Believe it or not I’ve always been bullied in one way or another but don’t worry it was never physically.
In primary school we didn’t wear school uniform, I didn’t have much by way of clothes and school fads but my mum kept me alive, fed, watered and clothed. When it comes down to it as a mum that’s the best you can do. But unfortunately kids are mean and I was bullied for the clothes I wore or when my mum put my hair in ethnic styles like wrapping my hair in thread leaving me looking like I had a spider web on my head. My most common style was when I had extensions in my hair for so long at a time my roots would show by like two inches… (Covers eyes).
It soon went on to how fat I was and often my so-called friends not wanting to play with me and getting every other playmates to refuse to play with me too. I’d like to say now I’m an adult and a mum of two that kids will be kids but no, I’d lose my marbles if my girls ever went through that and id introduce myself to the bullies parents as ‘their worst nightmare’. But all of that was nothing compared to when I got to secondary school.
I hated secondary school so bloody much, I had the odd few good days and made some good friends but overall I really hated it and it was because I was bullied and no-one could help me.
In year 7 – 8 I wasn’t very popular but I had a group of girls I used to walk with and they were lovely but the leader of the group had her moments when she was my friend and when she wasn’t and the other girls followed suit. I wouldn’t call that bullying but it was straight up mean.
Year 8 – 9 I changed circle and I was with popular (promiscuous) girls this time that did things that gained them bullies. By default their bullies became my bullies and I was easy prey. One day after my food tech class that wasn’t in the main building ‘my friend’ didn’t come to meet me but my bullies did. I hung out as long as I could until I mustered enough courage to walk out the building ask those bullies straight to their face ‘what have I done to you, why are you following me?’. There were about 6 black girls and they just laughed at me, so I started to hot step it. They followed me shouting at me “should we beat her up, lets ’f’ her up in front of everyone”. Meanwhile I’m just thinking of how bloody embarrassing it will be to get into a fight in front of the playground and whatever I do I mustn’t cry. I tried to get to the main building via a short cut and seek sanctuary at my tutor group classroom but the duty teacher stopped us. I tried to signal with my face that something was wrong and begged the teacher to let me through but he was more concerned with policing the back ways. I couldn’t shout out that the girls following me wanted to beat me up for no good reason because I was scared that they’d get me back for it later.
So I made my way to the main playgrounds with these girls’ just screaming awful things at me and calling me names – but of course my main concern was not to cry. I had arrived at the middle of the playground, the prime stop to get a beat down but by God’s grace a boy I knew threw his hands over me and told the girls to leave me alone, that he knew me and that he won’t let them hurt me. He walked me to my head of year’s room and left me there. I reached sanctuary! But I’d have to cross the playground again. I was scared so so scared and I felt like there was nothing I could do. I didn’t feel like I could speak to my mum or my teachers for fear it’ll make things worse. So I just suffered in silence hoping things would just work itself out. It did, because I changed my circle of friends, again. I still spoke to the other girls but I started walking with new girls in mid-year 9.
I became the leader of this group replacing the one before me and she didn’t like that at all, I’ll make this section brief. She was crazy and threatened to beat me up almost every day but because she was so loud with it she often got herself into trouble and gained the watchful attention of the teachers. I switched friendship groups again – the stress was making a mess of my nerves.
The new girls were the last girls I hanged with until I left school. I made it all the way to the popular crowd, I bunked classes, I got kicked out of class, and I arrived late and remixed my school uniform whenever I could. I left the school grounds at lunchtime because the dinner hall was lame. This means I burnt into my pocket-money when I had FREE school meals and for what? For images that’s what (shake my head).
There was this one popular girl who everyone loved including me, who loved this popular boy and everybody knew it. This girl would fight any and every one that would come near this guy, and this guy didn’t mind. Until one day this guy told me he fancied me, called me beautiful and started walking me home every day after school. It was awkward and flattering because I knew this friendship may get me into poo. It had somehow got to the popular girl, I’m going to name A that I was seeing this popular guy who I’m going to name K. I wasn’t, I was a loyal friend but she didn’t believe me and as a result people started to freeze me out.
But things took an unexpected turn when one blessed day in English class that I shared with Mr K also, my faithful friend asked me a question and asked me to tell her the truth, that no matter what she’d stick by me. I said ok and she asked me did I do a sexual act on Mr K – I looked at him in horror and he looked at my friend as in to say why did you tell her and he shook his head. I said no and burst into tears in front of everybody. I was excused and the nightmare began :). This rumour spread like wildfire and people were obviously talking about it way before I found out. I came into school the next day and I was pulled out of class to a place called ‘The Cottage’. In the cottage people went there for sensitive reasons and this occasion was no exception. I had two teachers ask me the same question my friend did the day before, I started to cry more out of embarrassment and said no. They believed me and sent for Mr K and his accomplice to be brought to the cottage to be confronted. Mr K denied it but his friend didn’t as he watched me cry. The friend said sorry and that he’d tell everyone that he lied. I said there was no point because everyone would think he was doing it to get out of trouble.
I had girls ask me not to talk to them because I was a sket – meaning promiscuous. People shouting out at me when I was walking down the corridor. Girls that hated me for no reason hated me more, everyone was just jumping on the ‘I hate Priscilla bandwagon’ and it was overwhelming. I was scared to go to class and just felt like a real victim. I didn’t want to skip class alone and I couldn’t stay at home because I didn’t want my mum to know what was happening. I was in year 10 at this point going to year 11 and so it was GCSE season. Frankly I was set to fail them all. My life felt like trash and I was most definitely depressed and felt closed in, almost as if I couldn’t breathe.
I started taking my science lesson in The Cottage to avoid people. I put myself in after school maths club to avoid walking home with the crowds; I stayed in at every single break time and lunch to hide and just did my coursework in that time. I’d come to school early for science club so I’d have some peace of mind on my way in to school. I communicated with all of my teachers better and I became an honoured student again. I had done all the above not to pass my exams and coursework, I did it all to hide, I did it because I had no friends, I did it because I needed to focus on something to stop myself from obsessing over what seemed like everybody thought I was. Little did I know that day by day my predicted grades were climbing higher and higher. It got to exam time and I couldn’t hide anymore so I just kept my head down and did what I had to do and left.
Fast-forward to results day – I achieved 6 A-C’s and a few months later was given an award for being a overachieving black person in Haringey at Alexandra Place. My mum still has my award on her mantel piece. I was accepted into my college and went on to study Law, Sociology, and Psychology. So I guess this is the part when I say thank you to all my haters/bullies but no I thank God that He who is in me is greater than those who is in the world! ~1 John 4:4.
My grades boosted my confidence and my dislike for clicks/elite groups was established. Even today as an adult I don’t have a group of friends, I have singular friends. I knew going into college I wouldn’t be a victim and would not seek for approval from others. Long and short of I didn’t take any nonsense from anyone and I went to a college where no one knew me so I could start again completely.
Looking back on it all now I don’t think anyone could tell me I should have spoken up or told my mum because honestly I wouldn’t have told my younger self that. But what I do really wish is that my teacher would have asked me if I was ok and waited long enough to hear my honest response. I sincerely believe that if a teacher or my mum bless aff self, would have asked me why I had gone into myself the way I did I would have let it all out.
Then again if they did I wouldn’t be the person I am today, sliver linings! When we ask a question about someone’s wellbeing, let’s wait for the honest answer and not settle for ‘fine’
Let’s talk again next time