Former Springs School Student Writes Story about Bullying for School Newspaper

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A Springs School alumnus and current East Hampton High School student, Jenna Scalia, has had a story about bullying published in the high school's newspaper,  Beachcomber News. Her story has inspired many students school-wide to stay strong in the face of bullies. Here is her story:

Bullying

By Jenna Scalia

            Bullying. When you think about it, what comes to mind first? Bullying is one of the number one school conflicts all around the world. You may think of kids getting beaten up or being made fun of. You may think of kids fighting with their emotions to be able to get through a day. However, when you don’t live it yourself, you never really know what it’s like. I, myself, was bullied from Kindergarten all the way up to the sixth grade. Being bullied is a lot more than getting beat up or being called names. Everyday was like waking up to go to war. The school halls were a battle ground. The bathrooms were like our base camps- places to remain there until we had the strength and courage to go back “out there” again. During recess, we rehearsed running away and blending in with the walls. Our bullies were like ticking time bombs: you never knew when they were going to set off. And we were afraid to tell our parents, as if it would only make it worse. Hiding behind locker doors and becoming best friends with the floors was the routine.

            But then something changed.

Instead of their fists, the bullies adapted to the change of the world and not only made your life a living hell at school, they diffused into the cyberspace. Using their database of cruel words and thoughts, they shared their abuses with the world. They turned your friends against you. The friends who had your back were now stabbing it. To them you were a conversation piece between people who couldn’t understand. There’s only so much a person can take before they finally start to break.

            They told us…. No one would ever fall in love with us. They told us that fear was our only resolve. In movies, we cheered on the underdog because we saw the people we wished we could be. In books, we pretended that their lives were ours to escape the reality we wish we could. In songs, we brought our true selves to the surface, only allowing it free for a little bit before we would have to hide it once again. In art, we let our emotions surge through our fingers while others marvelled at the beauty, they didn’t see the reflecting horrors it meant to show. In sports, we let the others win, not letting ourselves stand out as if we deserved the attention.

 We could, we said. But we were afraid. As if standing up would make us fall even harder the next time it happened. We grafted words such as “I’m fine,” “It’s okay” and “It doesn’t bother me” into the scars they gave. We pushed away the hands that tried to lift us up. We broke the mirrors that tried to help us see that we were not what we were told. We turned off the lights that lit the ways out of our misery. We didn’t want the help. Help was for the weak.

Then one day….We saw the light.

            As if our crystal tears were removed from our eyes, we began to see the truth about us. The truth about them. It didn’t matter what they said. None of it did. We were no longer the faded echoes of voices saying “names will never hurt me.” Of course they did. But we learned to realize that who we were didn’t match up to them. We were living the only life that we get and we let them believe that they could control it. We let our spirits rise in triumph. We let our voices be heard. The war was over. We stood our ground even though they still wanted to bury us beneath it. They were wrong. They have to be wrong. We lost too many casualties in the fight. Their souls still linger, wondering if death was truly the only way out.

We soon gave pity to them, believing that they themselves had demons. Demons that made them lash out with tongues like knives and fists like wrecking balls. As if we were the reflections of who they wished they could be.

We know now that if people don’t like who we are, that it’s no excuse to stop being who we are. We are one in a million. Each and every one of us impacts each other in ways we cannot imagine. We are different…..

And that’s a beautiful thing.