Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stand Against Bullying {Do Unto Others}





I spent a lot of time thinking about this post.  Mainly how did I want to actually word it.  Only because I remember the name of every person who bullied me and caused me pain.  Did I want to actually say their names, speak the truth that has been with me from the day they scarred me.  Then I realized that would just give them more power by putting a name – bullies have no place in my life so therefore I decided to just tell the stories - nameless characters with harmful intentions.  Let me begin by saying I grew up in a small town in Louisiana.  I was a happy kid.  I LOVED to talk – to the point where the teachers would call my mom.  I wore dresses to school (mom’s rule was a girl can do anything in a dress that she would in pants) and I lived in a nice part of town.  There were about 5 neighboring towns and from elementary school you went to school with those only in your town.  In middle and high school the game changed.  All the kids from the neighboring schools were compounded into one school.  Elementary school I can’t say I had bullies so much as kids who picked on me.  It still hurt but in elementary I didn’t feel the kids were being hurtful and mean-spirited – it just was kids being kids.  They make fun of you one day and the next they pick on someone else.  Middle school began the start of some dark days that wouldn’t really end until I graduated high school.  Don’t get me wrong, I had friends – real ones and the ones you eventually realize weren’t your friends.  Both which helped me learn huge lessons.  I had a cousin who I began attending middle school with.  Of course this is the age where people become followers and cliques are formed.  My cousin ruled that clique, she spoke they listened.  Unfortunately, I have never been a follower.  I never wore the most expensive clothes, my mom put ribbons and bows in my hair and I never found joy in making others hurt.    I hope that along with other bloggers my story will help someone realize that eventually it will get better.  These are just a few of the stories I felt were worth sharing that I thought others could relate to.

Elementary School
My mom bought me a pair of Keds for Christmas.  I thought they were the coolest shoes ever because they weren’t regular Keds.  They were red, white and blue and looked like a pair of converse Chuck Taylors.  I was so in love with my shoes I wore them to school the first day back from the holidays.  I stepped on the bus and one guy began to laugh and insist that no one cool wore Keds.   Another girl (one of his followers) said they looked like clown shoes.  I never wore them again.  A few years later, while still in elementary school,  that guy passed away from an asthma attack.  I joined the group of students that sang a tribute at his funeral.  I wondered at that time what would he do differently if he had known his days would be so short.  That became a powerful lesson to me to treat others as I would want to be treated.   If I died suddenly I would want people at my funeral to say nice things about me.

Middle School
This is where my cousin ruled the cool.  Though her friends never really accepted me I ended up making a great best friend.  My best friend ended up becoming a part of my cousin’s cool crew and picked a fight with me over something petty.  It took someone else who always bullied me, to point out to me that she wouldn’t be able to be friends with me and them – so her choice was them.  We eventually made up but our friendship was never the same.   Another cousin who was part of that same crew always had the nicest clothes and a lot of people in the crew made sure that I knew I wasn’t as cool.  Just a few months ago that cousin’s mom called my mom because she had lost her job and began selling Avon.  She was asking would my mom support her by buying something.  Of course my mom did and it became another lesson of treat others how I want to be treated.  Thankfully in this economy my mom has been able to keep her job and help others because she always insisted in saving rather than spending on brand names.  Don’t get me wrong I had nice clothes but not everything I wore was Tommy Hilfiger and Nike (who everyone wore at the time).  After that phone call I was never happier that my mom taught me early in life that material things don’t make the person. 

High School
This is when I smartened up and became tough.  I learned to fight back.  I lost a part of that happy girl who always laughed and talked a lot.  I used to catch the after-school activity bus for people who stayed after school for sports and tutoring.  One guy (I remember him to this day) kept touching me on my butt trying to show ‘the guys’ how cool he was.  This guy had a stuttering problem so he was always out trying to prove himself as ‘cool’ and that day I was his target.  Now you can call me names and make fun of me all you want, but when you put your hands on me you have crossed the line.  I fought back – literally!  I put up my fist and just began going for him.  People broke us up and in came his sister who felt it necessary to tell me if I wanted to fight her brother I had to fight her too.  Now I have siblings and if someone ever pushed them the wrong way I would have their back too, but never when they are wrong.  To this day I can never understand how a woman can defend a man who abused another woman whether it be sexually, physically of verbally.  (I REALLY WANTED TO SAY NAMES HERE AS ALL ABUSERS SHOULD BE KNOWN!!!)

College
I went to college wanting to pledge.  From the time I was a little girl I dreamed of being a part of this organization.  Forever, I had been the only girl who had to play with brothers and male cousins so the thought of joining a sisterhood excited me.  I pledged in 2006.  It didn’t take me long to realize that some women can be cruel and petty.  Just 2 years ago on Facebook one of my sorority sisters didn’t agree with my Facebook status and felt it her duty to write an extended message on my page about how I was never a good sister.  Mind you I never was close with this young lady, as there were 85 girls I pledged with and her personality always turned me off.  Years later she is still doing the same things.  Now how is it that she feels she has the right to have an opinion but I cannot? 

These are just a few stories of my bullies.  There are many many more – from jealous females to mean and abusive boyfriends.   For the kids who live with this everyday my heart breaks for them.  Kids these days are much crueler than when I was younger.  Although it does get better bullies never go away.  Each bully has made me a stronger woman.  Even in corporate America I run by bullies every day.  People who feel they can treat you bad because they have a higher title than you do.  What I have learned it that bullies aren’t strong but very weak individuals.  We all have things that we may not like about ourselves but bullies have to cause others pain to make them feel better about their situation.  As the saying goes misery loves company.  Even President Obama was made fun of and look where he is now (bet they wish they were a bit nicer and I doubt he cares what they think now)!   As an adult I rarely worry about what others think about me and my self-confidence comes from my personal views on myself and not what others think.  But when you are a kid peer acceptance is everything and being disliked just isn’t that easy to process.  Though I have long gotten over these times, I NEVER thought about ending my life from people’s cruelness.  In fighting the battle against bullies I have joined Stand Together.  Please join me and other bloggers who have taken a stand by joining in the fight.  Tell your story and inspire someone else.  You never know whose life you may be saving by telling your story!

3 comments:

  1. so very well said, and my heart aches for some of the stories you listed above. there's something so innocent about a little kid wearing a new pair of shoes only to get knocked down that just makes me so sad. but look at you now? confident, driven, successful, and paving the way for your own dreams.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this, and it's so good to hear how strong and confident you are despite anything that happened. I was bullied all the way up through college in one way or another so your stories are definitely relatable. Kudos to you!

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