Stuck in the mud: Testimonials from the outskirts

May 5, 2014

Stacy’s story

Walking down a new path, a new school, knowing no one but myself, I looked deeply at the many kids, all split into groups based on ethnicity. Where do I fit in?  For most of my life, I have felt like an outcast, caged and unwanted. I wasn’t a good student, and I never really fit in anywhere.  I was different. 

 Before high school, I never was in public school, and the transition was hard. My now high school was big and the school I went to before that was small so that made it even harder to make new friends.

Through my experiences of being bullied, I’ve learned there’s not much you can do about it. You are a pig stuck in the mud.

— Stacy

I felt like I was thrown into the school without any ideas or social cues to help me.  I was left being prey to the bullies. Throughout my life I felt there wasn’t a time when I wasn’t bullied for an extended period.   Through my experiences of being bullied, I’ve learned there’s not much you can do about it. You are a pig stuck in the mud.  Luckily, there is a chance some kid or person might stand by you or defend you. I was lucky to have that. Otherwise, you have to wait until it is over. Intervening just makes the bullying worse.

It took me a long time to realize this, but most people who bully really don’t have a point in what they do. Some bullies do, but a lot of them don’t. They are just cruel people. According to Psychology Today, most bullies have emotional problems.

To distract myself, I’d watch TV, read, write, and go on the computer, taking me, releasing me to this fantasy world, an escape. Everything was much less complicated when I was trying to solve what was going to happen in the next episode rather than in real life. It was a way I could breathe and let go, forget what was going on in my life. It really did help.

I was not close to any teachers, and when I was, it never worked out. I felt awkward because of the age differences.  I just wish some of my relationships would have worked out with them.  Looking back, I do still think of myself as an outcast back then although I did have some friends.  I never really fit in anywhere, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Some of the people that seemed the most “popular” then now seem the loneliest.

Right now, my life could be better, but I’ve learned life is a work on canvas. It is like an open book being edited. You have to accept the work in progress and try to make it a positive experience. It is the only way someone can get through life.

When I got older, although I had to face everyday obstacles, my life is good. I have worked through the hard and things have gotten better.

The Facts about Stacy’s Story

It is true that big environments can be overwhelming. In many big schools, kids hangout with others of their ethnicity. In this specific story, the school didn’t have cliques, but in most places there are cliques.

“Cliques are groups of friends but not all groups are cliques,” according to the Kids Health website. Cliques tend to leave people out on purpose.

In Stacy’s story, she mentioned that she felt like a lonely outcast in high school, as if she didn’t fit the mold.  Each clique looks for a certain type of person, and if one doesn’t fit the criteria, s/he is left out. That can sometimes make a person feel sad and anxious, especially if they have been bullied.

Bullying is a form of teasing, talking badly about someone, hurting feelings, or spreading rumors. Approximately 71% of bullying has been reported as a problem, according to the website Bullying Statistics.  There are kids just like Stacy out there who are being bullied continuously.  According to Stacy, students can’t do much about it.

However, in recent years, bullying has been taken very seriously in schools with the new bullying laws. Now, if one were to tell a teacher or an adult, people can intervene to stop it. But does that necessarily mean it works? There have been many recent cases just like Stacy’s, and nothing seemed to help.  Who knows how the new laws will work, though, in the long run.

Just as Stacy said, most bullies don’t have a point to what they do. Bullying behavior also goes deeper, into the subconscious. Most bullies have emotional issues. Some issues can be traced back to their upbringing and some were bullied themselves.  Bullies sometime don’t even realize how far they’ve gone.

Stacy had many ways of distracting herself from the bullies and the loneliness. She wrote, watched TV, played computer games, and read. Having a hobby is a helpful way of getting through the hard times.  Furthermore, maintaining a passion can lead to many other great things. It will help students get through it.

Lucy’s story

I stood there in a crowd, never feeling more alone. I had friends, but it sure didn’t feel like it. In my head, the depression was talking. It was isolating me, and it didn’t help. No matter how much my friends invited me over, no matter how much we talked, I felt out of place. Maybe it was because my best friend changed schools or perhaps it was the ridiculing of pubescent boys and girls shattering my self-esteem that I taught myself I was an outcast. Little did I know what being an outcast really meant.

I am usually by myself, but I learned that being alone can be a good thing.

— Lucy

Only once I hit high school would I know the true meaning of being an outcast. In senior year, I only have two good friends, but I’ve learned that’s really all you need. I have some good friends outside of school too. I talk to some teachers although I never talk to most students. I am usually by myself, but I learned that being alone can be a good thing. I don’t think being an outcast is a bad thing if you are secure about who you are. If you accept yourself, good will come. I don’t think I was bullied that much in high school. I’ve learned life goes on, and a new beginning will start.

