Yes, I was bullied as a child. And no, it was RARELY my peers. Why? Because I was bigger than most of my peers, and children are rarely willing to bully someone bigger than they are.
Every teacher I had – not just Phys. Ed teachers – contributed to the bullying. I couldn’t be anything other than a “brain” – because I was the fat kid. And if I tried to be more than just a “brain,” I was shamed for it.
Every doctor I had contributed to the bullying, well into my adulthood.
Even my family contributed to the bullying, sadly thinking they were being “encouraging” and “supportive” while doing it. My parents, my grandmother, my siblings – every one has made comments about my weight, intending to be supportive, but not actually doing so.
NOW, my peers, and even some of those who should consider me their “elder” continue the bullying behaviors.
Why? Because if your body isn’t perfect, you somehow “obviously” don’t love yourself. If you aren’t “socially acceptable” you must be mentally deficient or morally defective because otherwise you wouldn’t be that way.
It doesn’t matter if your body doesn’t work the way that anyone else’s body does. It doesn’t matter that perhaps your hormones are completely fucked up. It doesn’t matter that perhaps some part of your body isn’t functioning at all or isn’t functioning in any kind of efficient fashion, or even worse, is developing some form of cancer.
Random adult strangers have considered it their right to comment on my body and lifestyle for my entire life. Not just teachers, not just doctors, not just others in supposed authority over me. Random people on the street, driving past me, walking past me in the mall, passing me in the grocery store. Any wonder how after decades of random bullying I might have a chip on my shoulder? Or why I might be a rabid activist for body positivity?
I may not make a scene in a particular place or time, if I don’t feel particularly safe enough to deal with it by confronting the behavior. I am a woman, and there are places I need to be able to balance the ability to be willing and able to protect myself and the ability to confront some asshole for bullying myself or someone else for being “different.”
But, I’m NOT standing for it anymore. I’m not willing to not speak up, even if I have to wait for a safe space to speak up about it.