In this anonymised and edited submission a contributor reveals how by speaking out she has moved closer to freeing herself from the pain caused by bullying at school.
It is said that speaking out about the truth will set you free while keeping the truth inside can become an unbearable burden.
I wanted to share my story as the bullying I experienced from teachers and students alike had a major impact on my life, hindering me in many respects.
It ruined the later years of my childhood as my social skills suffered greatly.
Previous to the bullying in primary school, I had been a naturally quiet and happy girl but following the bullying, I developed extremely low self-esteem and low confidence. I developed an inferiority complex which is still difficult to ignore even now.
I always felt uncomfortable outside of the house and I struggled to go into local shops or any public events where I could meet people. I also lost interest in shopping and fashion. I was quite hesitant and would often freeze in social situations as I was afraid of saying something wrong and being given out to.
My body language became quite rigid due to my severe self-consciousness and my voice often came across as low and shy. Even now, I still lack that natural flow of speech in everyday conversations. However, I have been doing my very best to fight that in recent years and by continuing to venture outside of my comfort zone, I am hopeful that one day, I will overcome my past trauma completely.
I had always wanted to forget about the injustice of the past, focus on the positive and move on with my life. I threw myself into learning both at secondary school and college and strived to do my best especially in my favourite subjects – French and German.
However, I know now that in order to move forward successfully, it’s important to acknowledge any unresolved issues and ills of the past. For too long, I tried to brush the past under the carpet and pretend it never happened because I feared reliving the pain, but bottling it up and remaining silent only gives power to the perpetrators and I can no longer stand by and watch the bullies win.
It has been a long, difficult journey to heal from the past and I’ve not quite reached the end destination yet. I am hopeful that speaking out may be enough to make the guilty rethink their actions and to help the innocent to stand up and speak out to prevent a similar situation arising again.
I am determined to defy the outrageous odds that were cruelly placed upon me that I would never speak out. Now, by defiantly speaking out, I feel considerably closer to being free of the past.
This submission is part of a digital initiative on irishexaminer.com called Personal Insights.
As part of the Personal Insights initiative we are asking readers, creative writing groups and writing enthusiasts in general to share personal essays chronicling an experience which has impacted their lives and any learnings from that life experience they would like to share with a wider audience.
The essays cann be sent via the form below or directly to the executive editor for news and digital, Dolan O’Hagan, at email@example.com for consideration.
Please note all submissions should be given the subject line ‘Personal Insights submission’ to ensure they are picked up and should include any related imagery and a contact telephone number.
Only submissions which meet the Irish Examiner’s own strict journalistic, ethical and legal guidelines will be considered for publication.
The Irish Examiner reserves the right to edit submissions in line with those guidelines and before publication direct contact will be made with the person who has submitted the content.
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We look forward to reading your stories.