Personal: 13 Reasons Why – Bullying? Racism?

Bullying…

Bullying is defined as the act of using superior strength or intimidating a person.

Bullying is a topic that is very personal to myself and a story that even some of my close friends don’t know about, especially if they’re more recent friends.

I’ve always had the same comments from people…

“Jenny you’re too kind to people!”

And, there’s a reason for that.

I genuinely believe in “kill people with kindness” and I always treat everyone kindly, because you never know what they’re going through and a friendly face could really make the difference.

Everyone has been going on about ‘13 Reasons Why‘, and my friend actually recommended this to me and told me to watch it. Despite some of the negativity surrounding this Netflix series, I do believe it sends out a strong message that you should always treat people kindly and untrue rumours could destroy a person to the point that they can’t cope anymore.

I do believe that children should be taught that bullying is wrong from a young age, as I tended to encounter more bullying in my younger years than now, as I’m classed as an adult. That isn’t to say that bullying can’t occur at my age (I’m 20), because things like workplace bullying do exist. But, regarding ’13 Reasons Why’, I don’t think children younger than 15 should be watching it, as I would never want a child to think that violence can solve things and that suicide is the only way out. However, older children should take the important message from this series and teach younger children to be nicer to each other and never to make hurtful comments to others that they wouldn’t wish for someone to say the same thing to them.

I think to delve into why I treat people so kindly despite if they are demeaning towards me in any manner, is because I would never want that person to experience the same feeling I did when someone made a nasty remark, because it stays imprinted in your mind and can cause damage psychologically to a person. If I’ve ever had to actually get to the point of retaliating because I couldn’t take anymore abuse from someone, they have no idea how much I torture myself for reacting to them and sinking to their level.

I’ve never actually felt like I belonged, especially being a British Chinese in a predominantly white and conservative area in Cheshire (UK), and I’ve always stuck out like a sore thumb, just because I’m not white.

Believe it or not, I actually speak proper English and I don’t have a ‘Chinese accent’ in the slightest. There are always the odd ignorant customer at work who comes up to me and they’re like “wow your English is perfect” or “wow you spell better than me” and they sound genuinely shocked. I actually overheard a girl who was about 13-14 asking her mum at the pharmacy counter “Is her name even Jenny???“…like I’m actually speechless. What fun would I get out of making up a name for myself? I wanted to ask her if she wanted to see my BRITISH passport and birth certificate for further evidence and validation that I’m British and I have a very English name and also I was born in a very English town. I don’t mean for this to come across as a rant, but I feel like it’d be less rude to ask someone directly rather than whispering.

I don’t mind when people ask about my family history and where my family originated from, because it means people are open-minded and it’s better to be curious than ignorant. I literally feel so alienated sometimes, just because I don’t blend in like everyone else.

Back when I was at school, high school was the worst experience in my entire life and if I was made to repeat it again, I’d rather not even be here to think about it. I don’t think any child deserves to be treated like I did.

When me and my brother started high school, we were the only two students out of the entire school to not be white. You can probably already imagine how out of place we felt. Me and my brother got racist comments pretty much on a daily basis and the worst part is that the teachers were just as bad.

My brother probably got more badly bullied for being Chinese when he first started to the point where people where physically abusive as well as verbally abusive. I remember his friends running round the playground to find me, and they just left my brother to be kicked and punched by these stupid children. I went around and dragged my brother from the crowd of people, and the infuriating part of this is that people were stood around and encouraging it. Not one person decided to help my brother out. That’s what the bystander-apathy is all about I guess. I yelled at every single person who stood there and watched and took my beaten brother to see the head of year. I was even more disgusted by their reactions where they told me I shouldn’t have got involved and I should have got a teacher involved. The funny thing is that there were no teachers around. I was always told to report incidences to the teachers and not get involved myself, but I have never seen such useless people. When the incidences were reported, they always sided with the other kids and the teachers dealing with the issue were known to be racists, because they’d talk openly about this in class.

