Being bullied is an ordeal that spurs a host of negative emotions, which would be difficult for any child to handle, including a sense of shame. They often deal with this shame by becoming mum and inhibited. Although my mom came to my rescue, I regret not having stood up for myself. This has been my source of shame. Was I such a weakling to have caused this upon myself? To not have fought them off? The overt bullying may have stopped, but the shame settled in.
I forced myself to forget. I imagined digging a deep pit and throwing all those memories and ill feelings I had into it. And just when I thought that it worked, I come across the harrowing stories of kids, as young as 11, who commit suicide, all because they had been bullied. I cringe because I know what these kids have gone through, and yes, vanishing from the face of the Earth becomes a tempting thought.
That’s how intoxicating shame can be. It’s like a powerful corrosive that eats away into our being, sometimes to a point where we don’t recognize ourselves anymore. It’s a desperate situation that causes kids, like Jaheem Herrera, to lose all hope —that even death became liberating. I come to realize that what I had gone through was no childhood phase but a damaging experience altogether.
This has made me a little paranoid and overly protective. I feel like someone is bound to be displeased by me. And, when someone so much as looks at my little Nika in what, I think, is a less-than-pleasant manner, I am always ready to pick a fight. I blame myself for the smallest things gone wrong. When my mom passed away, I kept thinking, what did I do wrong? Wasn’t it enough, oh Lord? With Mama gone, who’s going to swing that door and stare down at those bullies? If I wasn’t able to stand up for myself then, it’s just hard for me to believe that I can do it now.
I’m glad I had been assigned to write about Talk 2 of the LifeSavor Series, for although it compelled me to unearth a hurtful past, it also liberated me in the process. I buried part of myself in that deep pit, and now that it’s out in the open and shared with many, the next best thing to do would be to surrender everything to God.
Take my hurt Lord, and my past. Restore me to happy innocence. Allow me to live in the present, believing that no one can hurt me because of Your Love. I pray for all the victims of bullying and all those who took their young lives because of it. Amen.
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