A while back, Toombow Kids was contacted by a 15- year-old American girl named Lindsay. This teenager wanted to share with readers her experiences as she was bullied for over a year. With a heavy heart, she courageously told us her story and hopes that this will help other victims find their voices…
At the beginning of the school year, in September 2021 in Florida in the U.S., Lindsay’s problems began in junior high school. She signed up for a few clubs, but she decided not to join any of them. With a shy and reserved personality, reaching out to others takes a lot of courage, especially since her best friend left.
“Over the vacation, Gretchen and her parents moved away. In junior high, she was my only friend. We’ve known each other since we were young, we’ve always done everything together, so it was a shock! Plus she moved to Oregon, which is on the other side of the country! I missed her a lot… So , I wasn’t interested in cheerleading, debate clubs and the rest.”
This young lady’s favorite hobby is reading. During breaks, she made it a habit to always carry a book in her backpack, and go to read on a bench out in the yard. Unfortunately, sometimes teenagers are not kind, and this schoolgirl has experienced this. A group of girls on the cheerleading squad started making joking remarks to her. However, gradually, their comments became more and more mean-spirited and turned into harassment.
“At first, they said I was “smart,” they asked me questions and were impressed when I gave them the answer. Then they would ask me how could boys notice me if I spent all my time reading alone in the yard. Then they continued to say cruel things often: they said that since I didn’t work out, I was fat as a pig and that I would never get a boyfriend, etc. I was sick of it!”
Nevertheless, the biggest blow she received was surely on February 14, 2022, Valentine’s Day. A Monday she will remember for the rest of her life. On that day, while getting stuff from her locker, Chuck came to talk to her. He’s a popular boy she’d always had a crush on. Although they had gone to school together for most of their lives, she had hardly ever spoken to him before. She thought that he was the kind of guy who was unattainable, a young American soccer player who was very handsome, and liked partying with the girls on the cheerleading squad. To her surprise, he invited her on a date at night to go to an outdoor movie theater to see a romantic movie together.
“I couldn’t believe it, Chuck had asked me on a date! He was the hottest boy in school, it was crazy! As soon as I got home, I told my family the news. They were so happy for me! My mom and sister helped me get dressed up and did my hair. I even put on a pretty red dress and a necklace, and lipstick… I wore high heels for the occasion that I got on my birthday. I had never worn them before because they hurt my feet . I thought I was as beautiful as Cinderella ! I thought this was going to be the most magical Valentine’s Day of my life!”
However, Lindsay’s excitement quickly turned into a nightmare. When she arrived in front of the movie theater, she was greeted by the popular group of girls at school who taunted her and said that Chuck had set a trap for her and was not coming…
“I felt so stupid. They laughed and said they didn’t understand how a dud like me thought she could really go on a date with a Prince Charming like Chuck. I cried a lot. For the whole year after that, people at school made fun of me because of that story.”
In September 2022, Lindsay entered high school. She received counseling, and shared a lot with her best friend Gretchen who supported her during this difficult time. So, she started 2023 with an optimistic mindset.
“I have great new girlfriends. I love them! But sometimes I look back and I’m afraid that my life will go back to the way it was and I’ll be all alone again… And the closer we get to Valentine’s Day, the bad memories come back…”
This comment shows that Lindsay is still upset about that terrible day. Harassment leaves traces and affects the self-confidence. It will take time for her to fully recover from this traumatic experience, but the support of her family and her friends from high school who are very present for her is very positive and should help her a lot. Toombow Kids wishes Lindsay the best of luck in the future and hopes that her story will help other children who have been in the same situation as her to find the courage to talk about it. Tombow Kids hopes Lindsay falls in love one day and wishes a happy Valentine’s Day to all students in love!