The funny thing is, when I got so sick of my brother coming home beaten and bruised and crying his eyes out, I just couldn’t take anymore of it. I took action myself and went to the police and threatened the kids that if I heard one more peep out of them I would make sure they had a criminal record. They never bothered my brother again.

I used to get the same old comments of “get back to your country“. Anyone of any other ethnicity living in Britain can probably relate with how tired you are of hearing this same, ignorant comment. My own country is Britain, I was born and bred here, so I’m here to stay unfortunately.

My experience of bullying was different to my brothers, I was more verbally abused and never physically abused. I remember the worst experience I ever encountered was when everyone went through the stage of having ‘AskFM‘ and ‘Formspring‘, which was the worst decision of my life to get an account on these platforms. If you have never heard of these platforms, they were both websites where people could ask you questions and you could also be anonymous when asking the questions. Everyone else seemed to get intriguing questions like “are you content with your life and why?” and silly things like “who do you fancy?” and I just got abuse after abuse. It got to this point that I actually couldn’t delete it because I was building an evidence portfolio for the school and police to document that I was genuinely being targeted by someone or more than one person, but I didn’t know who it was. I eventually stopped trusting people and ended up growing very far apart with people that I spent lunch times in the science rooms on my own, because I didn’t know who hated me that much to the point I felt intimidated to be out of sight of an adult. I got comments like…

“Go and die. No one likes you anyway.”

“You look like a man.”

“You’re fat and ugly.”

And I also got a lot of racist abuse, which I prefer not to share, as it may offend others of the same ethnicity to myself.

The bullying got so bad that I was actually being harassed with phone calls from unknown numbers all of the time because they were either from people I thought were my friends or they asked for my number off other people. I have never in my life advertised my phone number online, so it couldn’t have been because of that. I couldn’t even block the numbers because they were unknown. I would answer the phone to them yet again telling me to “go and kill yourself” and that I was “worthless“.

I have never done anything to upset anyone, nor have I ever purposely gone out of my way to make people feel that low about themselves, and I never understood why I got the hate that I did. The teachers would obviously blame me, and they said there was nothing they could do for me. I had no counsellor to talk to, as counsellors cost money and there wasn’t anyone available to talk to in my school. I have never felt so rock bottom in my life that I genuinely had very bad thoughts in my head that I had to eventually tell my parents. They asked if I wanted to move to a private school, but I knew it would only be worse if I moved school. The police tried to track the IP addresses to find out where the anonymous hate had come from and nothing could be traced. I literally just waited it out until the problem went away, but the psychological damage never went away.

People always ask me why I feel so insecure about myself, and I guess when people are anonymous they really do tell you the truth about what they think of you, and eventually you start believing them.

Another thing that sounds really stupid is that I hate my surname. People are probably always wondering why I put jenniferwl_ or jennywl_ or Jenny L, or something on those lines and I never really disclose my surname unless I absolutely have to. And, this is because I was bullied by kids at school who used to run around making sheep noises and shouting immature remarks at me and I even gained the nickname of ‘Leg of Lam’. Like I have a sense of humour, but it got to the point that it wasn’t even funny anymore. (Before you ask, yes my surname is Lam and not with a ‘b’). So, yeah that’s the explanation for why I can’t stand my surname and I’m lucky I’m a girl, because if I’m lucky enough I may get married to change the surname haha!

People always thought me and my brother were very spoilt to be dropped off and picked up by the school gates every day, despite only being a 10-15 minute walk from the school. But, people never saw the abuse on the way home where people threw rocks and twigs at us and there was one very awful incident where my brother was pushed onto the main road of oncoming traffic during the school-rush and almost got hit by a car. The police were involved and this is why there are always teachers on duty by the school gates since this incident.

