My guest today has been here before and I am so very happy to have her back again this month. I met Sarah Fader about a month ago when she asked me to write for a non-profit she runs called Stigma Fighters. Since then, I have been following her progress with this mental health organization and I am very impressed with her drive and determination. I asked her to write for my blog today in hopes that you will check her and her non-profit out and consider getting involved by either writing, spreading the word, or donating in other ways.
If we are lucky, we surround ourselves with people who are trustworthy, people who want the best for us, and will build us up. I am surprised how many times it is a trusted friend initiating the bullying. Recently, my daughter and I watched the movie Cyberbully . I actually watched it first before I watched it with her. There are themes which seem too adult for her but, unfortunately, my daughter has already witnessed this type of behavior. We talked about the movie in length afterwards and there where two main things she said she learned: be careful who you trust and always trust and talk to your mom. I hope she remembers these two things when it is important.
Thank you Sarah so much for taking time out of your busy life to share this story and for the final words you leave us with.
I was 13 years-old. I was a woman according to Judaism, but in my mind I was still a child. I went to Junior High School 54. I was in the gifted and talented program; a school for smart kids. I was a writer, a thinker, an over-analyzer.
It was there that I met Morgan. She befriended me and my friend Alex. We spent time at her posh apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We used her Swatch phone. It was really cool, because you could each hold one end of the phone and talk to each other. Morgan quickly became one of my best friends.
I thought I could trust her.
I believed I could tell her anything.
I was wrong.
Morgan began telling Alex lies about me. Alex was my friend, but Morgan was manipulative. She could make you believe anything was true.
I began to feel uncomfortable and I told her (and Alex) that I didn’t want to be their friends anymore. I just wanted to be acquaintances. I didn’t like how Morgan was gossiping about me and telling all kinds of lies.
Suddenly, I went from being one of the most popular girls in my class to having no friends at all. I had no one to talk to. I was completely alone.
Well, she didn’t like that. She quickly began to amp up her vendetta against me. Every day in the 8th grade I would enter the school doors with my heart racing. I wasn’t sure what she was going to do to me that day. I didn’t know what lies she would be spreading to the entire 8th grade class about my character.
Morgan sat behind me in English class. One day, she decided she would bring her level up torture up a notch. She began kicking my foot from behind over and over again. She wouldn’t stop. I could feel the anger boiling inside of me. I turned around suddenly and blurted out:
“Get the fuck off my foot.”
“What?” Morgan asked in disbelief.
“I said get…the…fuck…off…my foot!” I elongated the words so that I knew she could hear me say them.
“Go to Mr. LaSena’s office.” Ms. Hauser, my English teacher directed me.
I was defending myself against this bully, but I ended up getting in trouble. It wasn’t fair.
Morgan turned the entire 8th grade class against me. No one wanted to talk to me. No one wanted to be my friend. I wanted to die.
Until…one day…I met my best friend. I was introduced to her by a girl named Megan. Megan was a straight A student who many of the kids believed to be overbearing. I liked her for some reason. Megan invited me to sit with Diane and her. She allowed me into her world. Diane was kind. She was neurotic like me. We were both Libras. To this day she remains my best friend in the entire world.
Though I had a new small group of friends, it didn’t stop Morgan for mocking me and torturing me. She never stopped.
It wasn’t until I graduated from 8th grade that I got rid of her. However, her abuse will remain in my my mind. The way she treated me will forever be ingrained in my head.
Year later, Alex and I reconnected. We realized that it was Morgan who divided us.
Alex and I are now good friends. She loves my children. She designed my blog business cards! She has been a tremendous force of good in my life. This story does have a happy ending.
There are many Morgans in the world. They will try to make you feel small. They will attempt to make you feel like you are worthless.
Nobody cares about you.
You should stop existing
Just go away
No one wants you here
I want you to know that you matter. I want you to understand that no matter what anyone thinks of you, you are full of good. You are loved. No bully can take that away from you. I want you to tell your parents if someone is making you feel small. I want you to keep telling adults until someone makes that person stop. Because bullying is wrong. You keep speaking up for what is right. You are beautiful.
Sarah Fader is the flavor vanilla with something unusual in it – like gummy bears, because she’s sometimes extroverted and wants everybody to like her, but some folks are like “wait a minute, this vanilla ice cream has gummy bears in it?! That’s weird. I don’t know about that…” Other people love that this particular ice cream has gummy bears in it, because it makes it more interesting and special. Oh, and she writes for HuffPost was on Good Day NY, has her own column on Psychology Today called Panic life, and runs a non-profit for mental health called Stigma Fighters www.stigmafighters.com Follow her @osnsmom on Twitter.