When I first joined Year Seven in secondary school (that’s 5th grade for you non-British Sparklebutts), I was in a dark place. I’m not going to go into details of why, but let’s just say that there were no unicorns, rainbows, or kittens in my life at that time.
My depression came at a really awkward time, as I’d just started attending a school where everyone knew everyone else–apart from me. Now, I wasn’t a naturally outgoing person at that time, but even for me, my behaviour during this period was BAD. I had really long hair that I hid behind so I looked like that terrifying girl from The Grudge, and I would sit in a corner and read all the time. I would spontaneously burst into tears at least twice a week, and it was a regular occurrence for me to scream and run out of a room. If anyone came near me, I would growl at them.
Yeah. I was THAT girl.
Now, the smart Sparklers will have worked out that at this point, no one liked me. There were three girls in particular who couldn’t just leave it at ignoring me; they took it to the next level. Insults were thrown across the classroom at me whenever a teacher wasn’t in the room. Looking back on it, I probably could have had them suspended for bullying, but I never really considered that because I just didn’t care. The fact that I just didn't give a flying fig only aggravated my bullies more. And so my life continued.
Something good that came out of this situation was that I became an Expert People-Watcher. I noticed things no one else did. And one of the many things I learned during this time was that one of the girls in the group of bullies wasn’t like the others. I shall name her Steve. Steve was a naturally big-boned rugby player who had never really fit in herself. That in itself wasn’t terribly interesting, but what was intriguing was that the leader of the posse, who shall henceforth be known as Paul, was a complete jerk to this poor girl.
Skip to a year later. I'd finally gotten help and therapy was starting to make me feel better about myself.
The entire form was sitting in a classroom and the teacher was entirely disinterested in what we were doing. Paul was on a roll, insulting people left, right, and center.
One comment was like a homing pigeon, sent to leave its mess right on the heads of both me and Steve. While I was mildly irritated at the insult to my person, what really got me was how blatantly this girl was insulting Steve while Steve just sat there and took it. Something had to be done.
“What is your problem?” I asked Paul.
There was silence. I realized that the words had come out of MY mouth. Ah well, I thought. In for a penny, in for a pound as they say.
Please note that what you are about to read is a watered down version of what was actually said, so those among us with a more delicate disposition can continue reading.
“Why do you treat Steve like absolute garbage? What has she ever done to you? Do you get some kind of kick out of being a complete cow? And did you ever realize that no one actually cares what you think?”
The entire class was in shock. No one before had ever dared challenge Paul’s reign of terror, and here I was, The Class Freak, using appalling language in front of a teacher and standing up for someone who had made my life living hell.
Paul just laughed nervously and retreated into a corner. Steve stared at me, wide-eyed. I felt like a superhero. I was also pretty sure I saw our teacher, one of the strictest teachers in school, give me a small nod of approval.
In assembly that morning, Steve quietly sat down next to me and smiled.
Two years later, Steve and I are still friends. I lost my reputation as a freak the day I stood up to Paul, and am now the funny-if-more-than-slightly-weird one of the class. Paul is completely out of the picture, her reign of terror ended by that one conversation.
And even though I could have got into serious trouble for using bad language and yelling at another student, it was totally worth it just to see Steve happy again.
Post by Frances!
We love this story—and any story where someone stands up for the victim of bullying! Way to go, Frances! YOU can help put a stop to bullying just by clicking here!