Bully For You

Fifteen-year-old Sally is an accomplished bully. She can't remember a time when power didn't matter to her. But behind the spite, Sally is a mess. She has secrets that she can't tell, and which mean that every day she hates herself, just a little bit more. But what if Sally made a choice to reveal who she really is? Would she fall apart... or could she start putting her life together?

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1. Bully For You

‘Do address labels for these and get them out in today’s post,’ snaps my office manager Gloria, as she drops a pile of letters onto our new temp’s desk. Just time for a quick, condescending smirk before she spins on one of her plump, wobbly legs and stomps away, every drawer, door and pen pot rattling in her wake. Just before she reaches her desk she stops, turns slowly, as if the idea just randomly popped into her head, and says, ‘And you should think about the way you dress. That skirt isn’t inappropriate.’

 

Gloria hates the new receptionist, Susie. Gloria hates all women. Gloria hates all women and a lot of men. But most of all, Gloria hates herself. She is angry because of the way she looks. She is angry because her voice is deep and because she has hair on her chin, and she is angry because of her skin condition that is probably a result of her terrible diet, which is the reason why she is so enormously fat, which she is also very angry about. Gloria is so angry at herself for who she is that she tries to make everyone around her feel as miserable as she does.

 

I understand Gloria because I used to be a bully too. I also had this thing inside of me that made me angry. Angry with people around me, angry enough to be cruel to people to make myself feel better. I was the bully at school, but motherhood has taught me self-control. The urge to bully hasn’t completely gone away though. I have to work hard to suppress it. You can never really get rid of the thing that makes you angry.

 

At school I was called intimidating, over-confident, full of myself and self-assured, but actually I was none of those things. Those things were my armour, my camouflage. In reality I was weak, but that was my secret. I am not much more comfortable with myself now, but adulthood has taught me to control it. I still melt when someone prettier, funnier or more successful than me walks into the room. I am still ridden with guilt and jealousy and self-loathing, but I disguise it all because that is easier than showing anyone who I really am. The real me is someone no one will ever see. She is lurking behind the person I have chosen to be, the person I have created.

 

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