Growing up, I got teased a lot in school. I was the butt of a lot of jokes because I was shy and way too nice. I remember this one time in grade school in kindergarten when a bunch of girls told the teacher I had pulled another girl's pigtails, then punched her in the face and made her cry. Needless to say, no matter what I tried to say or do to prove my innocence, the teacher promptly sent me to the principal's office where I was swatted for something I didn't do.
I also remember a time when my grandmother witnessed another kid pushing me to the ground in grade school. When she attempted to tell my parents of the incident, it didn't go well, so she never tried to help again.
I can remember many times where I would have my head slammed into the toilet, been called a witch, get pricked with straight pins, or pushed into a mud puddle when I wore my new Easter dress to school.
The scariest incident of them all however was when several kids in gym class attempted to swing a rope I had climbed to the ceiling to get me to fall. Luckily the gym teacher was able to quickly stop the rope before I fell to the ground below.
The teasing continued even throughout middle school and high school, however. I had my chest poked at for having developed before a lot of girls, had padlocks thrown at my head and bubble gum put in my hair, and got turned down twice for wanting to go to my high school prom, all because I was too nice. I was what one would call gullible. I didn't have a mean bone in my body back then.
Then something amazing happened. Not too long after high school, I had several classmates apologize and tell me they were being bullied too, but it was not an excuse even then to do the same. I even had a classmate who looked up to me because I wasn't a part of the in-crowd. I didn't care because I realized that I wasn't alone. It was the last few of my high school years that I simply chose to hang out with those who were not popular, those who had a disability and needed a friend too.
But I have also learned over the years that it is okay to stand up for yourself and others! It's okay to be you! There will always be those who are jerks, and when they rear their rude heads, it's okay to stand up and point it out.
Never let anyone take your power. We may not be able to choose how people treat us, but we have the power to choose how we are going to react to it. There is no reason we should ever just sit and allow anyone to treat us badly. We never have to let another person's comments bring us down. And we certainly don't have to let their terrible behavior make us feel bad. Take back your power. You are after all in control of your life, not them.