My area is definitely not a lower-class area, but the people made it feel like I was living in a very bad area. As I’ve been living in the same town for over 13 years now, I always wondered whether my life would have been better if I stayed in my previous town of Warrington, where they tended to have a higher diversity of people from different ethnicities. But, I believe that things happen for a reason in life.

I genuinely believed that the positive from this experience is that it taught me to be a better person and to stick up for myself and what I believe. Don’t say to others what you don’t wish for someone to say to you. So, essentially don’t dish out what you can’t take. Just be nice to others, it doesn’t take a lot of effort just to compliment someone else and to change negative thoughts to positive thoughts. You never know how one simple little compliment could really boost someone’s mood or help change someone’s mentality about something they felt negative about.

I have literally got to the point in my life where I don’t care what people think of me anymore. This is the main reason I finally plucked up the courage to make a blog, because people are always going to talk rubbish about you whether you’re doing well or not doing so well, so why does their opinion matter?

I know this post sounds like a rant and is a very long blog post, but I feel like I have to be open and honest to get a message across to people and if I have a platform like this to use, I want to use it in the most positive way I can to help people learn about something they may not have necessarily have known much about before and help spread a more positive message to end awful experiences like bullying.

The way I got over this terrible part of my life is to promise myself that I will do better than these people in life, so in the future I can look back and be grateful that I’m still alive and I can be proud of myself and all of the achievements I’ve made. I have decided to work in a Pharmacy rather than Biomedical Science mainly because I wanted to help people directly, rather than indirectly.

I can’t stress how important it is to find someone to talk to about any problems you’re having, because when little things start building up, it literally consumes you from the inside until you can’t cope. Confide in a friend, a family member, a teacher, a co-worker, just anyone! You are stronger than you think you are and despite what anyone tells you, you are worth it.

Don’t be a someone on Hannah’s tape is my best advice (- a reference from 13 Reasons Why in case you haven’t seen it).

If you have ever experienced bullying or want to know more about how I got through all of the bullying, you’re more than welcome to drop me an email on confessionsofonlineshopaholic@gmail.com or shoot me a private message on my social network down below! I promise I don’t bite and I’m always open and honest and I love a good conversation. I just want to help provide the support that I never received, because I know how important it is to surround yourself with good people who listen to you and take you seriously.

Love,

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4 Comments

  • Reply rougenapples April 29, 2017 at 11:43 am

    It’s so sad to hear about any discrimination in our age and time. Sorry you had to go through that. I’m a Greek in a foreign country and had my fair share of interesting experiences when it comes to discrimination but who cares. It’s not a big percentage of my life and as you say people can think what they think. xx
    http://www.rougenapples.com

    • Reply theconfessionsofanonlineshopaholic April 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I completely agree, I would like to hope that future generations are better educated and more open-minded towards other cultures and ethnicities! Yes I completely agree and I’m sorry about any negative experiences you’ve had to go through as well with regards to any discrimination you’ve received. Thank you for reading Eleni!xx

  • Reply jessicalaurel May 7, 2017 at 7:26 am

    I can relate to this so much. I’m grateful for the fact that I only ever recieved a few negative comments and was never physically bullied – but it still doesn’t make that acceptable. I did get a couple of go back to where you came from comments, which I always thought was ridiculous because I was born here and so we’re my parents, and that’s just a disgusting mentality for someone to have in any case.
    It makes me sad to hear you don’t like your surname. I hope that’s a feeling you overcome because I think it’s beautiful. You should be proud, fuck the opinion of losers from you past.

    http://www.seeweardo.co.uk

    • Reply confessionsofonlineshopaholic@gmail.com May 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Even if it’s a few negative comments, it still shouldn’t happen in today’s world! At least I’m not the only one who experiences that, because how do you even respond to people who come out with that awful sentence? When you tell them you’re born here, their response is funnier because then they turn to insults related to your race haha! Thank you, I’m sure over time I’ll grow to like it again. Yes definitely! Thank you so much for reading Jessica, it means a lot! ?

    Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!