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Lonely Halls and a New Beginning

Posted: 5/28/2020

After Jordyn struggled through 7th grade due to bullying, she felt relieved and excited to start 8th grade at a new school. She had missed countless days during the previous year and needed time and space to process the deep hurt she felt. She had fun at summer camp and spent time with her family, but the memories of the bullying were still raw and writing about her experience gave her a way to process her feelings and share her story.

Jordyn remained friends with a handful of students who stood by her during 7th grade, but also wanted to build new friendships. She said, “I am a new me, with a new, and better, perspective of life. I am grateful for who and what I have, and I appreciate the smallest acts of kindness. I notice the kinds of people I want to be around, and I can easily identify the people I would rather stay away from. I personally believe that this is a great trait to have, and something I will benefit from throughout my life. For that, I am thankful.”

This winter, Jordyn held a bake sale at a school event to raise awareness about bullying and bullying prevention. Many kids took stickers and pencils from the Create a World Without Bullying Resource Kit she purchased from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to help educate younger students. She read books to the kids and talked to them about how they can help others and be a good friend. The kids also made some drawings to show how they can create a world without bullying. These drawings, along with a poster from the kit, were hung in the hallway of the school wing where the event took place.

Along with getting involved in her local community, Jordyn also wrote about her experience for a school project. Her story speaks more about her experience, the pain she felt while experiencing bullying, and what helped her. Read Jordyn's full story here.

My Safe Space

Another day has begun, and I start my morning. The process of getting ready to go to the place I dread most is not the slightest bit enjoyable. There is no place I hate more than my middle school, even though there used to be nothing more I loved than learning there, but it became a place where I was bullied for months on end, with no resolutions coming anytime soon. It’s funny how something so small can sprout into something so substantial and unmanageable. One person’s jealousy can spread rapidly like a disease. Anyways, I have no choice. I have to go to that awful school.

My parents are aware that I do not want to go to school; they are more in touch with the situation than you’d expect. They do not think I should be going either, but I refuse to homeschool for the rest of the year. I do not want those who are bullying me to think that they have won, because they have not. I go downstairs to eat, and my mom gives me a big hug. She does this every morning along with telling me how proud she is of me, and how much she loves me. She tells me I am so strong, brave, and smart. I know that it is true, but it is hard to accept any affection or admiration from anyone. My body rejects any sense of satisfaction because it is damaged from all of the heartbreak. I have been stripped of happiness, or at least that’s what it feels like.

I love my home because I feel safe there. No one can harm me there. The kids who are bullying me cannot talk to me, or shove me, or stare me up and down. They cannot do any of these things because I am protected by the walls of the only place that I feel secure. The moment I step out the front door of the house, I am exposed. I lose all the stability that I had at home. I walk to the bus.

On My Way

I hate being on the bus. The large, yellow, crowded bus. It is an awful way to start my already anxious and overwhelmed morning. I sit in an empty seat across from a girl who is my friend, I guess. She has not done anything to hurt me and has not turned on me, like practically everyone else. Although, she has not been there for me either. Not good, not bad… just neutral.

I take out my phone that was in my pocket along with my hands that are all scratched up. I scratch my hands when I get nervous or stressed, and it was very clear to see that I had been doing so recently. I listen to my calming playlist with my earbuds. I plug myself into a peaceful world and block out everyone and everything else. The bumps of the ride bounce everyone around, similar to the butterflies fluttering around inside of me. The hundreds of butterflies inside of me make me feel sick to my stomach, but it is a familiar feeling. The feeling stays with my all day, until I step back into my guarded home. The butterflies that are produced by my anxiety have become like a pet; always needing attention and care, and wanting to be near me all day. They do not like to go away, and I cannot get rid of them. So, I might as well tend to them. I begin to think about the day to come, and tears roll down my cheeks as fast as a river.

The bus halts. The stone building towers over me, while my fear consumes me. Taking over me and the butterflies. I pack up my phone and earbuds, and straighten myself up. I wipe the tears off my face and gather the strength to stand up. One step at a time, while my heart is pounding. Another day, I tell myself, one day at a time. I can do this. I did it yesterday, and the day before, and so on. What is one more day? I guess I will find out.

