How @Lesley_Allen_ & Biddy Weir gave me courage to tell my own story – #BullyingAwarenessWeek

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It isn’t often that you can come across a book which you feel was written about you, for you. A book that is written with such poignancy and devotion to the storyline and its true meaning; one that you can relate to in more ways than one. Unfortunately, when the book in question contains a storyline which in an ideal world, nobody SHOULD EVER relate to, you start to feel ashamed for feeling relieved that you DO relate to it.

Not long ago, author Lesley Allen released a novel titled; ‘The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir’, which has just been released in paperback to coincide with National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month.
(#Review! The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir – (@Lesley_Allen_) @BonnierZaffre #antibullyingmonth)
Thank you to Lesley Allen and Biddy Weir, I was able to muster up enough courage to finally tell my own personal story about being a victim of bullying.

This is my story….

Imagine this; you’re five years old, in Year 1 of Primary School and incredibly shy. You keep yourself to yourself and never get in anyone’s way, pretty much getting on with daily life at age five. Still imagining? Good. Keep going…
Now imagine being the five-year old that got picked on for sitting on the playground floor reading Noddy magazine on their own. Imagine being the five year old that got shoved, pushed and laughed at for being a quiet child (or in their world, a loner). Now, imagine being a five year old that has just been pushed into a brick wall and was called ‘fat’. I’m sure a few of you are probably shaking your heads in disbelief thinking it’s not possible at age five. It is. It was. Want to know why? Because I was that five year old that you have just been imagining for the last paragraph.

Back in 1995 if you were getting picked on, people used to come out and say ‘it’s only a bit of name calling, you’ll get over it’. No. Just NO. We wouldn’t stand for people calling us names now, as adults, why should we stick up with it as children?
From the very first moment of being called fat, my life turned upside down. ‘Fat’ didn’t just appear once, or twice, it used to be a daily occurrence. A FIVE years old. In school I was never considered popular and to be honest, given the nature of the ‘popular gang’, I didn’t even want to be. I was very happy sitting reading my Noddy magazine, waiting for the school bell to ring for home time so that I could see my mum. My protector.

As I got older, I felt like I was constantly looking over my shoulder, trying not to act in a way that people would bully me for. But no matter how hard I tried NOT to get bullied by trying to be someone else, I was still their target. Their meat if you will. Those fat comments did a little more to me than just upset me as no matter what I did, I couldn’t shift the comments from my mind and believed them. I believed them so much, I started attacking myself; I began to play up with my food. I hid it, I dropped it, I threw it away. You name it, I did it, as long as I didn’t have to eat it. At such a young age, I saw food as a poison instead of a necessity. Due to that, my weight plummeted and anorexia & bulimia took over. It was an extremely unhappy time for my family, especially my mum as she couldn’t understand it the way that I understood it as she wasn’t in my head. I mean, if you’re not going through it, how CAN you understand it? Outsiders assume that anorexia is a choice. It really isn’t, it’s an illness, a mental illness.

When I went to Middle School at age 10, I naively thought that the bullying may stop due to everyone being split into different classes with a lot of new students. Don’t get me wrong, it did stop…for a couple of months whilst everyone adjusted. I should have felt elated that I wasn’t getting bullied for a little while, but I wasn’t. Why? Because up until that point, I had already been badly affected by bullies and I wasn’t going to magically feel better and happier overnight. It doesn’t work like that. It cannot work like that. My eating habits were steady, I ate the bare minimum, but at least I ate.

As soon as the bullying started up again I felt more frightened as the bullies were now older and much scarier. I was only a small child, short and very slim build so if anyone towered above me it scared the living scherzy out of me. Getting pinched seemed to be the daily occurrence, as did getting chairs pulled from under me when I’m sitting down. Teachers didn’t believe me, instead, they blamed it on me by saying that I must have done something to antagonise them. I started to dread having to stay in a lunch times due to the bad weather as too many of the nasties were stuck in one room with me. I had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. I remember one day I tried to stick up for myself and ended up getting a huge sellotape holder bashed onto my hand. Ouch.

