From very early on, I was subjected to bullying from my peers. The earliest incidence of bullying was at just six years old. The bullying essentially ruined school for me and caused me to dread going into school. Most of the bullying was in the form of name-calling and being generally excluded. It was very rarely, if ever physical in nature.
The names I was constantly called have stuck with me for life. These included spastic, spazz, retard, freak, ugly and deformed. I was asked why my younger brothers weren’t ugly like I am. I was constantly left out, always picked last when it came to teams in physical education. Feeling excluded was awful in itself; I made very few friends throughout my childhood.
Bullying continued long after I left school at 16. I was bullied in the same way as I was at school at a youth training scheme I joined (and eventually quit). I’ve been bullied at workplaces too, only that has been in the form of people talking behind my back, or obnoxious bosses seeing me as an easy target.
Bullying prevented me from coming out as transgender much earlier and it caused me to hide my sexual orientation too. I knew that an ugly boy could never become a girl. That reality set in at a very young age, when I became conscious of my gender identity, which corresponded roughly with the time I started to loathe my appearance.
I don’t keep in touch with many people from when I was a child/teenager, but I do still speak to a couple of them occasionally. One person I went to school with suggested that it was just done in jest and that those people (bullies) would probably be very sorry if they knew of the psychological damage they’ve inflicted on me. But I told her that’s nonsense. The reality is that child bullies often grow up to be adult bullies, only their bullying takes on a different form. Perhaps they bully coworkers or their subordinates. Perhaps they’re now controlling partners or controlling parents.
One crushing blow I received when I became an adult was the realization that bullying does not stop after adolescence. I continued to experience the same level of exclusion at the various jobs I’ve worked at after I left school. It was just as bad as school, if not worse, because you can be fired if you’re seen as the problem. I’ve been in relationships where partners have bullied me or manipulated me, though truth be told, my weakness and my inability to say “no” and stand up for myself definitely enabled them.
I can’t forgive the people that have tormented me at various points in my life. If there’s a god up there, I’ll leave forgiveness to god. Those people have scarred me for life and caused me to repress my identity to the point that it almost killed me. The names they tormented me with have stuck with me 2 decades on, causing me to hate myself.
People tell me to love myself, but how is that even possible? I never got the chance to develop any kind of self-esteem. If I had my way, I would actually track some of the perpetrators down and sue the shit out of them for the damage they’ve caused.
The bullying I face now is in the form of transphobic harassment. It has happened several times this year, whether on the street or online. It is not something I can deal with, largely because it is an attack on something I can’t change, but wish that I could. It has cast me back to feeling like the frightened child that I once was.
The truth is, I bet that those who bullied me are happy and successful now (I know for a fact that one of them is). This is the world we live in – where being a bad person will enable you to rise to the top. Donald Trump’s success and popularity is living proof of this, even if you refuse to accept what I say.
Don’t worry bullies – I hate myself more than you could ever hate me.