Being bullied is something which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t even wish it on my bully. It robs you of your self esteem, makes you feel like you’re an easy target and forces you to wonder ‘why me?’
When I was in Year 7, I was quite a quiet girl. I used to sit in assembly and wonder how on earth the big Year 11s managed to stand up in front of assembly to deliver the bulletin without freaking out. I settled in well – I made friends quickly and really enjoyed the lessons. However, I lived in fear of becoming the bullied kid because I was told at the end of Primary School “big school is where you get bullied” However I was determined to keep my head down, get on with my work and just focus on what I was at school to do: learn.
It wasn’t until further into Year 7 that I started experiencing harassment on the school bus. The bullies would grab my seat and shake it, causing me to move with it. Following this, the entire back row would laugh. They’d also pick at my hair and randomly stroke my head. However I just followed what my mum had told me- “Ignore it”. Eventually, it got too much and I arranged to move buses; but it wasn’t long until the bullies followed me onto the new bus. It had started again. Throughout Year 8 and 9 I experienced verbal bullying- they would shout my name loudly, make fun of my music taste (which was in fact, JLS. Don’t judge. I was OBSESSED with them.) They’d just generally do anything to make me feel uncomfortable. It came to a point where I thought, who should I be so that the bullies will like me? How can I be accepted as a ‘normal’ person?
By Year 8 I had come to the ‘bitchy girls’ stage of my secondary school life. I used to wear elasticated trousers; which my mum had convinced me were the latest innovation of school uniform; but all the other girls were wearing really tight jean type trousers. You guessed it, they absolutely tore me to shreds over it. I got comments such as ‘here comes Simon Cowell’ and other words which I’m not even going to repeat. I didn’t know how to cope with it; but the breaking point was when a crowd of girls circled me at lunchtime. They all chanted fiercely ‘ANKLE BASHERS ANKLE BASHERS’, and all I could say to the ring leader behind my anger and fright was ‘Go away.’ Luckily this was when I plucked up enough courage to tell my head of year what was going on; it stopped promptly after this.
However the bus bullying was still happening and it continued until the beginning of Year 10. In the Summer of 2013, I was particularly anxious about going back to school because I would be starting my GCSEs and I didn’t want another year of bus taunts. Therefore, I decided to speak to Alex Holmes from The Diana Award. I managed to have a Skype conversation with him; I told him what was going on, how it made me feel and asked him for his advice on the situation. I honestly think that that conversation was a game changer- it gave me that push I needed to speak to a teacher. I took his advice to write everything down and went in the next Monday morning and gave it to my Business Studies teacher.
My school couldn’t have dealt with the bullying any better - it got sorted so quickly, professionally and confidentially. Following my experiences, I have gained a confidence inside of me to help others - in December 2013 I went along to an Anti Bullying Ambassador training day on my own because I was so excited to be trained as an ambassador. I’ve been lucky enough to have had some incredible opportunities as an Anti Bullying Ambassador - going to Dublin to Facebook European Headquarters was amazing, as well as meeting HRH Prince William in September 2015.
I’m unbelievably grateful for all the support of my Anti Bullying Campaign - in February of this year I achieved one of my life goals by receiving a gold Blue Peter badge and an invitation to see an episode of Blue Peter be performed live. As a HUGE fan of the TV show, you can guess how excited I was. The presenters all knew who I was and it was incredible to think that so much positivity had come from such a negative part in my life.
My message to you, reading this, is that nothing is impossible. Don’t give up on achieving your wildest dreams, just because some individuals tell you that you aren’t good enough. Secondary school is a weird place, full of weird people but it only lasts for five years. You can and you will get through this. If you are experiencing bullying, talk to someone. Any one. If you can’t speak about it, write it down. Just keep going, and it will get better.
I'm Lydia, I'm 16 and I live in North Shropshire. I've been an Anti Bullying Ambassador for two years and work hard to prevent bullying in schools.
I also create YouTube videos to spread the Anti Bullying message in a fun and informative way. In July 2015 I was awarded with a Diana Anti Bullying Champion Award for my work.
If you would like to follow my campaign, follow me on Twitter @LydiaGreatrix or visit my YouTube channel youtube.com/c/lydiagreatrix. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any enquiries by emailing Lydia.firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about becoming an Anti Bullying Ambassador, visit www.antibullyingpro.com.