A Lesson In Differences and Understanding (A Personal Story)


I received the below story from Rahajeng, who shares both her new understanding of being bullied by “friends” and also a history lesson for us all about the culture she comes from and her name. Based on her story, I looked up her name and, at least in Balinese it means “Good”, which is so apropos. I think that it is brave of Rahajeng to share these feelings in her writing. Her words are both honest and her sadness and anger come out as well. It makes me wonder whether she is made fun of due to her difference in culture as well as the other traits she points out. We should embrace differences as a way to build better understanding about each other. I hope when you read Rahajeng’s words, you will see in her writing this understanding as I feel I have too. ~Alan Eisenberg


This is my personal story. Before, I only knew that bullying is actually some kind of abuse that uses violence, but not after I found this blog from my friend. And I just realized I’m also a victim of bullying. So here’s my story.

I’m a bit overweight. Not really fat but fatter than my friends. My close friends call me ”fatty” or anything else related to my body size. And I never take it serious because I know they’re just joking. And actually I’m a kind of girl that doesn’t really take simple things seriously. Sometimes I call myself  “fatty” too, for fun.

So I went to college one day, out-of-town, and I found a friend at my dorm. She’s a close friend. I’ve suffered from high level of stress, and it’s a problem that I still can’t get rid of. Because of that, I’m so often got sick . I got sick really often. One day, this friend asked me about why I got sick really often. I said I’m tired, a lot of activities or something else. But I just said it because I don’t want to tell everybody that I’m stressed. I mean a real stress, not a joking funny stress that people often talk about. She said,”You’re fat, but you’re sick so often.” I don’t know what her goal was to say that but me, listening to what she said, broke my heart a lot. After that I entered my room and cried a lot. I mean, why does it matter if I’m fat? So fat people don’t get sick? The illness is not even because of my body size but my stress level. She doesn’t know the real thing but she talked like that. I’m just disappointed about why she would even take the topic about “fat” to relate it to my sickness. I’m really, really upset, I cried all night because of that.

And about this friend. She is thin, really thin. I sometimes have envy about that. I usually have dinner with her, and when I asked her, she often said,”I’m in diet. See? I’m fat.” “Umm I’m so fat.” She often said it in front of me. I don’t know if I’m being so sensitive, but listening to that word, in fact she’s a half of my weight, but she’s saying it in front of me if she’s fat. If she’s fat, so what does it makes me? A giant? The fact that she’s criticize her weight for being fat in front of “fat person” like me hurts a lot.  I cried about this too.

Another story is about my name. In the country I live, parents usually gave names with meaning which means a prayer, for their children to be. There’s a belief in local area that sometimes parents gave the child too-heavy name, which makes it so the child can’t “lift” the name and fulfill the hope and that they often get sick for a long time because of that. If that happens, usually when the child is about 1 or 2 years-old, the parent change the name to a “lighter” one. And my name’s meaning is like “honorable person”. Like I said first that I often got sick, and sometimes missed classes. And because my missing classes, my friends were worrying about me, and asking why I’m so often sick. So there is one friend, at college, while my classmates talked about my absents (in that time I wasn’t there because I was sick), she was giving a serious-like hunch. Like she’s the one that knows everything,”Her name is too heavy.” When I presented in my class in the other day, another friend told me that “one friend” said about my heavy name. At that time I was so angry…so so angry. She don’t even know anything about my sickness and she dare talk about me having a heavy name. It’s like saying that my parent gave my a wrong name, like criticizing  my parents! “Who are you anyway?!” And for her information, my sickness is nothing related to my name, at all. I mean why she’s being so know-everything-girl while she doesn’t! I cried every night for like a week just thinking about this. But thank God, because of this I know what kind of friend is she.

It’s so hurtful when people starts relating something unrelated to your sickness. It’s sickness, it’s not used to be fun. How do you feel when people make up the reason about you being sick?

Maybe anyone who read this may not feel the anger like me, except for you who feel the same thing, but at this time it’s what I feel. And it hurts, a lot. Please stop bullying!

~Rahajeng

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