I received this story from Richard in Indonesia. I think it very important to remember that bullying doesn’t just take place in one place in the world, but in all places in the world in many different ways. Richard’s story share exactly that thought. ~Alan Eisenberg
My Life Story
Hey, I’m from Indonesia. I’m 16 years old. I just found this great website and I realized just how big bullying is. It pushes me to tell you my own story of getting bullied. I’ll just start from my earliest recollection of bullying. (And sorry for bad grammar)
Well first thing to know, I like to classify my former self. I know it feels wrong to classify people into some certain groups (or classes as I liked to call it) but it holds true in every school around this entire world.
I believed that there are several good ways for you to get bullied at school. One of them is being a nerd and a loner like me. It’s not like being these kinds of guys particularly bad. People just don’t accept and never try to tolerate people who are a bit different from they are. It’s just who I am and I don’t need to explain how not wrong it is to have a social identity different than most typical kids, right?
My family moved a lot. I have moved 4 times. If you’re a guy like me and moved that many times, you tend to observe your surroundings. Look at how many groups that exists in the school, who are the popular guys and gals, who would bully you, which people should you run into, who you want to trust, etc. It’s completely tiring but sometimes you feel glad that at least you don’t have to endure much depression from the same bullies all the time.
Anyways, I’ll start from 3rd grade at elementary school. I remembered very clearly when I was just that little there’s this guy like 4-6 years older than me a bit bald has a fair-brown skin and has this sneering look as if he owns the entire freaking school. When I tried to enter my classroom, I saw him near the corner of the corridor and he came to me and pushed me to the door. He was asking for my wallet, my money, and stuff. He tried it nicely and tried to joke around because he thought I was too naive to know what was going on.
Then a teacher came out of nowhere and saved me just before forced me to take my money. I was grateful. But as days went on since that incident, I became paranoid. I came to that school always looked at my right and left before turning into the next corridor. Sometimes the bully came and he would try to do the same thing he did before. Only two things kept him at bay: a series of luck and friends.
My friends back when I was 3rd grade accepted me because we have this same common hobby: to draw. We were a bit scared of bullies so we decided to hang out at the storage room. We arranged our own table and moved lots of old stuff. There were series of comics that we made; it was a pretty good time, the only good time anyways.
Back at home, no one could really understand. My parents were NOT mean and but sometimes they ‘unintentionally’ hurt my feeling by trying to comment just how much an unsocial person I was at my school. Well, I didn’t like admitting that I was feeling depressed at school and that people don’t really accept me so I guess the blame goes to me.
There was this time (actually a couple of times, but now he never does it) when my father would commented that I am such a useless piece of crap that only stick with books and I would never be a man If I’m such a weak naive boy. And that he would add other names out of the sentence like ‘idiot’ or ’stupid ‘. I know they’re not profanities but the way he said it feels like he was calling me with real bad names or something. That’s the only real insult coming from my parents, I believe.
My sister is even worst. I loved and hated my sister. My parents had some senses at least, especially my mother who was a bit like me back when she was still in high school. My sister didn’t even care whether or not his dearest brother is depressed and has some experiences with bullying. She’s my second bully throughout my life. She’s one of those popular girls who would mostly cares about their social life, hanging out with friends, looking all obnoxious and stuff. I remembered she insulted me from being such a nerd and that I should be like her, not some lowly piece of crap that people don’t really care about. I liked to smack her face for that but at the time I wanted her to realize what’s really happening at schools all by herself.
Anyways, just when I thought the bullying was about to gone especially with my grades are getting higher than before, I moved at the end of fourth grade. I had this simple goodbye and told my friends that I’ll be okay and that I would try to continue the legacy of drawing club to the new school.
The 2-years experience in this new school is the worst I had in my entire life.
Remembered what I said about observing surroundings and stuff? That was exactly the same thing that I did at the first day of school. The divide between some certain kids are so obvious, the discrimination so distinct and MUCH clearer, and I thought to myself that this school is going to be a bit like hell.
There’s this kid, he’s about the same age as me. He’s one of those popular guys that did basketball and liked to hang out with these other boys. He’s a rich boy, in fact most kids here are rich because not many people can go to this school (and I kind of respect my father for his approach of ‘better’ education). And I have to tell you, if you’re a guy like me you want to smack his face so hard, you want that face to suffer so much pain, you want that obnoxious annoying look turn into pure fear so that he knows just how much stuff that you had suffered because of him.
This dude along with his other friends who followed along (so pathetic, isn’t it?)—they liked to push, shove, insult, and torment me around like I was their punching bag just waiting to worn out. When it was time for P.E. they would never allow me to play and even when I did they would put me at the very end of the other side of the field.
