My name is Leigh. I am an 18 year old student from a small country at the bottom of the world called New Zealand. My story seems simple. I was bullied as a kid or the way I looked and the things I liked. It started when i was 6 or 7. I was bullied for not being feminine enough, I was bullied for being fat, I was bullied for being able to read. I was a sensitive young girl. I didn't handle the teasing. I remember being called a crybaby because I would cry a few times a day during school.
By nine years old, it started getting violent. When I was 9 the bullying became physical. I had just started wearing reading glasses as my eyes don't focus properly. People called me four eyes, a nerd and would push me over and threaten to stomp on my glasses. I had gum pressed into my hair and rubbed in by the kid who did it. The worst part of that year was being pushed in front of a van while walking to my Mum's car after school. I was fortunate enough for the van to have stopped.
The bullying subsided for my first few weeks of intermediate. I was 11 years old and just starting out at a new school. I made friends quickly and felt although I fit in. These friends would play games where we would pretend to be other people. Unfortunately for me they had filmed me and posted it to YouTube as "Freak Fat Girl Is Possessed." This video was luckily removed before anyone had time to make a copy and re upload it. From here on out I stopped trying to make friends. I refused to wear my glasses and my eyes are now permanently ruined.
The year after I had 2 friends that I would talk to. They were both outcasted just as I was. Then the new girl started, and I made the mistake of trying to make her feel like she belonged. Long story short, She confessed to being jealous of my intelligence after punching me in the back of the head one day after school.
The bullying continued into my high school life. In my first year, as an anxious 13 year old I was careful with who I talked to. Bullying happened anyway. Being the only fat girl in my class I was bullied relentlessly. I stopped eating and cried through the chants and throwing of food. It progressed to the point where I had my hair ripped out and I was punched hard enough in the stomach to have bruised ribs. The bullying continued verbal for the next four years until I graduated.
While this certainly affected me, I've learned to let go by realizing my bullies were wrong. I remember coming across the Inked For Peace campaign, and it sparked thought into my past and how unpeaceful it was. I decided to submit my story. After 2 months of organizing as the first person to submit my request, I was in the chair getting inked. While the tattoo needle stung n my skin, it still hurt a lot less than the words and physical pain i felt over my child hood.
I love the hand mirror design from Samantha Nan It really does speak to the fact my bullies were unable to break me and make me a reflection of their own hurt. I'm so thankful to Inked for Peace and the White Rabbit Ink for their generosity!
I am now the proud wearer of a peace inspired tattoo, and I am inspired to continue my fight for world peace and stronger consequences for bullies all over the world. As an aspiring teacher I will proudly share the story behind my tattoo, and hopefully inspire my students to do their part in creating a more peaceful world.
White Rabbit Ink owners Ace and Lusi.