger than them” or “intimidating” and “GROSS”. It doesn’t seem like anything now, but back then, it made me so miserable and upset. I used to cry constantly, and started skipping school and eventually ended up being allowed to stay home because I was so miserable at school. I remember telling my Mum one time that “I either go to school and am hated. Or I go to school and I hate myself”. After the year, my parents removed me from this school, away from the bullying I was experiencing and I went back to my previous school on a sporting scholarship.
I wasn’t confronted with the remarks or people anymore, but I wasn’t able to escape the troubles it consequently caused within myself. By this stage I was in year 10, and within that year I tried changing a lot of things about myself to “become happy” with myself. I changed my hair, became a vegan overnight and even convinced myself I was Buddhist. I started doing weird diets to lose my muscle (as I believed it was ugly and gross). Within this year I also became severely depressed and eventually suicidal. I stopped going to school after my parents pulled me out, they were concerned for my safety and wellbeing, and I began finding or discovering alternate ways for me to finish my education and continue to self-develop myself and my learning. This is how I found the STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test) and managed to get early acceptance into university.
Love and Light,
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