I absolutely dreaded going to school and it made me ill. The worry about what would be facing you when you walked through the school gates. Feeling unsure as to whether you’ll go home at the end of the day with all of your possessions. Oh sorry, I didn’t mention that did I? My possessions got stolen at school. Sometimes I was lucky enough to find them still there at the end of the day, even if they were outside in a puddle or covered in mud. Looking back on my school years, it is absolutely ridiculous thinking about what I was bullied for! Horrible names for having hair on my arms, my surname, my weight, my hair colour, my freckles, my dimples; you name it, I was bullied for it.

When I left school, the bullying stopped. I felt free! I could be ME, or could I? Sounds simple doesn’t it? The thing is by that age, I had no idea who I was. I had spent so many years trying to make people like me, blaming myself for what the bullies did, or wondering what was wrong with me that I lost sight of who I truly was. All I was certain of by the age of 17 was that I was a very timid, unconfident teenager with a big heart. Regardless of how broken I was, I gave my heart and soul to other people. Why love myself when for over 8 years, I was attacked for who I was. Does that make sense?

I got my very first job when I was 17; made my wish come true by becoming a checkout girl so I could sit down all day. Ahem. I seemed to follow the family by working in Tesco, and I worked really hard. I wasn’t work shy at all, I did what I had to do and more, without complaining. For a while I was loving it but then overnight, that got robbed of me and I had no idea what I had done. Walking into the canteen or past a group of people you had grown to really like, only to overhear nasty comments about yourself felt like a kick in the stomach. I was the new girl in town and soon enough, those nasty comments seemed to go everywhere and the friends I thought I had, bar one, became no more. Thankfully, that friend has been stuck with me for ten years!

This is harder than I thought, wow. I am tearing up writing this because it is extremely hard to see just a small part of what you went through in black and white in front of you. I feel ashamed. I feel as though there is something wrong with me for people to constantly find fault with me in such nasty ways. I don’t understand it, and to be honest, I don’t think that I ever will.

Bullying is a subject that gets spoken about a lot, but barely anything gets down about it. Not only do people get bullied face to face, people can get bullied online too. Cyber bullying. It’s horrendous and unfortunately I have been on the receiving end of that too. It is quite known that there is a huge stigma attached to bullying because assumptions are often made about the severity. ANY form of bullying is severe and should not be tolerated. Constant name calling etc can leave scars on your emotional well-being and even affect you for many, many years after the event. Physical bullying is often seen as worse because people can physically see it rather than take the victims word for it. Physical bullying can leave scars in the same way as name calling etc can, unfortunately, both types of bullying can result in such devastating endings. Suicide.

It can take an awful lot of courage to be able to speak to a person that you trust, about any forms of bullying that you are going through. It’s far too easy for an outsider to go ‘you need to tell someone’, whereas the victim is probably sitting in fear wondering what would happen if they told anyone. I know I did, I was petrified that the bullying would escalate even more. I couldn’t handle it at the level that it was at, how would I be able to handle it any worse? Luckily for me, my mum believed me. She also was one of the two people to believe me when I was getting bullied at work when I was pregnant.

It’s probably sad to say that my story isn’t much different to millions of others out there. The scars are still evident deep within, I’m not a confident girl and I struggle to trust people due to what the bullies did, and everything else that has happened in my life. I don’t feel worthy of people’s love or attention, and every time I’m being treated rubbishly by people these days, it brings me back to moments I wish to forget. But I can’t. I’m trying to, don’t get me wrong. I will never be like anyone else, never. I am truly thankful to the people who have stood by me and have had my back over the years. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

Over the years I have told my stop in dribs and drabs, never have I ever told it like this. What you have read is only a summary of what I went through, there is far more to it than that as I am sure you understand. Reading Lesley Allen’s book shook me to the core, but, without Lesley writing such a safe haven of a storyline, I don’t think that I would have found the courage to speak out properly. Thank you Lesley and Biddy Weir.

Bullying needs to stop. We need to stop feeling ashamed for being bullied, but we need to have the safety net to do so.

