June 17, 2011

Meanies

This morning I was browsing facebook and somebody had posted a YouTube video of a boy fighting back against a bully.

Then it led to me finding more and more videos posted of kids being bullies.

It broke my heart.

As a young girl, physical bully-ness was never a problem for me. In middle school, I was one of the tallest, fastest, and more developed.

Emotionally, was a different story.

I really remember only one time that I was really hurt {bullied} by another person.

I went to a pretty small middle school. Most of us kids had been together since Kindergarten and were comfortable with each other. Looking back on those years I cringe to think how incredibly goofy and awkward I was, as I'm sure we all were.

(ugg, this is making me cringe just to think about it)

So here's my scarring story:
I'm not sure if my parents even know about this.

There was a boy* that I had 'liked' since third grade, off and on (we did 'like' each other, once..). And by 'liked' I mean I was crazy about him, as much as a 11 year old can be.

Anyway,

It was our 7th grade field trip to Catalina and I was talking to my good friends about this boy and they said that I should write a note, and that one of them would put it on his pillow since he was bunking with him.

(write a note??!! i know.. so middle school..)

I can't remember what I wrote, but I'm sure it was super smooshy and cringe-worthy. I figured that since my friend would give it to him/ leave it on his pillow he would read it in private or whatever.

BOY WAS I WRONG.



Later on that day he had gathered most all of our classmates (there were only 20 of us in the class...)
and read the letter aloud. Then proceeded to make fun of me. Loudly. Embarrassingly. My 'spy' came to me and told me everything he had said. This will stick with me forever.

"what else did he say?"

"I don't want to tell you"

"Please do. I want to know. I don't care how bad it is"

"He said that he had seen dogs that were prettier than you. And everyone laughed."

"oh"

I then started to cry. a lot.

(man ALIVE, I'm still trying to fight back tears!!)

I remember sitting in the dark with both my friends on either side of me. I also remember only a few of my classmates (like 2 others) immediately leaving the boy and coming to find me.



After that, I'm not really sure how our teacher found out. But she overheard what he had said, and demanded him and his friends to come and apologize to me.

Which he did.

And I said it was "ok" mainly because despite what he had just done, I still wanted him to like me.

When they had left, I continued to cry.

Looking back on it, I wish I would have had some big dramatic, "GO TO HELL!!!" 
and be done with it.

 (And since then, I think I have given several dramatic statements to that effect. )

But, what he said had always stayed in the back of my head.  I know this boy wasn't the only contributing factor to my insecurities about my looks, but for the longest time, even into my high school years, I would look in the mirror, and hear those awful words.

And to be honest, sometimes I still do hear them.

middle school boys suck.



--

I hope to instill in my children several things:
  • All forms of bullying is unacceptable. 
  • There is no problem whatsoever in defending yourself or your friends.  
  • Be the kid to walk away. Not stay in the crowd and feel bad. And certainly not participate.
  • There are a lot of wrong people with opinions not worth listening to. 
  • Forgive people for their ignorance and meanness. 
  • Surround yourself with good friends that will come to your aid. 
One of my favorite movies: Be Billy. 


It absolutely scares me to death that my children will have to come in contact with bullies. 

I also have no idea how I am going to control myself if a kid ever bullies my kid. 

Just the other day we were at McDonalds and some little twerp (yes I still use the word twerp) was spitting on Everett. Granted, this kid was like 4, but I had the hardest time not to completely lose it right in front of his parents. I did give him the threatening death look, used my angry mommy voice, and told the kid "Stop spitting on my son."

OK ok, so I probably shouldn't have scared him. But maybe he'll think twice before spitting on someone else. And as a parent, if it was my child misbehaving, I would have no problem with the other mom doing the same as I did.

When we take our kids to the park, Reese has absolutely no problems with making friends. She'll walk right up to all the girls and boys and call them "friend". Kurt and I love that about our Reese.

While watching Reese play with her newfound friends, Kurt commented that it will be so incredibly sad the day some kid is mean to her and tells her to go away.

I said that it hopefully will never happen, and if it does, she'll be strong enough to brush it off.

Please, please, let my children be strong.






* side note: this boy aforementioned was NOT a bully. We actually didn't have a bully. Just kids who decided to be mean and hurtful every once and a while.*

3 comments:

Missy said...

This is an awesome post, Alex. I remember a couple of experiences I had with bullies. My father always told me that I couldn't start fights, but I could finish them. And so, in 9th grade, I did. And that poor boy never lived it down. I can honestly say that I don't want my children to fight. But if they come upon injustice, I hope with all my heart that they stand for what is right. Love ya.

Royalbird said...

I remember an experience I had with a bully. A girl in 6th grade managed to get all the other 6th grade girls to hate me and they wrote nasty things about me on the bathroom walls. When confronted, she denied everything, as did everyone else. Unbelievably, the teachers didn't do a thing, like I had written those things on the bathroom walls about myself or something.

Sadly, one of our kids has already had to deal with a bully. Given his personality, his looks (yes, glasses are still "nerdy") and his interests, I'm actually surprised that he's only dealt with one so far. What breaks my heart is how much of an impact a bully can have on a person--sometimes we never get over the hurt caused by one and sometimes it causes us to withdraw. I hate to see that happen to any of my kids because I know how wonderful they are.

I hope to at least instill in my children a self-confidence so that bullies can't make any headway with them. I had a brother like that who just didn't care what other people said and so bullies couldn't get anywhere with him. And I hope to teach them to treat others with kindness and respect. I'd hate to find out that one of my kids is the bully.

Ashley said...

I copied a Celine Dion love song and MAILED it to this boys house in 7th grade. He brought it to school and I was teased for the rest of the year. Not only was my heart broken because the boy I thought I loved totally rejected me but his "popular" friends constantly reminded me that he thought I was a geek. I still cringe thinking about it.