I grew up in an environment where I was bullied endlessly. Everyday going to school was a frightening experience. You see I was chubby, I had red hair and a face full of freckles, unfit and shy -all the predisposing traits to be victimised. Nobody called me by my name, there was however a relentless list of names that I was called. None that built any self-esteem.
And then I would go home, confused, knowing I was a ‘good’ person but yet hating myself. At home there was no solace. And my mum would relay stories of her abuse.
People can mistake being ‘nice’ as being ‘weak’.
I felt constantly judged, I couldn’t wear the right thing, say the right thing or even have the luxury of a friend for quite a few years. I was held down on many occasions, spat on and had chewing gum rubbed in my hair, all so that they could have a “laugh”.
I don’t think I’m unique. Intimidation is rife in our schools and workplace from way before my brush with it and I guess sadly will always be in our futures. I remember thinking to myself as a young girl that I never wanted to have kids because they would probably have red hair too and then they would suffer like I did. But hey I did have children, three delightful ones, no red heads!
I developed a fierce and protective spirit over them. I wouldn’t let anything be said about their looks (unless it was a compliment) and I swooped on anybody that dared offer a nickname. You see I wanted to break the power of what had come from my childhood so they didn’t have to live insecure in who they were. So they didn’t have to question their value or worth.
We have a role as peers and parents to protect and nurture. To look at what comes from our generations and decide what we want to keep and what we want to break off from our family. Our family motto is “only let wholesome words come from your mouth”. I keep watch over the words in our house. I hear my little sayings repeated now as they are older and it makes me smile because there is beauty from ashes… they know how to encourage and to speak life into others, it’s a gift.