Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My High School Experience


Before I get into this post I want to make a disclaimer, this post is by no means a sob story or to call anyone out. With bullying being such a relevant subject right now in the media, I have found I have been discussing what high school was like with a number of people and I also know people going through a similar situation as to what I went through. I want to share my high school experience and the advice I would give to my younger self.

I'll start with a little background information to set the scene on what my school was like. I grew up in a small rural town where everyone knew each other. The high school I went to was one of the many in the area and there were maybe 80ish people in my year, it was such a small year that I could literally name everyone I had class with. At the time I thought my high school was huge but as soon as I went to sixth-form I realised how oddly small it was. Back then I was a very quiet student, I had a small group of friends and tried to keep attention off myself which is quite hard when you're one of the few "emo kids" at your school. I used to love rock music, dressed in Hello Kitty and teased my hair to breaking point. I would say that was pretty much my style the entire way through high school, I cringe now and find it quite funny but I know that I loved it back then haha. Academically I was quite clever, never failed any tests and I did actually enjoy learning to some degree. During my first 2 years at high school I was part of a few clubs my favourite being French and art. I would say I was outgoing but very shy about it. I really did like my high school, I met some of my best friends there and in terms of teaching it was fantastic, in terms of my mental health not so good.


 I have included a photo of me from high school, I had to go through my old Deviant art account to get this gem haha.

"High school is supposed to be the best time of your life" adults always used to exclaim to me back when I was there, I always used to hope this statement wasn't true (spoiler alert: it's not). I would genuinely say 70% of my time at high school was positive, the other 30%? Not so great. Being a teenager is tough as it, with all body image issues within media, the worrying about what career you want to pursue and just the stress in general is enough for anyone. The extra blatant nastiness from fellow teenagers is not needed. I do not like to describe what I experienced as bullying but by definition it was. I was a under confident person back then, I could not look in mirrors, I would always compare myself to others and I did not believe in myself. Of course these were all personal issues but then I started experiencing random actions others would do to put me down. I would be tormented about my eating disorder, ridiculed for being "ugly" and insulted about the smallest of things. I could list what happened to me in high school but like I said this is not a sob story. Instead I am going to mention one key point that I still have a physical reminder of.



I was 16 at the time and this happened in my final year. Still to this day, this "joke" is always brought up and I want to use this as an example to show how badly I reacted and to what advice I would of given myself at this point in time. Every year my school had a sports day where each class had to compete in every activity. For some reason I was put forward to do the tug of war (with my strength we were never going to win haha) in front of my year. There was a few rounds and when it came to the last round, I noticed the other team who happened to be some girls who were bullying me at the time, whispering and laughing. I ignored it, picked up the rope and we were told to pull. I pulled with all my strength and of course the other team let go of the rope, sending me flying backwards. The girls on my team knew what they were going to do and were in on the joke. I landed on my left side and felt instant pain in my ribs. My only extinct was to walk away and cry due to the pain I was feeling. I was ripped into for this, everyone thought it was hilarious. I never really openly told many people but I ended up with a bruised rib and to this day my rib-cage is at an abnormal position, I was so skinny back then that a fall like that could move my bones. If I now lean on my side for too long I experience slight pain in my bones. I remember the PE teacher following me inside and telling me to "man up, it was only a joke" whilst I cried my eyes out in the changing room. It was after this experience that adults started noticing the change in me, my teachers made me go to counselling where I would not talk and my parents really did try to help since I kept coming home from school and crying in my room. 

Looking back now I always think, Shannon how could you let yourself get like that? I wish I would have spoken up at the counselling, I wish I would have told a teacher what was going on and I really wish I would have been more honest with my parents. Any advice I would give to a younger person going through this is that you should not have to put up with anyone putting you down. For me personally, I thought that I deserved everything because maybe these people were right about me? Obviously that is beyond the wrong way of thinking and such a reckless thought. If you had told 16 year old Shannon that she would be studying fashion, living in a different city and running a fashion blog, she would of laughed at you. My advice for younger people experiencing the same thing is to stand up and talk to someone you trust about it. I missed out on so many experiences at high school  such as prom simply because I did not want to face the people who intimidated me and I regret missing out on so many opportunities. My mantra that I have adopted over the past few years is that no one can put you down unless you give them the power to, something I wish I would have lived by in high school.

How did I get over the bullying? There is no straight answer for this. It took me a while to get over the insults and slowly over time I started to grow more confident. After high school I went to sixth form where I was amongst like minded people who at that age were mature enough to not randomly start on someone. My self belief and confidence started to develop over the next few years, and now 5 years later I have accomplished so many things I never dreamed I could do. I was that girl who did not speak to anyone, spent so long doubting myself and believed what the bullies told me. Now I am a fashion student living in a completely different area on the path to achieving my dream career, I am surrounded by the most supportive people and I have a wonderful boyfriend who is there for me no matter what. This blog has grown with me and with it now being 3 years old just shows how far I have come with my confidence. My point is high school does not determine who you are as a person or what your life will be like. Take it from someone who has been through it, if I dwelled on my past I would not be where I am today. Like I previously mentioned my overall advice to anyone currently experiencing what I did, tell someone, realise your self worth and don't be afraid to stand up for yourself.

This is a very personal post that I would not regularly share on my blog however I felt the need to voice my experience and if this has helped just one person, I am happy. I plan on following this up in the near future about how I started to become more confident and how I managed to overcome self doubt.

Shannon x 


14 comments:

  1. It's so hard though when you're younger as friends and school are your everything. It wasn't until I left school did I truly start to feel more like my own person more than trying to be like others.

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  2. It's very brave of you thinking back onto your school days as it's tough thinking about the teenage years. I was an emo kid so I know how it felt being a bit different x

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  3. That PE teacher was out of order, surely they must have realised what had happened as it sounds like it was pretty obvious to onlookers. I have tried blocking out my school days due to bullying but will not stand for anyone bullying my kids and have made a point of making sure the school has dealt with all issues we have had.

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    1. In terms of bullying, I think teachers got away with a lot more back then including joining in with the bullying! Schools are a lot better now with dealing with it!

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  4. I'm so very sorry about what happened. It makes my heart to know you missed out on so many special events from that time because you'd been bullied. Change always starts with one person standing up and saying something .. good for you for being so brave!

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    1. Thank you :) I just wish I could of been braver back in high school!

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  5. What a lovely, honest and heartfelt post. I didn't have the best time at school either but it's only when you're past it that you can look back and realise that it's such a small part of your life and that you'll go on to bigger and better things x

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  6. Bullying is horrible and those bullies should feel ashamed of themselves for what they did to you, it is not on. High school is a tough environment to be in but look how far you have come. Thank goodness you started this blog because it just goes to show that it is the ones that were hurt in life that often come out on top x

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  7. School days can be tough and bullying is horrid, but your article is inspiring and the message is a positive one. Good on you :) x

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  8. I was bullied in High School - it was awful - but it made me a strong person today! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  9. Bullying is such an awful experience but I believe it can really help you grow as a person. I feel a lot of young people go through bullying and you would not have been alone at the time. It's always good to have someone you can go to.

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  10. It's so brave of you to open up like this, I completely relate to this post. I was bullied throughout school and it was so horrible xo

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  11. I'm sorry you had to go through this at school :(
    I felt similar to you at school, but really found my way and some good friends in college and uni.

    Dani x

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  12. Sorry to hear you had to experience this. I was bullied throughout school and i've grown from these experiences but it does suck and I hope it does not happen to my child.

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