What’s The One Thing You Wish You Knew (A Personal Story)

I received this personal story from a High School Senior who was asked “What’s the one thing you wish you knew as a Freshman?” She is seeking an answer through her story of being bullied that she shares here. It is another cautionary tale about the power that our new Social Network has. ~Alan Eisenberg

When I was a Junior in High School, I was bullied and harassed. My friends would ask me to drink and do things I didn’t approve of, and when I made up and excuse each time they got mad and eventually got sick of it. I couldn’t help it. If it wasn’t something I was interested in, then I wasn’t going to do it! Around Christmas they got fed up with me saying I didn’t want to hang out. I made new friends and hung out with them instead. At that point they were mad. Some of them decided to make a group about me on Facebook. “Who thinks (Haley) is a hoe”. When I saw that group, my heart-felt like it came to a complete stop, my stomach felt like it dropped. When I told my parents about the group they looked on the group page to see who the “creator” of the group was. Sure enough it was one of my “used to be friends”.

My parents were upset and called the creator of the group’s parents. We asked them to delete the group. And this would be going to the cops as harassment. The group was removed but I still had to face the bullying at school. Another boy would walk past me in class and cough “hoe” in front of everybody. And when he saw me in the hallways he would shout out “hoe” so that everybody could hear him.

I would go to the bathroom or the office and call one of my parents crying my eyes out telling them I wanted to go home. They knew exactly what was going on. The counselor helped me a lot. But sometimes I didn’t want to talk to her, or anybody. I just wanted to get out of that school and go home and cry away from everybody. I kept telling my parents I wanted to move and get away. I told them I was never going back to that school again.

But I had to go, it was school. So the next day I go, and everybody at the lunch table ignores me. So I get up and go to the library. From that day on I always skipped lunch and sat in the library for the next 5 months we had left of school. Nothing got better it only got worse. All my “friends” were in all my classes. We didn’t talk or look at each other. Even the teacher knew something was wrong.

But things still were bad. Nothing would stop them from being mean to me. At this point I hated everybody, I hated going to school, and I hated being in this town! I eventually found new friends during the summer and hung out with new people.

Now I am a Senior at (a high school in Iowa) and we got asked “What is one thing you wish you knew as a freshman?”

And when my teacher said that, I knew exactly what I wished I had known, a and what to expect. Being bullied and harassed changed my life. And it was always have an effect. I had to deal with people each day face to face calling me names and saying mean things about me just because I made the choice not to be like everybody else. I chose to be a leader, not a follower.

I have a friend who is going through this exact same thing as I write this. And I tell her all about what to expect. I wish I had someone who could have talked to me when I was going through all of that. But I am glad to be helping someone else out.

Nobody should have to ever go through this, ever. It’s not fair to anybody and it hurts you so much. If you haven’t got bullied or harassed, you have no idea what it’s like. Nor do you want to find out. Like I said earlier… i got asked “What is one thing you wish you knew as a freshman?” I hope you can help me come up with something, because I’m in need of some help. Thank you.

~ Haley

2 thoughts on “What’s The One Thing You Wish You Knew (A Personal Story)

  1. Dearest Haley – You darling, darling girl. There are so many things that I wish I had known before I knew them and life is one long learning experience. There is a book you need to buy it’s called the ten rules for being human. I like you was bullied not only in grade school, not only in junior high, and not only in high school, but in college, I was driven out of college by five nasty girls. And I was bullied at work as a matter of fact I’m currently dealing with a bully at work and I’m 43 years old.

    I wanted so badly to belong in high school, but what I found out is although everyone in high school wants to fit in, as adults the goal is to stand out, so if you never fit in it is much easier to stand out. The popular people, the bullies, are all right where I left them. I wish I would have hung out with the nerd crowd who at high school reunions still get together, they had a great time in high school not fitting in and I wish I would have joined them. Now at class reunions they invite me to their after parties. Now I get facebook requests from people who were mean to me in high school and I always accept.

    Along with wishing I’d hung out or tried to get into the nerd crowd rather than just hanging on the fringes of the popular crowd, I wish I would have found other things to do outside of school, other activities. I did other activities in grade school and junior high, 4-H, Church group and ballet, but I let those activities slide and I don’t ever remember being bullied during any of those activities. Meeting people outside your school and from different schools is good.

    A second thing that is good to know is that high school is a very small part of life, the mistake I made after being bullied was going to a small college, because it was just like high school, I would highly suggest looking at colleges that have at least 10,000 students or more. But regardless, high school for most of us is right of passage and for those of us who are different it’s a terrible experience, but four years out of life, in the large scheme of things its not a lot.

    Finally, I wish I would have been more ballsy as a kid, I wish I would have told those bullies off. In junior high the two guys who were bullying me finally quit. One day I was eating lunch in the bleachers and they made a comment about my father looking green. My father was dying of cancer. I turned around and smashed my lunch in Dan Swift’s face and then he chased me all over school and I finally got caught by a teacher in the girl’s restroom and sent to the Principals office. I was a good kid, never a problem and the principal was surprised to see me. He said, what’s going on? And I let him have it. I said, “He has been bullying me for three years now and I’ve had enough.” I got angry and I told the principal he needed to do something about it. And he did and Dan Swift and Mike Kuta never bullied me again. I wish I would have confronted those girls who ran me out of college I should have stood up to them and asked, “Why are you so mean to me? What did I ever do to you?” And then when they gave their bullshit answers I wish I would have said, “Bullshit, your just a bunch of mean girls and some of the worst excuses for human beings that I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. And if you ever speak to me again or do anything mean to me again, your going to wish you hadn’t. I’m the alpha dog now.”

    In 2010 I was named University of Oregon’s Outstanding Young alumni, I just received an award for my humanitarian work on behalf of people with disabilities from University of Illinois, I have an incredible array of accomplishments, but most importantly I have a lovely group of friends who love me because of who I am and cherish everything that is different about me.

    It hurts to be left out, I still get hurt by it and you will have many more hurtful experiences in your life, but you don’t have to be a victim, you can be a survivor. Fighting back doesn’t have to be mean, it just has to be truthful. The world and other people will try and define you, don’t let them only you get to define yourself.

    My name is Tiana Tozer, you can find me on the internet, I went through exactly what you have gone through and I know how painful it is, but hang in there. And then when you are far enough away from it, contact the people who bullied you and call them on it, it will shock the heck out of them. I just recently confronted two of the girls who ran me out of college, they didn’t have a lot to say. It was a bit of bullying on my part, but the truth is, that sometimes the consequences of actions take along time to surface. Remember people who are the most successful in life have also experienced the most failures.

    I’m rooting for you. No matter what they say about you or what they do, I’m on your side.

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