Posted on February 24, 2014
Here’s something from my life that I haven’t talked about yet. Now, I know everyone has been bullied at least once in their life. Everyone has a part of bullying, whether it be the bully, the bystander, and the victim. Bullying in general is wrong, but bullying someone because they have an illness it terrible.
When I was in third grade someone told me to “get away from me you germ.” referring to my incessant coughing. That was nothing, in fact, it didn’t even phase me. When I was in fifth grade, this kid asked me why I was coughing and I responded “I have a lung disease.” and then he called me “diseaser.” That name stuck for a couple of months. Those things were pretty small and irrelevant, but as many of you know, the older you get, the meaner the bullies get.
When I was in sixth grade I switched schools and I was the “new kid.” It wasn’t that bad. Most of the people there were pretty nice to me. I even made a few friends on my first day of school. Sixth grade was also the year that I went into the hospital more than once in a year. I started hanging out with this group of girls who were the “popular girls” and I was sitting at lunch with them one day and I decided that I didn’t like the way they were talking about people. I then started hanging out with a nicer group of girls. After hanging out with them for a while I saw the popular girls getting asked out by boys all the time, and I wanted that, so I made the dumb decision to try and hang out with them again. Worse thing I ever could have done. Eventually they dropped me from the group because they knew (and I knew) that I did not fit in with their group. That’s when everything went downhill.
People would bully me for being sick all the time, and would never sit next to me. A rumor went around that I had syphilis, and if they got near me they would catch my cough. That makes no sense at all, but whatever. People called my typhoid, sick-y, bubble girl, germ, infestation, loser, annoying, ugly, poor, anorexic, and a plethora of names involving curse words.
In seventh grade, not everyone hated me, but I didn’t really have any friends. I still had people who were really nice to me and stuff, but they weren’t really friends, just acquaintances. Somewhere in the middle of that year, I got back from a trip (either to the hospital or Europe, I don’t remember), and everyone hated me. Everyone bullied me. They all called me names, yelled out that no one likes me, told me to kill myself, told everyone I stuffed my bra, got guys to ask me out and then say “sike!” and excluded me and basically did everything they could think of to humiliate me.
At one point there was a popularity list going around my grade. There were 72 kids in the class, and I was number 74. Another incidence was when this girl drew a picture of another classmate with really exaggerated flaws and a mean message and put it in that girls cubby. When the picture was found they blamed it on me. Even the girl who got the note said she knew it wasn’t me, but the teachers blamed me. Did I mention my bullying wasn’t only from students? We wore uniforms, and people would wear bright colored socks and knee high socks with colors all over. One day, I wore light pink socks and got written up because it was against the dress code stating white ankle socks only. One girl’s phone was missing so they blamed me, even though they found the phone in someone else’s backpack!! They said I has planted it there, like I have nothing better to do with my life.
Someone set up an internet page called “Wa hate Elizabeth!” and the description of the website was “we all hate her, so this is basically a place where we can talk s**t on her.” A girl once invited me to the movies and when I got there I called to ask where she was and she said “did you really expect me to go to the movies with you? wow.”
Idiotically, I later became friends with that exact same girl. In the midst of finally having a friend, I was basically her loyal follower, and did whatever she wanted me to do. That led to me getting in trouble a lot, and my parents banning me from hanging out with her. We still hung out in secret for a while until she got pregnant. I was with her when she took the test, and she told one of her friends about it. Her friend told everyone and told that girl that I blabbed. She wouldn’t believe me though. Once that happened she completely dropped me and became my main bully.
Of course I wasn’t the only one being bullied. There were two other kids being bullied. One girl with a sever case of bipolar disorder, and another boy who everyone thought was gay. One day, a speaker came in and talked to the class about bipolar disorder, saying it was an illness. She compared it to cancer, asking if they wouldn’t bully a cancer patient, why bully a bipolar patient? So she wasn’t really bullied much after that. Then the boy who was bullied ended up getting cancer. Every single person went to the hospital to visit him (including me) and apologize. I was over here thinking to myself “I have been in the hospital 10 times for my past three years here, and only two people came to visit me from school through it all.” He even gave a speech at graduation talking about how hard it is to be sick and how he “knows that none of you know what it’s like to know that you could die very soon.” Yes I do!!! Everyone was crying and gave him a standing ovation. I got no recognition for my fight. Cancer can go away, but CF, for the moment, never will. And in fact, his cancer did go away, and he’s fine now. But look at me…
Anyways, what I am trying to say is I was so severely bullied I even considered suicide for a while. Luckily, I never was serious about it. Once I got to high school everything changed and I made friends very fast. It was so different, and there were so many different types of people and if you mess up with one group you move on to the next. The word didn’t travel as fast in this hugely populated school. I also wouldn’t have gotten to meet the great people who are now in my life and do the great things I have done if I had killed myself.
I guess my point is, everyone gets bullied. And it also kind of ties into the whole CF not being a known of cared about disease thing. No one really understood that Cystic Fibrosis is very serious and deadly, and that I am suffering everyday. But with cancer, everyone knows what it is and everyone knows how deadly it is and how much pain you have. Also, since I go in the hospital so often it makes it seem less and less urgent and more and more normal. Trying to get awareness for this god awful disease can help situations like this in the future.
****I AM NOT BASHING CANCER OR BELITTLING THE STRUGGLE OF PATIENTS WITH CANCER!!****