This was my story, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading it.
If you have been affected by anything in my post, or are getting bullied yourself and have no idea where to go from here, you can find contact numbers and support details right here:
Bullying UK

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54 thoughts on “How @Lesley_Allen_ & Biddy Weir gave me courage to tell my own story – #BullyingAwarenessWeek

  1. That is so sad, you are such a beautiful, brave person. I’m glad Lesley’s book came to you and became a pivotal point in your life that you now feel you can tell the world your story. Speaking out about the bullying is important, to us the reader and more so for yourself. Many, many virtual hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. It’s heartbreaking. 😔 My son was bullied all through school, more so in High School. I spent 5 years trying to get his school to take notice. They said they were dealing with it, but nothing ever really changed. I’m so proud of the fact that he still went everyday, but I’ll never really know just what he had to put up with on a daily basis. There is no real deterrent for these bullies. They know there’s no real consequence to their behaviour as it’s too easily passed off as kids just being kids! This seriously needs to change. Why anyone would take pleasure in making someone else miserable is beyond me, but whatever their reason there needs to be serious consequences for their behaviour. It is never acceptable! Xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh i’m so sorry :(. If either of you need to chat, I’ll be more than happy to listen and lend an ear. Completely agree, it isn’t just kids being kids and people need to believe that and take that far more seriously than they are. Some schools don’t seem to want to have the hassle of dealing with the bullies and take the easy way out. It is dispiciable. I wish I could do more, and I aim to do more if I can xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really appreciate that, thank you. The same goes for you. Schools should definitely do more. My son’s school eventually threatened to expel the culprit which did result in him leaving him alone, but this was in year 11 after he’d picked on him since year 7! This was only because we said we would involve the police otherwise. It was a nightmare! Thankfully he seems to be getting on ok at college so far.
        You are doing a great job at helping to raise awareness. xx

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    • Speaking from experience too, not all children want you to say anything, so you feel as though your hands are tied. If you say something, they’ll be targeted even more. But you can’t not say anything. I agree, what makes someone feel good at the expense of ruining someone else’s life? This was an incredible post and all too familiar. I can proudly say that I was an advocate to victims of bullies when I attended school. One day my blood boiled to the point I stood up during class and called out the maniacal girls who were persistent in teasing a very shy girl who didn’t dress like them, look like them, or have clothes like them. I made them look like the crud they actually were for hurting her feelings. My teacher was shell-shocked, (I wasn’t the type to make a scene), let me finish yelling at them, and continued on with class without punishing me for carrying on like a lunatic. I never before felt so completely full of purpose for standing up for something I truly believed–for standing up for the girl who couldn’t. It wasn’t the last time I did it either. It’s an amazing feeling to show someone how much they mean. I just wonder what feeling it is to tear someone down? I will never know, and I’m quite happy about that fact. I am so sorry for what happened to you. Please know how wonderful you truly are. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely feel for you and totally understand. I had bullying at school and at home and know that constant feeling of never being good enough. Part of the reason for my being 41 and still single in fact as I’ve never believed I had anything to offer anyone and was happier in my own company as I seldom let me down. I did the opposite. I ate my way from being a 4st 13 year old to 16st 30 year old as an excuse to stay single. As ugly on the outside as I felt inside. I’m thinner now but no more self confident though I wear a bloody convincing mask.

    Know you’re not alone and you are very brace for laying it all out there. We all love and respect you so take strength from that. However not sure I can read this book. I’m only just coming to terms with having an emotional side. Not sure I could cope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am sorry to hear about your suffering too. It is a shame that people feel the need to belittle other people and make them feel worthless. I do feel alone, and I do feel like a freak of nature thanks to the fact I am now longterm ill and being dropped by so called friends. I think this book highlights the subject in such a realistic yet beautiful way. Of course it is often a hard read, but it needs to be

      Liked by 1 person

      • If they walk away they aren’t friends. You’ll always have us cyber-friends though. And if being yourself makes you a freak, well long live us freaks. Life would be dull if we were all the same. Celebrate what is unique and beautiful about you and stuff everyone else.

        Like

  4. A wonderful post, and one which, I hope, will give courage to others to stand up and speak out. I hope you know how much you are loved, and you should know that you bring a smile to my face every day. Thank you for being you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a brave and very emotional post. As a mother whose son was bullied relentlessly and still suffers personally years later. I for one believe it’s a subject that should be addressed in schools and dealt with appropriately. It’s a subject that I feel really strongly about and even today when I think what the constant bullying done to my son it breaks my heart. Thank you for speaking out 😘😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you lovely. It is horrendous and I am so sorry that your son still suffers with it. If he, or you, ever need to chat, I’ll be more than willing to be an ear. It needs to be stopped, but people need to take it seriously first ❤

