The challenges we live through everyday are what make us who we are. This is a saying that probably every single one of us has heard, and most of us believe; I happen to be one of those believers.
When we look at the statement, many of us feel inspired and even motivated by it, but what if someone lives a challenge and it destroys them, what if they get knocked down so hard and they couldn’t get up again? We are challenged differently and a challenge that makes you grow may make another person wither.
Today, I want to talk about bullying, how physical or verbal abuse can really affect someone's life and the negative consequences of enduring it.
I was usually an outsider in school, going to more than one school and being the new kid wasn’t easy but I always tried to make the best of it. Being teased and made fun of was a part of my normal days and I guess I didn’t let it bother me in front of others. Deep down I was hurting but on the outside I was alright.
But not all bullying is the same, and even after normalizing multiple forms of it, I wasn’t prepared for all of it.
It reached a point where I was actually shoved around and buried under snow, because a ‘boy’ liked me and isn’t that how we communicate love these days? According to the boys in my class the more you liked the girl the more you bullied her so I was bullied a lot! I could be flattered, for the amount of love they must’ve had for me was unparalleled, but I am not, for there’s nothing flattering about abuse.
At the time, to deal with this I joined them and started throwing back jokes and making fun of others. There was one boy in particular, who was shorter than me who was my target.
Honestly though, teasing others didn’t make me feel any better and it didn’t make it go away. How was making someone feel bad helping? So after a while I stopped.
Then I moved on to Plan B; becoming friends with most of the boys in class to get through and feel normal. Now being bullied by girls was a whole other story, at the time it was by spreading rumors (inappropriate rumors) and saying the most hurtful things. We were only in the fourth grade!
Moving to Jordan was going to be my fresh start. I had learned to act naive and pretend I didn’t care, that way the bully would get bored and just leave me alone.
At first, it was all going well I was the new girl from Canada and everyone wanted to be my friend. At the time I was having a hard time with my studies since it was all in Arabic so I figured the best next move was to go to the smartest girl in class to ask for support, but I was flat out rejected.
I didn't let it bother me and pursued refuge elsewhere. I can understand how she may not have had time to help others but what I didn’t understand is why that same girl would start singing with her friend "Ala is stupid, Ala is stupid" with me right by her side?
What did I ever do to her?
At that moment I decided to become the first on the class so I would represent that title in the right way and help who ever needed me.
Years of hard work later, I actually became the first on the class and although that girl was no longer in my school I was still proud of myself.
I guess in the end it was those challenges that made me who I am today, persistent, hardworking and independent caring of others approval. Fortunately, I was able to take this challenge in the best way, but this isn’t how bullying will turn out for everyone.
I still look back at those days and still to this day feel the pain it has caused me. Bullying has had a huge impact on my life, both in good and horrible ways.
No matter why you are bullying you are hurting someone. Please think before you tease or abuse anyone in even the smallest of ways. Spread the message to all children and young adults in school, bullying is a serious problem and affects so many lives. Spread the message to the adults in your life that might take it lightly. It’s a big deal! And everyday more and more people are bullied and we as a society lose out on safe spaces everywhere.
The challenges we live through everyday are what make us who we are, this doesn’t always mean it’s for the best.
Ala Abojaradeh is a second year medical student and an active member in the International Federation Medical Students Association. She hopes to one day be a doctor that truly represents humanity, treating people as humans before they are patients