(All Photos: Josh Reeder)
“I Survived Being Bullied”
A brave 15-year-old finds strength by telling her story
Adama used to eat lunch in the bathroom to escape her bullies. Today, she is happy in school.
I was not popular in sixth grade, but I had friends. In seventh grade, those friends started being mean to me. Soon I became the target of the popular girls.
Samantha* was the leader. She and her friends bullied me all the time. I was one of the few black students at my school in Kentucky. Samantha and her friends would call me names and tell me to “go back to Africa.”
The insults made me feel terrible. But being left out was even worse. I would lock myself in a stall in the bathroom and cry my eyes out. Sometimes, I even ate my lunch there. It was the only place I felt safe.
When eighth grade started, I hoped things would be different. But things got worse, and I became very depressed. After a few days, I went to the school counselor. I told him that I wanted to kill myself. He called my parents.
Telling an adult was the first step to changing my life. My parents helped me come up with a solution that worked for me. I transferred to another middle school. I didn’t have many friends there, but no one bullied me. I felt safe.
At the end of the school year, the chorus at my old school had a concert. I went with my mom. Afterward, I went backstage to see a friend. There, I saw Samantha and her friends.
I thought we could put the past behind us. I walked up to them and started to talk, but Samantha stopped me. “Shut up, Adama,” she said. “No one here likes you. Go back to your other school.”
She called me every name under the sun. Her friends all laughed. I stood there with tears in my eyes. Finally, I left with my mom.
MY BULLY STORY
Later that year, I had an idea. I wanted to tell someone my story. I wanted to give other bullied teens a place to tell their stories too. I decided to build a Web site.
During ninth grade, I called every Web-site-building company I could find. They all wanted way too much money. Finally, I found a good deal. I used $1,000 of my own money. I had saved that money from years of babysitting, allowance, and birthdays.
When I started high school last year, everything got better. Today, I never sit alone at lunch. I hardly ever even walk down the halls alone. I get tons of texts on my phone. People know me and like me.
I finally launched my Web site last spring. It’s at www.yourbullystory.com. A boy who posted his story wrote to me. He said that he felt better after sharing his story.
I hope thousands of kids, teens, and even adults post their stories too. Sharing my story made me realize I’m tougher than I thought I was. I am proud that I survived being bullied.
*This name has been changed.