Here is a blog about how it feels like to grow up feeling small at most times.
Yes, I am tiny in size. I won't deny the truth that I can still fit in my junior high school uniform last time I tried it during summer break (my fellow Indonesians : what I mean is that legendary plaid Tarakanita uniform hehehe).
If you happen to know me during my childhood until high school, I would guess that you might noticed that other than being tiny, I am different in one other prominent thing : skin.
I am fortunate enough to be healthy at most times, but I have severe allergies on my skin which makes it easily hurt by just insect bites or accidental scratches. Some doctors said that I suffer from Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura. Other doctor said that being extra sensitive to the allergy is the culprit. One doctor even said that I can't be exposed to the sun at all as I have an exceptionally thin skin. Another doctor said that I might be lactose and gluten intolerant. While my mom blamed herself for giving birth to me at pre-mature pregnancy. I did one allergy test when I was 13 and yes I have allergies to 9 things which includes some of the world's most delicious food : crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, etc), egg yolk, and even tea. The doctor said that this can be cured by getting used to these food small portion at a time. Ergh, so many diagnoses.
I have been confused all my childhood life, taking so much medications from natural treatment to multiple doctor prescriptions. I don't know whom I should believe, what meds should I take, and at some desperate times I ask myself : should I even try? Is this even possible to be cured?
I know I am not the only one who is suffering from this type of disease. But to me, there's another thing that hurts even more. I got bullied since the very beginning of school, when some classmates does not want to be friends with me because my skin sometimes bleed in class when it's itchy. I had to wear my knee-high socks every time to cover my scars, and I even got bullied for that. Some kids laughed at me for looking like a football player in a skirt. As an addition to that : I always felt so much pain whenever I got home from school as I just wanted to get some rest, but I had to take off my socks which was already stuck to my skin as the blood dries. My nanny always helped me with a warm towel to take my socks off to reduce the pain. That was 6 years of my elementary school.
Going to middle school, I have had some hopes that life might be a little better as I am moving forward to a new school and perhaps I will make some new friends. I was lucky enough that my closest friends during elementary school went to the same middle school as I did. At least I had someone that I can talk to. At least I was never alone. Always try to look for the silver lining, as the quote said.
Yes I saw some silver linings, but those things got blurry at some points. The bullying got worse. I got a new nickname which is "Sekrup" (English : Screw, Bolts). People called me with this name as they thought I had some bolts all over my skin. In short : they called me a robot. When my skin bleeds, they said I have lost a bolt.
"Hey, your bolt is missing, your oil is leaking", they said while laughing, pointing their fingers at me.
Older students even made up terrible stories about me and made fun of me for my dark skin color and for the rashes that I have. One hurtful thing that happened to me during Junior High School : I was recommended by the teachers to be one of the member of the school board for student activities and publishing. All new members had to make a speech about one topic that I can't remember. It was a clear morning when all students had a weekly flag ceremony. I was prepared for my speech. When I came front to the microphone, older students booed on me and they left the field completely as if they have planned the whole thing just to humiliate me in front of everyone. I felt hated for some reason that I could not understand. I felt useless, I felt small. I never chose to be like this, to have this, to be born this way. I might not the nicest person in the whole world, as in : maybe I was being anti-social at the time (which lead to misconception of being arrogant), maybe I was being quiet and weird, but in my defence they were all results of what I have been through.
I was being picked on so many times that I often feel like I was a beast who is not worthy to be loved. I often feel like I am not pretty like most girls. Those insecurities are worsen time after time up until high-school. I felt uneasy after junior high, then I decided to go to a public school. No more private school, I thought to myself. Still, I was optimistic that things might get better. I did not have experience for being bullied for my skin during high school, but for other thing : religious belief. It was not a type of bullying, in that sense. It was more like a little discrimination by small group of students that I don't really care about. I am not gonna dip into this one now. Despite this tiny hiccup, high school wasn't bad at all. I made some more friends who I adore so much for their kindness, bravery, and talents.
*These people whom I made friends with during 12 years of school, even though in numbers they are not so many, but they are the nicest group of people that I have met. Thank you for being such good friends, you crazy Magelang people. Love ya.
Ok, moving on. I graduated high school and decided to go to an architecture school in other city where I meet lots and lost of fun crazy people. I made a new circle. Despite the drama and the crazy sleepless nights, these people are great. I did not get bullied at all during my college years. I thought that it might have something to do with growing up - which I still believe it is true. Nevertheless, I have to admit, even up until now, sometimes I still feel the insecurity : for not being good enough, for looking like a beast, for not being pretty enough.
There have been so many better articles than mine that talked about bullying and how it might affect people's lives. I guess my conclusion will be really short and might be shallow : whatever you are doing now might make a change to people's lives in the future. Why not make them good things for a good cause, instead?
What I am saying is that I actually never thought that the past memories could still gives me this feeling right now. These thoughts have disturbed me so much that sometimes I become a person who overthinks and feels insecure in so many ways. On the other hand, I feel more grateful that there are people who stays. They don't have to be the ones you can talk to every day, but the ones who spare their time to say hi once in a while. That is more than enough for me. As one quote said : love isn't blind, it sees but it doesn't mind. Thank you for not minding my weird looking skin.
I wanted to try to give some advice, but I am not the best in this to be honest. So perhaps I can try to conclude one of the good points that I've got from a book that I've just read.
Life is better when you focus on the present time. Most problems are just happening in the mind, not in a reality in the "now". Take what happens to you wisely, and let them be as they are all temporary.
For you who gets bullied : they are not better nor bigger than you. Don't let them mess with your mind.
Thanks to you who read this. Not your daily reading material in thought catalogue yet, please give me a year or two as I am working on polishing my English skills.
*just so you know : my skin gets better and I can eat most things that I missed during my childhood now ;)