9 Ways Being Bullied As A Kid Made Me The AWESOME Woman I Am Today

Photo: WeHeartIt
bullied girl

Online harassment isn't anything new. It's just the latest wave of bullying catching up to speed with our technology.

Since I'm a woman and a feminist and I write about my sex life online, I am more than a little well-versed in what it feels like to be on the receiving end of cyber harassment. 

Thankfully over time I've learned to cultivate my inner Anthony Hopkins. That is to say, when I get an email that says something like "u ugly bitch", I hear a crisp English accent reply in my head saying merely "Thank you for your contribution, moving on."


This didn't happen overnight. I've been teased and bullied most of my life. 

I don't say it to illicit pity, in many respects, I was asking for it. You don't wear an X-Files t-shirt to the school dance and NOT expect repercussions of some sort.

(Let's be honest, me and my too-tight ponytail were ahead of our time) 

I don't think bullying (online or otherwise) is ever right. But I do think we can learn and grow from the experience. I know I did. 

1. I learned to trust my gut.

At 33, I'm a quick and accurate judge of people, places, and situations. I was so hesitant as a kid because I was worried of displeasing people. Now, I have no issue at all walking into a bar, clocking it, and being all "Stokes out."  

2. I got very good at colorful insults.

When people spend a good chunk of their day tossing mean but uncreative insults your way, you spend a lot of time coming up with your own witty retorts that will forever go unused. I'm still pissed I never told Marianna Marks in college that she looked, sounded, and smelled like a warm, greasy, pregnant olive. 


3. It made me kinder. 

We all have moments where the temptation to be petty overwhelms us. Someone hurts our feelings, of course we want to lash out, we're human. Now, I stop and check that impulse. I try to think about how my behavior is going to impact other people. I don't always succeed (as my ex Dom can tell you) but damned if I don't try. 

4. It made better at choosing my friends. 

Because for years I was like an overeager puppy who just wanted to be loved, I now make it my business to be utterly ruthless when it comes to my friends. If you aren't ride or die, then it is bye bye bye. THAT RHYMED. I AM NOW YOURTANGO'S OFFICIAL POET LAUREATE UNTIL SOMEONE TELLS ME THAT IS NOT A THING. 


5. It made me focus on what matters.

In 8th grade my group of friends decided, without explanation, not to speak to me anymore. I was gutted. I was lonely and sad. I was also bored. So I started writing and writing. And writing some more. And now I get paid to write. Storytelling has always been central to my life and bullying helped me see that. 

6. It brought me closer to my family

I didn't rebel the way most teens do. I mean, sure I blew my curfew and was a riotous bitch to my parents, but I also turned to them constantly. The same with my siblings. They were my truest friends, and I could (and still can) turn to them for anything. 

7. It made me so strong.

If you had told 12-year-old me that bullying was going to make it easy for 33-year-old me to get called every name under the sun by internet commenters with nothing better to do, I wouldn't have believed you. But I would've been right. 


8. It taught me that strength isn't everything.

As good as it is to feel so strong, it's also okay to let things effect you. Part of what makes me empathetic and patient and kind in instances where I should blow my top is that I've been there, a sniveling ball of snot on the ground. And I'll be there again. It's okay to mess up, it's okay to feel small. 

9. It made me learn to ask for help when I needed it.

If I had never told anyone about being bullied I would have felt so alone. I knew no one could stop it, but talking about it, sharing it (even now!) reminds me of the most important thing to living a successful human experience: We are all connected, and none of us are alone.