      Like

  6. Bullying is a horrendous thing to go through, well done you for being brave enough to put your story out there. It’s very sad that people are capable of being so cruel and it needs to be addressed whatever the bully’s age. It’s just not acceptable…ever. (((hugs)))

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A beautiful post, Kaisha, and such a brave thing to do. You are a gorgeous, warm hearted soul who infuses our blogging/writing community with love, happiness, and laughter. To think that you experienced these things is heart breaking. Bullying is such an awful thing, and being able to share your story may be the breaking point for someone else to ask for help, or find the light at the end of their tunnel. I always found that the emotional abuse was far more damaging than physical – bruises clear up, scars fade, but words dig deep and take root. Sending you oodles of virtual hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh bless you, that is so lovely of you to say, thank you! I am so pleased that I am able to make other people laugh. I have found that I am far too good at hiding behind my mask and pretending that I am. But, deep inside, I am far from it. It still hurts, especially as I still deal with adult bullies. I hope that I can help someone with my post, and I aim to be able to help a lot more if I can. Totally agree, emotional abuse is often worse. Hugs to you too xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a moving and honest post, Kaisha! It was very brave of you to share your story. Bullying is something that can happen to anyone at any age in any walk of life. It has a dreadful impact upon people and needs to be wiped out. Whether this is possible, who knows, but we can at least try and try we will. TOGETHER!!! Sending you huge hugs lovely lady!!! XXXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Completely agree! I still get it now and it’s heartbreaking. I don’t know what’s wrong with me for people to do that to me. Thank you for such lovely words, your support means a lot to me xxxxx

      Like

  9. Oh, Kaisha, what a heart-breaking story and how brave of you to share it. I feel so sad for you and all the other children/people that have been bullied in this way. Words can hurt terribly and no one deserves to be picked on like this but unfortunately it happens to so many people. There is nothing wrong with you – it is the bullies that have the problem. Sending you a (BIG HUG)

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    • Thank you Karen, that’s lovely of you to say. The scars are still very deep and continue to be on my mind more than I would like. I have felt ashamed for years over what happened to me and I still feel as though there has got to be something untoward with me, to have gotten that at school, and still now as an adult. Big hugs to you too xx

      Like

  10. Jumping right in here with a book suggestion, have you ever read any of Louise Hay’s books? Something like “You can heal your life” and “I can do it” are really good books and a place to start. They might give you your first pair of virtual boxing gloves to stop these bullies.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a brave post, Kaisha, one that will help many other people, I’m sure. I’m fortunate to know Lesley and know that she will be sad to hear your tale but so happy to know that her writing helped. All the best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lesley replied to my post on twitter and you’re right, she did get upset, which I feel bad for. The book spoke volumes and I hope my post helps others as much as Lesley’s book gave me courage xx

      Like

  12. Such a brave piece of writing and so full of emotion. It’s hard to believe at the time – and surely impossible for a five year old – but you are ALWAYS a better person than the bullies.

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  13. This is so moving and so beautifully written Kaisha. It’s incredibly brave of you to share your story and my heart goes out to you. But it’s testament to your strength of character that you haven’t allowed it to destroy you. It hasn’t stopped you from becoming a wonderful mum and a kind, caring, intelligent and thoughtful woman, because you’re stronger than all those horrible bullies. Keep writing. X

    Like

  14. I’m a bit late to this post sweetheart, such a brave thing to share. I can only ‘see’ you as you are now & that is a loving, caring, generous person so hold your head high and know you are worth a million of those people. Your little girl is very lucky to have you as her mum xxx

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  15. I put off reading this because I knew I would find it hard, I suffered a similar fate from primary 1 through to leaving academy at 17 – the daily struggle to just get out of bed to go to school was horrendous, knowing what awaited me there made me wish I was ill enough to stay home every day.
    It takes guts to open up and tell your story, well done for being brave, you’ve shown that you are a wonderful role model for your daughter by showing her that the bullies don’t always win and that speaking out to even just one person you trust about bullies and tormentors that something can be done, even if it’s just to ease your worries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear that :(, if you need to talk about it or need an ear, feel free to email. It’s hard, especially when this post is just the tip of the iceberg with what I’ve been through in my life. Thank you for your lovely words xx

      Like

  16. Pingback: TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more | The Writing Garnet

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