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When they go low, we go high: Bullying in schools of those who may not behave as per ‘their’ set standards

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“If one feels the need to hurt other people in order to feel powerful, then they are an extremely weak individual.”

It happens everywhere. We see it happen everywhere, but we decide to keep mum. It happens in schools, colleges, social or market places and so on. The impetus behind keeping shut is that a part of you is itself alarmed that you might be their next target if you try to intervene or you yourself cannot figure out if the person in front of you is being bullied or not.

Now, what is bullying? Is it shoving a nerd with oily hair into the wall of the corridor, or is it passing on colored remarks or innuendos on a girl passing by or is it to coerce someone to do something to just have fun at the expense of others, or to intimidate someone to feel powerful, or to play with the mental psyche of a person? Bullying encompasses all of this.

I say this as a teenager who has faced bullying, been traumatized by it and have overcome it. It took me some time to gather the courage to write about this topic which is deeply personal to me. Bullying is something that is faced by many of us but getting out of the trauma or the repercussions it has on our mental, emotional, physical being is few and far between. I always have been a versatile student, excelling at whatever I do. Be it dancing, arts, speaking, acting or my academics, I have excelled and as per my opinion that was something that irked many students. Just being me was my mistake!

It was a usual day when I walked out of my school, shortly after which I found a gang of students following me and calling names. It was the last day at school when we all were to give speeches and as I was giving my speech a condescending remark was passed for me in between in front of the whole class, I always tried to utilize my free time at school in studying, so I was called a geek who does not have common sense. I was in the sixth grade when I was doing my aerial dance on the stage and someone passed a remark in the crowd, “I hope she falls down.”

I felt that the problem was in me because maybe I am a socially inept person who can’t talk to people in class or social gatherings. I can still hear those whispers and giggles of groups of students talking about me. I had come to a stage that even if somebody was having a normal conversation with me, I felt that they were trying to tease me or if somebody was talking to another person, I felt as if they were talking about me. We all have been stereotyped at some point by others. They would want us to believe that we are too loud, too shy, too bossy, too fat, too thin, too skinny, she is too dark, he does not have a good jawline, she does not have good collar bones, you look what clothes he/she was wearing, nerd, geek, he/she does not even know how to speak English. Nothing is ever enough. To all those voices, I have learnt to smile and ignore and learnt to look at myself and give myself a sweet little compliment.

We cannot stop bullying, but what we can do is rediscover ourselves. We can ourselves find attributes that define us, positive, negative, good or bad, doesn’t matter. It took me time initially, but I was able to overcome everything and stand tall. I accepted and embraced the aspects that defined me and every time someone tries to tell me who I am I clung on to them. When I have discovered who I am then it does not matter what others think about me.

I may not be perfect but am pretty happy with who I am, and I believe so can you!

Bhavya Gupta

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