I am going to skip writing about riding this month. Instead, I am re-telling an essay I wrote in a blog I keep that no one reads. I was bullied in junior high and high school during the late 1960’s. For anyone who thinks bullying is something new, I can tell you, it is not. I was threatened with being beat up several times, was tripped and fell face first into the snow during a class walk to the local civic center. In seventh grade, fake letters were written and sent to me from a “secret admirer.” I was called “Piranha” because of my crooked teeth and “Tarantula” because of my long skinny legs. My freshman yearbook was ruined by someone who wrote a diatribe about my acne, glasses and “ugly face.”
We are losing young kids way too often to suicide because they think no one cares or that no one could possibly understand. It will continue to happen, unfortunately, but we as mothers and fathers need to step up and talk about it to our kids. There were a lot of things I didn’t dare speak to my mother about, but when I got picked on, I told her and she took action. She would call the school and talk to the principal. She would insist on action. Because of her intervention, I got through school physically unscathed. But even 40 years later, I can recall every incident while I am positive those who picked on me cannot. Below is my essay:
This is an open letter to anyone who ever called a classmate a dork or worse, whoever stuck their foot out to trip the shy kid or whoever tossed grapes at a skinny reader on the bus.
Hey, Hot shot! Feel good about what you did today? Yea, that nerd that keeps getting A's and all the teacher's compliments had it coming, huh? I mean, what kind of freak actually does his homework every night anyway? He's so much better than you, you were justified in knocking him down a peg or two, right? And getting all those kids to laugh, that was just icing on the cake.
Here's the deal, though, Sparky. The only idiot in the room is you. I could get all psychological and say you don't get enough hugs or you have issues with your parents' divorce, but I don't really care. You are an idiot being raised (or ignored) by idiots while the child who you see as some sort of verbal or virtual punching bag is a human being. And just maybe, he too doesn't get enough hugs or can't deal with his parents' divorce. I know you're not an adult yet, but why don't you try talking. I am willing to bet you both have a lot more in common than not. Unless of course, you like being seen as the stupid clown. Because, even though no one actually tells you, they think you're a total asshole.
To the victim of the bully:
Why are you a victim? You may never know. Some people just are. Maybe you wear glasses, maybe you have acne, and maybe your clothes are "different.” Doesn't matter. Bullies are the hunters of the animal kingdom, but they are not efficient hunters. They prey on and knock down what they see as the weaker ones, ones who don't fight back. Here's the thing: Bullies have nothing else. They have no empathy, they have little intelligence and they have no self-esteem at all. They puff and bully in an attempt to get that self-esteem, but if it really worked, they'd only have to do it once, right?
When you stay silent, you give bullies power. You allow them to fester, to grow. You have forms of communication--USE THEM. Tell a teacher, an aide, your mother, your wonderful aunt, anyone who will help you. And keep telling them. The truth will set you free. Being silent and polite is for fancy dinner parties, not for bullying.
I need to tell you this as well: If you have ever contemplated or attempted suicide because of these assholes, tell someone. IMMEDIATELY. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You would be gone forever and those who caused that to happen will go on their merry way, completely ignorant of what they did. That is the power you gave. And it's a stupid thing to do. As a mom, I can tell you honestly, NO mother should have to bury her child. You have the power to control that. Use it.
Life gets better. It has its bad times; it has its wonderful times. But to miss a sunset, to not be able to hold your child's hand, to not hear laughter, all because of some idiot's idea of fun, that's not fair to YOU. Take your power, knock the tormentors down and contribute to the world. We need you.
So, I bet you are thinking, what the hell does SHE know? Some dumb chick wasting time on her Dell. Well, I was bullied. And had I given in to it, I would never know my kids, never have met my friends, never photographed a sunset. Being bullied may have helped shape me, but it didn't kill me, it didn't stop me. Life is way too short to care about where those morons ended up, and I'm sure they have no recollection of their actions.
That just is not worth giving in to.
Fight back, kid. Now or later, fight back.
By Louise Reeves