Growing up in prep school, I was the tallest student in class. That means I was taller than all girls as well as guys. I can sense that one of the reasons why people do not approach me to be friends with was because of my height.
Perhaps, it intimidated them? That is a bit odd, because as far as I know, I was far from being intimidating. I was a quiet and shy kid, but once you get to know me, I would talk a lot.
Fast forward to the lowest points in my life, my grade school years (especially Grades 4–6). I was still taller compared to most of my batchmates, and I added some chub as well.
I guess my appearance began to attract bullies as early as 1st Grade, when one of the girls wrote on one of the bathroom stalls, 「Sara Tan pig, she lives in Grade 1-C.」 At first, I let it slide, but as the years went by, puberty hit me out of nowhere. As the weight in the scale began to increase, the bullying got worse.
Having bad acne and awfully fizzy hair with the weight gain did not help the situation. I became a target of bullying for the guys, calling me names like 「Ogre」 or 「Ugly」 or 「Eeww」. Sometimes, people approach or talk to me as a bet from their friends.
At that point, I began to have the skewed perspective that people just approach me because they want to make fun of me, or ridicule me. I barely talked, and would spend most of the time on my desk, drawing the pain away. If ever someone did approach me, though, I tend to interact with them with hostility.
Oddly enough, despite all that harshness I faced that time, I had this sliver of hope in me, hope that one day, this storm will pass, and I will have a better life in high school. Thankfully, things did get better in high school. There were still occasional instances of bullying, but it was not as severe as that in grade school. It was during this time that I began to make friends that up to now, I still keep in touch with. My hair was still a big fizz back then but it definitely tamed down compared to before.
I believe that whatever I experienced in the past taught me to become resilient in rough times and hope for a better future. Sure, I could have fought back, but given my low self-confidence, shattered self-esteem and how much I hate myself because I did not fit in with the crowd, I simply cried whenever I was alone and distract myself with drawing.
Currently, I am in college. A couple of years ago, I started changing my eating habits and began implementing workout sessions 4–6 times a week. At first, I was reluctant by these changes, but knowing how much I wanted to lose weight so badly, I did it for myself. Before long, I started to love healthy eating and working out. It didn’t take long for me to lost the chub, and my acne became clearer (still have a long way to go) and I gained a whole lot of self-confidence and self-love.
Thinking back now, how I used to be the lone, hostile and aggressive person, I now become a more social, joyous and approachable person. Who knew that in a span of a few years, there can be a 180-degree change in personality and perspective?
I think that if it were not for the bullies who constantly taunt me for my appearance, my family who is concerned with my weight, and my own determination to lose that weight so that I won’t be a victim of bullying again, I wouldn’t have changed even for a bit. I am proud to say that whatever changes I did to myself, it made me healthier, happier and hopeful for a better future.
norway – 菅野よう子
amenohi – 松田光由
prep school: n 預備學校
approach: v 接近
intimidate: v 恐嚇；威脅
odd: adj 奇怪的
batchmate: n 同年級同學
bully: n 仗勢欺人者；惡霸學生
ogre: n （傳說中的）食人惡魔
skewed: adj 有失偏頗的；不準確的
hostility: n 敵意
sliver: n （切下或碎裂的）小塊薄片
tame: v 馴化；馴服
resilient: adj 有適應力的；可迅速恢復的
shattered: adj 遭受極大打擊的；極度驚愕難過的
reluctant: adj 不情願的
acne: n 痤瘡；粉刺
joyous: adj 高興的；快樂的
taunt: v 嘲笑；諷刺；奚落
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