The facts about Lucy’s Story

Just like Lucy, many people who are outcasts or get bullied suffer from depression, although not everyone who has depression has been bullied. A sign of depression could be when a person feels down, day after day, for long periods of time, according to WebMD.  The bullying can set off a chemical in the brain to malfunction, making one depressed.

When you are getting bullied and are feeling depressed, you must go tell someone before it gets worse. Tell a friend or perhaps get a therapist so you can talk your feeling out. If you hold the depression in, things will only get worse.

Lucy said that being secure about oneself helps. It doesn’t even matter that much whether one’s an outcast if s/he is secure. While that is true, the majority of people who feel like outcasts aren’t happy. The majority of the people who were interviewed felt lonely when being an outcast. It is really all about finding the right friends and not being insecure: having higher self-esteem.

Sometimes it’s harder to get higher self-esteem. Some people never feel better about themselves but they learn to accept what they have and like it. Some people do get higher self-esteem by thinking positively, and they become happier overall. Some people need help being accepting of who they really are.

Daisy’s story

I never quite thought of myself as an outcast, rather I felt like more of a misfit. I had a group of friends: a group of Goths and loners and such. It wasn’t the best of times. My brother was out at college, and my parents were busy with work. I was alone. Then the worst came: my mother got sick from cancer. She passed away, leaving me more alone than ever. I had no one to guide me. I was also a victim of being bullied and teased by other teens.

I’ve come to realize that high school is just a little part of life.

— Daisy

Now that I am older, things are much better. I have two wonderful sons and an amazing husband. I’ve come to realize that high school is just a little part of life. The important things to remember are to be yourself and feel good, to be kind to others to make yourself strong and unique, and to be a good friend.

The Facts about Daisy’s Story

Daisy was a misfit. The definition of a misfit is one who “fits badly.” Misfits usually have a group of people who don’t fit in in some sort of way, forming their own group. They are usually different than the mainstream.

Daisy, at the time, was going through a hard period. Her mother had lung cancer and passed away.  Cancer, according to The American Cancer Society, can be very hard on the family, affecting kids like Daisy. Death can make family members depressed and distant. It takes a while for people to get on their feet.

Luckily for Daisy, things did get better. She grew up to have a husband and children. There will always be good and bad in people’s lives; nothing is in black and white. She came to realize in life there is good and there is a life after high school and she also learned to appreciate herself.

Cathy’s story

When I was young, I felt like an outcast. I went to school with the same kids and then moved to Michigan. I moved back in eighth grade. My old friends had moved on when I came back, ignoring me. However, I made three new friends and had people with whom I was friendly. I wasn’t bullied luckily, but I sometimes felt lonely.

Since I have grown up, although I have to face everyday obstacles, my life is good. I have worked through the hard times and things have gotten better.

The Facts About Cathy’s Story

Moving to different schools can be hard, especially returning to one’s old school. People may become distant because they haven’t seen their friend in a while and have moved on. This will affect the child that had moved emotionally, but eventually he or she will move on, too, as Cathy did.

When an old group of friends ditches a student for new kids, it can be hard. This happens often in cliques or groups of friends. They can try to move on to another, more popular group of kids. It usually has more to do with the kids that ditch a person than it does about the person being left.

Lizzy’s story 

Back when I was eleven, I thought I was an outcast, but looking back now, I realize I was not. I had a good group of about ten friends, but I felt like I didn’t have real friends.  Some of my friends were even popular, yet I still felt sad and worried.  I was a good student. I liked to play piano, play outside, and do arts and crafts.

When I got older, things got better. I am very thankful for the life I have. I work with children and teachers, and I take care of my kids. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.

The Fact’s About Lizzy’s Story

Lizzy reveals a very important lesson. Almost everyone feels like an outcast.  Even with a group of friends, at one point in life, people can feel alone, and it’s okay to have these feelings. Everyone feels alone once in a while.

You just have to love yourself.

Lizzy and many other of the people interviewed realized that high school is just a little part of their life. People move on. The people interviewed all had activities to distract themselves. They eventually got to a place they liked in life.

If people realized that almost everyone feels like an outcast at one point in life then we would all realize we are really not alone. We are outcasts together.

“Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps,” wrote American author Brennan Manning.


*Stories are from Glen Rock residents, students, and faculty members; names have been changed to protect their identities.  

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