Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"

Yes, they do. I was verbally bullied when I was in middle school, and into high school. Every thing about me was picked on. Starting from my brothers, they would make fun of what I wear and come up with a nickname to embarrass me. They would make up stories about my personal hygiene, they would make fun of my teeth. They would say I look like a duck, and call me "the ugly duckling". My brothers had no remorse when it came to picking on me, because I was the awkward middle child, so I was the punching bag.

I remember all of these situations so vividly. I remember I was in elementary school, and I wore a very red outfit to school. My brothers would call me "firetruck" in a joking way, but it would escalate into a "I'm going to embarrass you and make you feel like shit" kind of way. That nickname got to the school, so the kids at school started calling me that. They never forgot about it, I was maliciously called "firetruck" for a very long time. They wouldn't just call me firetruck, it would be "heeeeyyy it's firetruck! hey firetruck firetruck firetruck!" in front of many people. That's one instance of feeling beat down verbally by your peers....and my own damn brothers.

In 9th grade I got jumped by ten 8th graders, and they beat me down, kicked me in the neck, punched me in the face, ripped my shirt off, and tossed my bike into a dumpster. I was the victim, and then I go to school and the big rumor is "Dustin got his ass kicked by a bunch of 8th graders, what a pussy, he's in 9th grade and should have handled that himself". I did nothing about it. I called the cops on the kids who jumped me, listened to my peers make fun of me, kept my mouth shut and waited for the school bell to ring.

In middle school I was made fun of because my teeth aren't the prettiest. I have a chipped tooth and my teeth are yellow. I brush my teeth. Peers pointed out my ugly teeth so much, that it's nearly impossible to find a picture of me today where you can actually see my teeth. In high school,  my brothers started a rumor that I didn't shower at home, so every single day I went to school someone new came up to me, not to talk to me, they just stood next to me and they say "so your brother WAS right, you really don't shower, you smell". To this day, my older brother still calls me "smelly" like it's some kind of funny nickname to him. I endured 4 years of high school, kept my mouth shut all day, and still got picked on for things that weren't even true.

I anxiously waited for the school bell to ring, so I can go home and lock myself in my room and play video games. My room was the only safe place I ever had, because it was only me. No one to call me a firetruck, an ugly duckling, tell me I smell like shit or say I have an ugly smile. I am so self-conscious about the way I look because of the people that were in my life in such an important part of life. I was growing up. I wasn't accepted for who I was. When I got jumped by the 8th graders, my best friend stood there and watched me get beat down. He did nothing. I have such a hard time believing I'm a good looking guy, because when I look in the mirror I see the same boy that is self-conscious, and has hardly any self-esteem.

Too many people have told me "you're too sensitive". They're right, I am too sensitive. When you get picked on by your brothers and your peers, you have nowhere to go. I've been embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed of myself for looking the way I look. I care too much about the people I love because I know they love me, and accept me. I consider myself the most sensitive man in the world. I can cry on the drop of a dime over something that I shouldn't even be crying about, and I can't help it. I get nervous very easily, that I won't be accepted, or liked, by people because of the way I look. 

I am always unsure of myself, and feel like I deserve less than what I have. But I'm trying to break out of this "being sensitive" thing and work on taking things as they come, instead of having a meltdown over it. It's hard. Believe me, I know what my problem is, and I'm trying my best to make it better.

As for the italicized line up top. Words do hurt. They have a lasting impact on people, and bullying is plain wrong. You're changing someones life for the worse by name-calling and harassing. I never went to school to endure so much shit from my own peers. I just wanted to learn something, and have a good time. 


  1. Even though it doesn't help, I'm sorry you went through this all those years. I know it's a whole different kind of community, but reading this I am proud to "know" you, even if just a bit, and how strong you are, even if you don't feel it sometimes.

    You're in a place where you can help create change if you want to, to help other kids who are going through similar things, and have got an awesome community around you. I'm betting that there are more people than you would imagine who have stories of their own to share and would join in the journey.

    Thanks for sharing, DeeJay.

  2. It breaks my heart to know that you went through all of this. But after all of that, you turned out to be a wonderful man. A man I knew I could trust without thinking twice and a man I fell in love with so easily I couldn't have stopped it even if I wanted to. To me, you're the most handsome guy I've ever laid eyes on and your smile lights up my whole world. You're a kind, sweet, and caring man and I love you. So so much.