It’s true, since about May of this year I’ve been bullied. We’ve all been bullied at some point in our lives or maybe you’re being bullied right now. With the way the world is, it seems so much easier to bully and it happens all the time over the internet and in schools. I remember being bullied in Jr. High but instead of sending mean tweets, the girl came to my door and told me she was going to kick my ass and called me on the phone to threaten me. I’m not sure what triggered the bullying then or now, do we ever really know why? I’ve found that the person is usually insecure, jealous and in general, feels bad about themselves. They end up needing to put you down in order to potentially lift themselves up. During these past six months (and currently because it hasn’t stopped) I have had to remember that it has nothing to do with me. Bullies are, to put it most simply, sad. I feel for them, they’re not bad people, they just haven’t figured out how to be ok with their own stuff. They haven’t been able to deal with their own demons. I guess I’ve had practice with bullies all my life, so I was slightly prepared for this.
My dad bullied all of us. Called us names, told us we were stupid, basically broke us down until we realized we were nothing or at least that’s what we believed. We were nothing and we were worth nothing. It took a long time to dig out of that hole and to be able to look at myself in a different light. It took an even longer time to forgive him and to understand that his anger and whatever his struggles are, were coming out sideways. Is he a bad person? No. He’s a person that isn’t able to deal with his emotions, with his trauma. He has his own shit that kept him from doing the right things. Growing up that way made me the person I am today and has allowed me to view people that aren’t so kind in a more compassionate way than many others.
Does it hurt to be bullied? Of course it does. When this person started rumors about me, started telling people I was a horrible person, started trying to destroy everything I had worked hard for with Arizona Foodie, it sucked. Aren’t we all concerned about what other people think? It’s even worse when you have someone going around trying to make you into the bad person. I’m human, you’re human, we are not void of emotions. When someone would tell me something my heart race with anger, I wanted to cuss this person out. Ultimately, I wanted to hurt them back. Isn’t that the normal reaction we all have to being bullied? We want to retaliate, make them pay for the crappy things they do. But I didn’t because I’ve learned that that’s a path I don’t ever want to go down and I know I’m better than that. All of us are better than that.
Months went on and I heard rumblings and I simply asked people to please not tell me. I don’t want to know, I don’t care. All I cared about was keeping my side of the street clean. I needed to continue to be a good person and hope that the others in our shared friend group would form their own opinions and make their own judgments. Deep down inside I knew that the truth would reveal itself. There’s only so long you can be a bully before the entire community and everyone you know figures it out. You can’t hide that stuff, it’s part of who you are until you fix it. It’s the same reason my father to this day doesn’t speak to any of his children and has no friends. The pain these bullies feel runs deep and it ends up turning everyone against them. In the end, it pushes everyone away and they end up alone. And I feel bad for them and I feel bad for my dad and that’s why I don’t fight back. Not because I’m afraid to, it’s because I’m sad for you.
So I stayed quiet. I kept my feelings, my anger, my pain to myself and a few close friends. I let myself feel it for a day or two and then I let it go. Let it go people! Then I let it light a fire in me, a fire that made me want to succeed so hard. Made me want to show this bully that their words and actions and lies would never succeed in breaking me, like my father had. I was going to keep working hard and I wouldn’t live in fear, not anymore, not again. Because truly, I think that’s the worst thing you can do to a bully, show them that you don’t care. Don’t give them the time of day, don’t react and whatever you do, don’t stoop to their level. And thanks to that bully, in the past 6 months I’ve been able to host successful events, I’ve been voted by Phoenix Magazine for Best Blog, I was nominated as most influential in the valley for food by Arizona Foothills and I was contacted by a national tv show and we taped on Tuesday and so much more!
Just know that if you’re struggling with someone that puts you down on a regular basis, you’re not alone. Just keep pushing forward and doing the right thing, be kind and stick close to true friends. I want to say that when I feel down sometimes, your positive comments remind me of the wonderful food community I’m lucky to be a part of.