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  • MUD

I Used to Be the Bully

by Lily Gimmet

I used to be a bully when I was in middle school. 

It's hard to say when it started, but by the end of seventh grade, I had no friends. People only stuck by my side because they were afraid I'd bully them, too. I'm not trying to find an excuse. 

To be honest, I was never really social. I tried so hard to make friends during elementary school, but I always ended up driving people away. If I was myself, people never stuck long enough to get to know me. 

I was called boring so many times that it messed with my mind. 

I was so self-conscious about the way people saw me. I was frustrated that I couldn't control their perception of me. So, erroneously, I became the bully. I thought that if people were afraid of me, they would never speak behind my back. If people were intimidated, they would never leave. If I called them names and made fun of them, then they wouldn't do it to me. 

I'm not going to lie. When I first became the bully, it seemed like I had found the perfect solution. I never heard others speak of me, at least when I was there. They were so scared of being taunted or bullied by me that they started being nice. Some classmates gave me their food for lunch and others invited me to their birthday parties even when had never spoken before. In my mind, I was popular, and people finally stayed. 

That was a one-sided truth.  

I wasn't the stereotypical bully that you see in the movies. Instead, I became isolated in a public place with large crowds of people. I was never shunned or given the cold shoulder, but the "friendships" I made were rooted in fear and intimidation. 

Nothing was real. 

Summer after middle school was eye-opening. Not a single one of my supposed friends reached out to hang out before we all went our separate ways. We were all going to different high schools and I dreaded being the small fish with no friends in a new ocean. 

As a true believer of karma, I wasn't surprised when I got myself a bully freshman year. Her name was Helen, and she was taller, meaner, and more resentful that I ever was. She called me names, glared at me from across the hallway, and spread lies about me. 

She made most of that year hell for me.