While serving out my life sentence here on Earth, I’ve been singled out, verbally abused, spat on, sucker punched and blindsided. No… that is not my résumé and filled out application to the Vatican… ISO Canonization. No… I am not lobbying to win an Oscar in the “best supporting martyr” and/or “best original tragedy” categories.
And it’s just as well that I’m not actually seeking any of the above accolades. After all… one of the prerequisites for attaining sainthood is being dead. Ergo, that job interview with the Pope ain’t gonna happen (he wouldn’t hear me out when I’m alive and couldn’t hear me out after I’m dead). Furthermore, since I’m only acting happy in the real world… not on the Hollywood big screen, there’d be no red-carpeted ceremonies, awarded statues and acceptance speeches… especially since those categories I typed out above are actually non-existent.
Beyond that… I would never set foot on a carpet dyed red with my own blood… never want any awards to remind me of all the abuse I had suffered… never thank my tormentors for having made THAT all possible.
So… why start out my blog that way? Well, that’s to establish my credibility in addressing today’s topic… bullying. Now… before I go on…
For any parent who suspects or knows their kid is being bullied, don’t ever dismiss this as “Oh… it’s only a phase” and/or “It’s just a part of growing up.” Bullying can occur wherever your kid goes… even online. Take whatever actions are necessary to end this wide-awake nightmare… even if you have to get an assist from your local police department. YES, it REALLY IS that serious!
My best advice to a kid who is being bullied… tell a parent, a friend’s parent, every teacher, coach, principal, vice principal, security guard and cop you can find… and don’t stop telling until someone listens. Trust me… I know it can be tough… but you must keep trying. There’s no need to let bullies ruin your life the way they ruined mine.
Yes, I am a survivor of being bullied, however, this is a double-edged sword phenomenon. Once the realization sets in that no amount of sympathy and time ever fully heals the deeply gouged, emotional wounds, the matter of survival almost becomes secondary.
As proof of that ~ For me, those above listed attacks had started in the fourth grade and did not begin to ease up until my high school freshman year… yet… here I blog about these incidents half a century later… still feeling the anguish.
What hurts even worse than that is my knowing that the people who should’ve helped me through those rough times had all turned a deaf ear to my cries for help.
My teacher, Mrs. L… even with my forehead’s visible knot and bleeding scrapes and contusions before her very eyes… had callously deadpanned, “It takes two to make a fight”… her implication being that my having been attacked had, somehow, been what? My own fault?
Well I had assured her then… as I assure you now… I had not fought back AND the only way I had provoked that bully was by merely showing up at school. Of course, for me to fly beneath any bully’s radar was next to impossible.
My principal, Mr. R… after reading the letter where my Dad had demanded that he put an end to this bullying… had replied in a unique, totally irresponsible and insensitive way. I had just taken a bite out my sandwich when he waltzed into the lunchroom and came over to my table to say, “Follow me.”
He marched me to the front of my school’s cafeteria, turned on the figurative, center stage spotlight and then, while hundreds of my classmates watched intently, he wagged his pointing finger within mere inches of my horrified face and verbally assaulted me… humiliated me… for what seemed to be an eternity. You see, in his addled mind, his school had no bullying problem and that could only mean that I was a liar.
At that precise moment he had become the biggest bully in that entire school. And once those like-minded “students” had realized that even the principal hated me / was on their side… well… need I even finish that sentence?
At that point, I was feeling nauseous… almost to the point of throwing up all over Mr. R… I wish I had. When it was finally over, after my classmates had rushed out the exits for our afternoon recess, I sat back down at my table… all alone. Staring down at my lunchbox I waited to see if my appetite would return. I wound up tossing that food into the garbage can.
I then managed to find a remote spot on the playground far away from my classmates… and as the minutes ticked down, dreaded going back inside for afternoon classes. The icy cold grip of the season and social isolation both numbed me. I was convinced that any friends, who I once had, were now siding with the bullies, too.
From that day onward, I kept a low profile… used every minor illness (and even feigned some) as an excuse to stay home from school… and I did miss a lot.
Fortunately, both of my parents had their degrees in education (My mother had briefly taught English and Literature prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom / my father’s career as a Science and Math instructor spanned four decades). I have their home schooling efforts to credit for keeping me current in my schoolwork AND on the “All-A” Honor Roll.
Nonetheless, I was missing out on the more positive aspects of social interaction with my non-bullying classmates. Home schooling, by its very nature, does preclude that.
At least my parents had been there for me… had the circumstances been otherwise, I could’ve easily wound up becoming an Elementary school dropout. Hell, I might’ve run away from home or even committed suicide.
Sadly… my real life story / tragedy is far from original ~ Countless others, throughout the wretched history of humankind, have suffered far worse indignities than I have… at levels of severity inclusive of their being denied their basic human right to a peaceable, natural death.
It’s not too strong a statement to say… when teachers and principals fail to order bullies to stand down, that can only embolden them. Bullies will easily misinterpret an absence of any discipline as being tacit approval of their socially unacceptable behavior.
It’s not too strong a statement to say… today’s bully has all the necessary “job skills” to become tomorrow’s terrorist… be that the lone wolf who opens fire on an Elementary School… be that an al Qaeda operative who kamikazes a jet into high-rise architecture… be that a ringleader, rabblerousing presidential candidate who fans the flames of deadly hate crimes all across our once great land… and outward to every corner of our world.
Although each incident’s MO and body count particulars will differ… it’s all the same old sh–!.
Blog revisions posted on 03/28/2016 @ 18:29