The Monsters of My Childhood October 25, 2021 – Posted in: Blog

I wonder why some of our painful memories won’t fade away despite our best efforts to forget them. It does not matter how much life gives us after it takes something away. If life takes away the happy smiles and sparkling eyes of your old younger self, no matter how strong of an adult you become, the pain never truly goes away.

When I think about my childhood, especially the time I spent in school, I can’t help but remember all the corners where I hid from the ‘monsters’ I feared as a child. These weren’t monsters from a fairytale book or a horror movie. These were kids like me, my classmates, but they had this urge and desire to dominate others and seek pleasure from teasing and bullying them.

I still remember how I used to be a reserved child at school. I was not weak, I was just shy, but they mistook my shyness for weakness. Speaking up to people was not easy for my younger self, and I took a lot of time to get comfortable around my classmates. When I finally started to intermingle with them, a new pupil arrived, and it seemed as if all the other smaller villains were waiting for a leader to follow. He became the “Big Bully,” and the rest followed his lead. From the way, I looked to the way I dressed, and whatever I had, they made a point to mock me and insult me. They were many, and I was alone, so even if I wanted to retaliate, I couldn’t. 

For many years I blamed myself for what happened to me at school. I thought if I were strong enough to have stood up to them, they would not have bullied me. Blaming myself eventually became a kind of self-hatred. It is upsetting that I blamed and hated myself for being myself? I blamed my innocent self for the crimes I never committed.

From school onwards, I started to keep my distance from people. I hardly made any friends, and going out of home was scary. I remained confined to my room with myself for company. I had social phobia.

My family would say, “Oh! You’re just overthinking. You’re just sensitive. It’s nothing to make a fuss about,” when they hear about how bullying traumatized me. To these people, I want to say. “Even if you can’t show empathy with someone like me, at least show some sympathy. There is no scale to measure trauma, and every traumatic experience is equally traumatizing. There is no such thing as a large trauma or a small trauma. Do not demean someone’s pain!”

Now I have grown up. I am no longer small or weak, or shy. But a scared kid still resides inside me. When I see or hear about other people being bullied, that child inside me quivers with fear, and he is hard to calm down. His wounds have healed, but the scars are still there, and at times the pain returns. The memories of being bullied still surface in my nightmares. This is how scarring bullying can be.

Darrell Johnson