I tried to fight them, I really did, like telling them to go away and give them an angry look but it just worsens everything. There was this time that he took my stuff and tried to hit a girl with it. I defended the girl, telling him to stop. This dude kept pushing me to get off but I stood still. And then he said this sentence out loud: “get out of my way you. . . . .” (And then all profanities came in) and punched me in the face. The punch was both a mental and physical attack. Hurt like hell. I fell down to the floor and cried. Since then, I told myself that I wouldn’t cry the next time any jerks punched me in the face.
I did have friends but they were in the same disadvantage position as I was. I had a friend who was fat, in danger of obesity, and people called him names, laughed at him. I had a friend that was big but his voice was too childish so people called him names like ‘big baby’ and never took him seriously. I had a friend who was a gamer. I had a friend who was rich and yet maintain his friendliness towards everybody. I had a friend who was an all-time troublemaker. My last mention would be my best friend; he was formerly a bully, hanging out with the bully and became his ‘lieutenant’ and stuff. When we both met, whether it was just a pure accident or he felt a slight sympathy toward me, we just feel like we could connect with any kind of subjects at hand, as if we were meant to be friends. And so we became good friends, and later, best friends. In fact, he was my first friend when I first came to this school.
Together, we’re like the biggest nerd community at the school. Back at those days, gangs were pretty important and I guess we sort of made our own and made you independent from other people.
Right down from 3rd grade till 6th grade I have this driver. He was old in his 50s and always knows how to crack jokes at times of depression. He was a heavy smoker by the way. When my parents did not know (even now) that I was bullied because people just won’t accepted me, he was the only grown up that told me to hold on and stay strong. Whenever we’re both alone, usually in the car, I would share my stories with him and he would give me a bit of advice and sometimes appreciated my drawings like nobody else did. He told to other drivers and people just how talented I was. Basically, he was my best friend like no other.
One day at 6th grade, he told me that he was kind of sick, coughing and stuff. The next day, my father told me that he had a heart attack. Of course, I was worried but I believed myself that he would be okay. And then on 2nd June 2008, I think, my maid came up with tears rolling in her eyes. I was working on this photo that I took on my laptop and she told me that he just died and the doctor couldn’t save him.
I got one question for you: I know how suck it is to be bullied but do you know how suck it feels to have someone close that you relied on, depended on, and just died?
My answer: It sucks. It really sucks
I remembered crying, really hard, and retreated myself to the corner of the room. I did go to school, hiding my tears, and I told my friends what happened. They were surprised and give sympathy to me. The thought of never visiting my driver at his sickest days haunted me for years.
That day marked my depression into its climax. And then one day when I was walking with my best friend, we were jumped by the bullies. My best friend became the shield and doing all the cursing and stuff. The bully said “I remembered you used to hang out with us and then you start to hang out with this . . . dude,” And then he pointed at me like I was the lowly animal, “the hell happened to you?” And then my best friend said “What’s your problem, (word omitted)?”After that he took me and we broke through the bullies and went in to the canteen. I did not feel very comfortable. I felt guilty for making my best friend a lowly nerd and not am able to protect myself. Then he told me these meaning full words: that he would never leave me alone. We united with our other friends and pledged the same thing.
But friends can never be together forever right?
At the end of sixth grade, the rich friendly one said that he had to move. The troublemaker told me that he had to move to East Java away from Jakarta because his father punished him and told him to go to pesantren, an Islamic religious school. And then I had to move abroad. I did bitter goodbyes and then I was off.
At this new school I felt an identity crisis or rather an identity choice. The school was an international school, with good tolerance and stuff, so I kept my nerdy-loner self because, even though I suffered for being that person, I felt pride and independency from being that person too. At that school I changed myself from the victim into the watcher, just the one that watches just how schools truly work.
I had this friend who a bit autistic in a way that he could not communicate effectively and he could not make eye contacts and also walks really funny. We both are the only ‘real’ Muslims in the school. We made through some very small discrimination. The only discrimination I saw was the looks of people whenever he walked. I remembered that he tried to fit in with the popular boys but they played around with him, calling him ‘my man’ or something friendly, but the way they said it is fake and the intonations around the words are also fake. My friend wasn’t that stupid because whenever they don’t look around I would see the depressed look in his eyes.
What about me? Well I did face a little challenge, because I couldn’t speak English at all. I adapted myself into loner more than usual. I went through 3 weeks without any friends. My sister was facing the same language barrier but because she had that personality (and a boyfriend who gave her support through Facebook) she went on pretty fine. After those three weeks, the nerds of the school took me in for refugee, urging me to speak up.
2 months later I was able to speak rather fluently, although I couldn’t quite develop my American accent. There were these kids. Even though they weren’t bullies, but they were pretty annoying. They always underestimated me as being that outsider sand sometimes they got really jealous because I did extremely well for a student out of nowhere who had never been in any international experience. They did torment a bit but their words don’t hurt as much as the ones back in Jakarta.
