Last week I received this story in an email from Laura, such a wonderful woman! I am so honored to share it with you guys, and I hope you're as touched as I was by her openness.
I'm 24 and was bullied on and off for most of my school life. It was never ever physical, it was name calling, it was whispering when I went past, it was snide comments. Why, because I was different. I have dyspraxia, something I don't talk about much, but I should do. Part of my brain that controls my fine movements didn't develop properly. It affected my speech more than anything, even now at 24 I still have a lisp and a stutter. From the age of 18 months to 13 years old I had speech therapy, for an hour, every day, Monday to Friday. I used to have to come out of school for it. The kids at school couldn't understand me, my teachers couldn't understand me, my Mum used to come into to school with me when I was having bad days. Lower school and Middle school (age 4-13) I was bullied, called names, laughed at and pointed at.
When I turned 13 though I started to stride ahead with my school work. My speech was nearly there and I was now top of the class in all my classes. As I went to high school I offered to help the teachers out more, I would volunteer for extra curricular activities. As a consequence now instead of being called stupid because I couldn't pronounce words I was called boffin, teachers pet, geek (I loved all techy things and excelled in computing). I got on with my school life and couldn't wait until I could get into 6th form aged 16 and do independent study. I left school to study computing at uni and now work as a software developer full time.
The one word I was most often called was geek. It was always derogatory, like I had no friends. I now play roller derby, my skate name, MacGeek. I no longer see geek as a hurtful comment. I've turned it round into something positive. I have a talent for techy things, I am proud of being a geek. I am proud that I have a passion and that I stuck it out at school and studied hard. People think of geeks as guys stuck behind computers with pen protectors in their pockets and nothing else to do. How wrong are they!
I may have been bullied at school but I have learnt to turn it around into something positive.