The following article is a follow-up piece to the blog post “Recovering from Adolescent Bullying.”
In honor of #ThrowbackThursday, an old classmate of mine tagged me in a photo from my Bar Mitzvah. There I was, the 5’ 4” stud, approximately 20 lbs overweight, attempting to stand on my tippy toes so I could just barely poke my head above the girl who was standing in front of me. I had on every ounce of merchandise the DJ was attempting to disperse into the crowd; the sunglasses, the blow up shoes, the light-up wristbands, and of course the polk-a-dot top hat.
To put in simply, I thought I had killed it.
This photo led to an array of friend requests from my old classmates, many of whom I had not heard from in over 10 years. There was Eilise, my wonderful neighbor, whose trampoline was close to my second home during elementary school. And David, my friend with whom I would ride off of bike ramps and fly through the air. I used to think he was so cool and I would’ve done anything back then to be like him.
But strangely enough, I also received a request from Jay, an old bully of mine who had tormented me for being Jewish throughout middle school and early high school.
What the hell did he want from me? Continue Reading
“Make a fist. Now I want you to punch the air!” yelled Dr. Lin.
“Was this what you do in therapy? What is the point of this?” I kept thinking. I sat there reluctantly, refusing to have a fake fight with the wind blowing from the ceiling fan. This was pointless, and I just wanted to leave.
“I don’t feel like it. I’m not angry, and I don’t need to be talking to you.” I cowered back. This short, impatient man was not going to waste my time. I was in a state of too much denial and self loathing to accept that I needed help. I may not have been externally angry, but there was no question I was angry with myself.
Needless to say, my first therapy appointment was a total disaster. The reason my parents had forced me to talk to a psychologist was because I was deciding whether I was going to transfer high schools in the middle of ninth grade. Before making the investment to send me to private school 20 miles away, they wanted to make sure this was the right decision.
Upon reflection, it was really not that much of a surprise that I had been the target of so much bullying. As far as middle school went, I had failed in pretty much every way possible to be cool. I was overweight, unathletic (and worse didn’t even know things about sports), musically talented, an unbelievable push-over, and worst of all, Jewish. At my middle school in northern NJ being anything but white, athletic and Christian was more or less a death sentence on the middle school social totem-pole.