Sheetal | Manurewa, Auckland

“I think bullying really builds a person. It kind of shapes you into who you are. I gained a lot of my confidence from it, and I kind of stopped really caring about everyone else, just stood up for  myself and so that’s kind of who I am.

I went to a primary school where there were four Indian families in the whole school, and it was a primary and intermediate. So, it was quite a small school, but there were four families, and we got bullied quite a lot, just on what we ate, how we do things, and ‘they always have oily hair’. It’s just part of life, but it’s what helps you grow. The not backing down from it.

So it was from Year 2 till about Year 7. It was real hard. I hated going to school. I used to sit by myself, and then in Year 7 I was like, I’ve got two more years left in this school, does it really matter? If you keep bringing yourself down, you’re going to stay down, and so I just stopped caring. I started doing my own thing. I gained a lot of confidence from that. It was life-changing, because I started making friends. I started coming out of that shell that you get put into. Then I started high school, staying in South Auckland, and it was the same attitude. Didn’t care. Just if people wanted to be friends with me, they wanted to be friends with me. If they wanted to know me, they wanted to know me. I got heaps of friends through that, and that’s what pushed me through it, is just not caring. 

I was born here, in Middlemore, and we stayed in ‘Rewa all our lives. I’ve just moved to Botany. I did the whole South Auckland, getting in the wrong crowds thing, having to move to Botany, went to school there, met some cool people, but it was a pretty good transition to see the stereotypes of South Auckland. Everyone’s like, ‘oh it’s bad, people don’t know how to talk to each other’. But it was more of a community in South Auckland, and so I got to learn the different types of people, and how not to follow onto the stereotypes.

I guess when you go through a lot of stuff, you just own it, and it makes you who you are. So, I’m proud of who I am. At the end of the day, we’re all humans. It doesn’t really matter where you belong, or who you belong to. We’re all made out of the same flesh and blood.

I’d tell other people to just not worry about it. Take it on the chin. A lot of what we focus on in life is all the negatives. We don’t actually focus on the positive things. It’s just how our brains function. When you get a negative comment, just flip it around, because there’s so many good things that happen around that we don’t focus on, because of all the negative things that weigh us down.”


** Youthline provides free support for young people, or people supporting young people. Contact 0800 376 633 or free text 234 **

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