Essay, Pages 5 (1197 words)
It was an amber summer afternoon, the room was dimly lit from the natural light beaming from outside. I sat at the edge of my bed slouched against my pillow, with teary eyes I stuttered my words, “I-I hate it here. I just wanna go back home.”
Outside the room, my mother spoke to me in a gentle voice, “Please talk to me.” She paused. “They say the first day is always the hardest. Even if today didn’t go perfect, I’m sure tomorrow will be better!”
Thinking back to that day, I almost feel guilty for leaving my mom in silence.
I know that she was only trying to keep me happy. She cared for me, both my mom and dad cared. They had sacrificed almost everything by leaving Hong Kong in order to provide a brighter future for my sister and I. I should’ve been more open about myself, about how the other kids treated me. An outsider, the foreigner, the weird kid that no one could understand.
But how could I? It wasn’t just some simple task for a five year old to confess about being bullied at a summer camp. Living with the fear and embarrassment of being called out as a “tattle-tale” or a “snitch” was mortifying, almost worse than death itself. So of course the only reasonable solution was to keep it a secret. If I kept my mouth shut and acted normal then they would eventually accept me into their group, these were the words that kept me going back to the camp everyday, and the internal conflict I faced by myself was what ultimately changed my life.
Everyday was a constant struggle. Forcing myself to get up in the morning and go to a place I felt I didn’t belong. My parents had no idea of the hardships I faced. Everyday I would carry the same fake smile home, inventing lies of how great my day at summer camp was. “Today was so much fun! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!”, these were all words of fiction that hid the truth behind my adversity. As it turned out, making friends at my new home would prove to be one of the most demanding challenges in my life. I don’t blame the others for not speaking with me. My english wasn’t the best, and I’ll admit I didn’t have much athletic background like the other kids. Everyone was either already part of the same hockey team or soccer club. Me? My greatest influence were video games and comic books. I was every bit of the definition of an introvert and geek. One word with me, and you too were a weirdo and marked as a target for the others. Everyday they would find something wrong with me and comment about it. I even started to believe that there really was something wrong with me, because they would single me out almost every time. I would try everything to fit in with the clique. I thought that if I changed my attitude and personality, I could finally feel a sense of belonging. I wanted nothing more than to be friends with everyone else, and was willing to give up my passions just to obtain that single goal.
The bullying continued throughout my time at the summer camp. I was beginning to think that making friends was inevitable, a fantasy that would never have a happy ending. The hope I had of making new friends quickly faded. That is until one day when the rest of the kids had gone to the swimming pool, I stayed with one of the trainee instructors since I had lost my swimming gear in the locker room. A tall slender boy with squinting brown eyes and dark, straight hair that slightly covered a fine, worried face.
“Hey bud, why don’t we try looking for your things in the locker room again? I’m sure it was just misplaced somewhere.” his eyes were beaming with optimism.
But my things weren’t lost, I remembered where I had left my belongings. It was obvious that someone had taken my clothing to ridicule me. Nevertheless I lied, I couldn’t bear the embarrassment of admitting my troubles in front of the instructor.
“I’m okay. I didn’t really want to go swimming today anyway.” I reluctantly said.
He nodded his head in approval, and we sat there in an awkward silence. I’m sure it was at this moment in time, the instructor had realized that I was feeling bothered. Yet he kept my secret between the two of us, almost as if he understood my fear of humiliation. The silence finally broke as he jerked out of his chair.
“I think the others are heading back for lunch now. Why don’t we go join them?”
I sat stiffly in my chair, hesitant to see the other kids. He saw my discomfort and immediately paused.
“Actually, why don’t you come with me? I want you to meet some of my friends. The other instructors.” He smiled at me with promise. Feeling elated with the offer, I agreed. I followed him to a table with instructors around the same age as him, all from different backgrounds. I ate lunch with the group, and was even able to join in with their conversations. They were all so welcoming, and for the first time since I moved to Canada I felt like I belonged somewhere. This continued on for the rest of the summer camp. Even though the days were rough, I would always look forward to lunchtime when I could eat with the instructors. Lunchtime was like a safe haven to me, where I could be amongst people who were able to accept me for who I am.
On the final day of camp, the instructor approached me. He knew I hadn’t gotten along with the other kids, and was persistent that I confront the group of boys that had bullied me. Being doubtful at first I refused, but deep down I knew I had to have some closure, and I’m glad I did. I approached the boys with trembling hands, and for the first time stood up for myself. In that moment of confrontation, it felt like it was me against the world, like David against Goliath. I don’t recall the words or what I said to the boys in that moment, but I remember the feeling of satisfaction for finally being genuine to those who brought me so much grief. I was happy for what I did, I wasn’t going to let people steal my joy away anymore. I was going to be honest with who I wanted to be, and I wouldn’t let the perceptions of others skew my identity. Looking back now, I feel thankful for the time I spent at summer camp. Even if everyday wasn’t perfect, to this day I am grateful for being able to conquer my adversity and fear of humiliation. Because if there’s one thing I learned from my experience of being bullied, it is that negative events that build bitter memories aren’t there to hurt you, but to make you a more capable and resilient individual.