Lonely Halls

My school day begins the second I walk through the double doors. I shove my way past other kids to my locker. The 7th grade hallways are chaotic and very cliquey. Different groups of people separated in their circles, and have personal conversations within their groups. I make my way through the 7th grade halls encountering each cluster as I make my way. First there are the boys of my old friend group, some of whom I still like, for now at least. They each take their turn staring at me, and making their comments as I swerve by them with my head down. There are some other people here and there, but then come the girls I spend most of my days worrying about. I hear them whisper and giggle as I walk by, and I try to block them out. I hear one of them shout my name as she talks with the others and laugh. She is the one who I miss most; she was my best friend since I was two, until now. In my eyes, it is better to be the leader and dance to the beat of your own drum, but she is a follower. I despise the person she has become, but I know that it is her loss. Every time I hear her say my name it stings, but I do not let her see that.

I meet up with my friends and they ask what “they” have done so far. My friends refer to the people who bully me as “they,” mostly because they know a little piece of me miss the people who have hurt me, so it is upsetting to hear their names. I tell them, a few glares and some whispers. Nothing crazy yet. One responds, “That’s good,” and the other says, “At least no one has tried to trip you yet.” I laugh not because it is funny, but mostly because it is so sad that it is almost comical. That should not be an accomplishment, but welcome to my world. My world of whispers, stares, and ruthless people. The bell rings, and a sigh of relief rushes through my tense body. I don't really have many negative people in my first class, so it is a bit comforting to know I can try to have a quiet start to my academic day. All of this will end soon when I head to lunch, because that is when the bitter part of my day really begins. Until then I just think about all the possible things that could happen. At this point it really could be anything, since it is clear that people are capable of more than I imagined, particularly because I have known these people for years or at least I thought I did. It turns out that many people one encounters in their life turn out to be extremely two-faced.

Every Student, One Room

I make it through the first half of the day, but now it is time for lunch. This is the hardest part of my day. My whole grade in one room, and I have nowhere to hide. My few friends and I make our way into the cafeteria and I immediately lose my appetite. Since the bullying started with me, our group has split up. People started losing trust for each other, seeing people’s true colors, and taking sides in my situation. I used to sit next to my old best friend, but now I cannot stand looking at her. I have lost all respect for her, and she knows it. Right now she does not care because she is gaining popularity for dropping me, but I know she will regret it soon. I know the separation of my old group is not my fault, but sometimes it sure seems like it.

I sit with my closest friends now. They just make me happier, and that is not an easy thing at this point. I struggle a lot at lunch. I get nervous to get up to throw my trash out, because I will be exposed and out for everyone to see. Something like this seems ridiculous to most, but to me it is a very big deal. I try to keep myself invisible, because that way no one can harm me. I also do not eat much, because of the stress. It is hard to be hungry when your stomach is aching from nerves, not hunger. People shout my name across the cafeteria, so they can upset me. Deep down inside I know that they all just want the attention, since clearly it has become a trend to be against me.

I feel protected by my friends, but there is only so much they can do. It is not their job to worry about me, although this is what they do most of the time. I trust my close friends, especially because I know they are loyal. They are sticking with me through a time when it would be so much easier for them to leave me like everyone else did. They have lost friendships too, just to stand by me. I guess that proves that good can come out of the bad. I have found my real, true friends who love and support me. This is a perfect example of looking on the bright side. Sometimes I just have to remind myself of that.

A Positive Place

After the madness at lunch, I normally go to the guidance office. I like it there because it is such a positive place. There are inspirational posters on the wall, comfy furniture, plants, and overall it is just a happy place. It gives me a nice, warm pleasant feeling after feeling so gloomy all day. I go sit in the waiting room and read the posters and pictures on the walls. I always sit in the same chair, and I sit in that chair very often. I like the chair because no matter what angle you are looking through the doorway, you cannot see the chair. This way, none of my peers can see me and I feel safer there. Except at this point, everyone knows I basically live at the guidance office. They think it is funny, but what they do not know are the things I say about them in this safe space. I bet if they knew, they would not think it is as funny.

When I speak with the school counselor, she helps me a lot. She asks me how my day has been. I tell her it was not as bad, but it could be better. She tells me that it is improvement that I have a better attitude. She asks if I can make it through my next classes or if I want her to call my mom to pick me up. I do not want to seem weak, so I say I can push through and I go to my last classes of the day. This is not the case every day. I finish my school day and I rush to the bus. I always rush to the bus at the end of the day, so I can finally relax. When the bus pulls out of school and heads home a sigh of relief rushes through me. I make my way home and I feel secure again, back in my favorite, protected place.

By: Jordyn