I couldn’t really say that it was a very good time. In family life, I and my sister’s conflict just got worsen. Right down till we both fight and cried and throwing stuff. My sister used her usual insults at me but when I got sick of them and tried to insult her with my own, criticizing her to be blind with the real social life. My parents stood up for her saying that I should never treat a woman like that and told me if I would brave enough to fight boys at school. The depression from my family life came to the point when I ran away from home and sat near a lake just throwing stones. It went on for hours until I realized just what an idiot I was and then I came back home and apologizing for being such a childish person.
Well, that’s just a very good indicator just how much they don’t know about me.
And just to add it up, there was this one other thing. I came back to Indonesia at the end of 8th grade to visit my old friends. The only ones left in the gang were my best friend, the one who has the childish voice (which turned into a bass voice since he hit puberty), the gamer, and the fat one (no offense). They told me that even though they were still intact as a gang the others who moved away were not. They lost contact of the one who moved to East Java, not even Face book can track him till this date. And the rich one became infected by the rich obnoxious social life at his new school. He ditched us and started to play at bands and smoking on the street. It broke my heart, but I told myself to move on.
The fight in the family became less tense as I came to 8th grade. My social life became much better. It was good until I had to move back into Indonesia.
I jumped my grade so I was 10th grade immediately when I was at school in Indonesia. At this school, I became tired of school life; I hated the usual divide between outcasts and popular kids. I indulged myself with these thoughts—really weird thoughts about life, philosophy, being a better person. I went on 3 months became a robotic loner. Some kids tried to pick on me but then I would acted like an easy-going person, giving an attitude that they should do better at bullying if they want me to suffer like they wanted me to.
That was when I decided to be an easy-going person — a change from being a loner into . . . Quite the opposite. I didn’t like at the idea at first but as soon as I got used to be that person, it became a part of me. I did not feel fake being that kind of person, I just felt renewed and rejuvenated.
So if normal people would tend to be quiet around strangers, I would be quite loud and hilarious around strangers. And once people get to know me more, that am when I could reveal my old serious self. Some of my friends here told me that I had two personalities: the one I previously described and a more serious mature self that not many people know. It’s nice that people called me mature.
After I changed myself, things started getting better. I did not feel like I belong to anyone. I became a soloist. Usually, I would come to different random people and I would be able to greet them as if I just met them yesterday. My social identity, where I belong, became a blur and a mist. Kids respected me for my intelligence and I started to gain achievements through various competitions, something which never occurred in my entire life.
Now, I helped people through tough times. Sometimes I gave those advice on how to get through social life if they are different and people don’t accept them anymore. But as time passes by, I started to give advice generally on how to get through depression in all kinds of cases. And at other times I gave them awareness about bullying because this school is special in a way that it had a high tolerance of people despite being a local school.
My father complimented me for being an independent person. He told me something like this:
I remember you being such a quiet boy; sometimes you are no-good at all. But one thing I respect for you is how much you loved to prove yourself that you are better than you are now. The fact that you always try to do your best and always know the gravity of the situation at hand. I remembered you joined the swimming club and did the entire schedule by yourself. I remembered that you tried to study hard to be the smartest person in school all by yourself. I respect you for that.
I was surprised when he said that. I never thought that I would do such things that he said. From there, I truly and finally accepted one thing that I know about a bullied victim (and I hoped that this next paragraph should be highlighted. I’m not a particularly a dramatic person when giving advice, but here it goes):
If there was one thing good to be a bullied victim, is that it opened up your eyes to what life is really all about. Other kids are lost in their own immaturity looking for a purpose in their lives, unknown just how much miserable truth and reality that they had missed while guys like us had to endure some stuff kids shouldn’t endure. The pain that we’ve been through is a base of our emotional intelligence and therefore our base towards maturity.We came from being a paranoid, depressed loner, and a sad pathetic looking creature into someone who had earned self-conscious. I hoped I’m not wrong, but most bullied victims who got over with their past had at least one dream. One ambition. One purpose of life that they will never gave up until it is achieved. That is if you are willing to hold on.
Mine is to become a greater person than today. My other dream is to help people getting through tough times and basically telling them that there’s always a silver lining.
I have a friend who is a great drawer and has this dream of a world where people never care about status and accepted others just for who they are.
I have a friend who is now a god of guitar and has this dream to be accepted and called great for one thing he loved to do and to prove to the people he cared that he can do it.
And that’s it really. So just to prove that I’m not wrong, do any of you have a dream? I suggest that you hold on to those. You’ll never know just how much one dream can motivate one man to do a thousand things. Trust me.