It is Anti-Bullying Awareness Week.
According to some Canadian statistics (http://www.stopabully.ca/bullying-resources/bullying-statistics) well over 50% of children are bullied, even more consider it a normal part of life.
It was certainly a normal part of my life until I reached university, but it didn’t stop entirely; it eased a bit as it tends to with the aid of maturity, however, not everyone matures.
I briefly wrote about my experiences being bullied in Is ignorance really at home in our hearts? and my hope is that it helped someone out there, but I have another form of bullying that I would like to address – self bullying.
My husband called me a bully.
He said what I am doing isn’t right nor is it fair.
He said I have to stop picking on myself.
He said I have to let go of the anger, guilt and whatever it is that is causing me to beat upon myself.
He said if I do not stop I will kill myself.
My husband is right.
I do not sleep well. I never have. Not only do I find it difficult to do so, but I am also afraid to sleep. Being a diabetic I have had my share of scary nights over the years. Thankfully, my cat (a most wonderful, beautiful creature that –like my husband- has been by my side for over 10 years) has been able to wake up my husband to alert him, the times those levels have dipped too dangerously low, but there have been nights when no one can wake me up, nights when my blood glucose goes so low my husband has to inject my glucagon and/or call the ambulance.
I am also the kind of person who cannot fall back to sleep once I am awake, so even if I have only engaged in a couple hours of slumber, that late night trip to the bathroom, the call of the little voice in the next room, the bump in the night all render me wide awake and unable to return to sleep.
It is what I do at night that will kill me, as my husband pointed out; I can and do sit, wide awake reviewing my life, making sure I have done everything I need to do, questioning what I have done. Have I been the best person I can be? Am I good mother, wife, daughter, friend?
I struggle with the fact that my brothers and I are still estranged even though I have spent the last year rebuilding a relationship with my parents. I struggle with the fact that they are now taking it out on my parents by refusing to talk to them or visit. I struggle because I watch how it upsets my folks even though they put on a brave face. I struggle because I feel immensely guilty (even though I know that I have nothing to feel guilty about, but when someone says they hate you and refuse to come around if you are there, it is hard not to take that personally).
I am picking on myself. I am not allowing myself to move on and I need to. I am robbing myself of living fully. I am denying my husband a full and complete partner. I have hijacked my son’s mother and am holding her captive; grossly unfair all of it, but it so hard to stop.
I suffered a health trauma during my first year of university and though I emerged seemingly unscathed, I was left with some memory troubles. I do not remember much of my life prior to the age of 19, I have a couple snap shot moments here and there, I remember my family, but forget A LOT of the moments we shared. I remember some of the people I went to high school with, I sometimes repeat tasks because I cannot remember if I have already done them. I make lists constantly; I check and recheck them even more.
I remember the bullying.
I remember the names, the torment, the MOO-ing.
I remember the things they would put in my desk.
Some things simply cannot be forgotten, I guess. And, trust me, I have tried.
I have forgiven those children who teased me because they were children. I hope they have changed and are not awful adults. I hope they teach their children to be kinder than they were.
Perhaps, I need to give myself the same forgiveness.
Too many of us internalize what we are exposed to and it warps us. It makes us afraid to trust ourselves, causing doubt and fear.
We need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to stop the bullying within if we are to stop the bullying out there in the world. We need to make sure we feel good about ourselves.
We need to remember that we are all still learning, growing.
In honour of Anti-Bullying Awareness Week, I pledge to stop bullying myself.
I am going to get to know me a bit better, see if there is anything I need or can do to help myself.
I am going to be a friend to me.