The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE FORTY FOUR: Not Gonna Take It!
Do you remember the first time you stood up for yourself?
I do. I stood up to a bully and some of my friends. At the same time.
It was in the fourth grade. I had one of my favorite teachers of all time that year. Her name was Mrs. Porter and I adored her. I really did my best in that class because I wanted to impress her. I didn’t have a crush or anything like that but she just treated me like a normal person and not a kid. It made an impression.
Anyway, there was this kid in my class that was a bully. Let’s call him, Jake. That is not his real name. I’m not looking to shame anybody but I need to tell this story so Jake it is.
So, Jake was a bully. I’m not sure if he saw himself that way. It was probably stuff that was going on at home that caused him to be that way. And he wasn’t a bully all of the time. You never knew when he was going to physically hurt you (punch to the arm, punch to the back of the head, that kind of thing) or when he would act somewhat like a human being and start up a conversation with you. He scared me a little bit. Some days, more.
So, there was this one day that I took all I could take. He was saying nasty things about me and my family (which he didn’t know) and it was getting to me. My friends were laughing a little in fear of him laying into them. Tears were starting to well up.
And then, they didn’t. They got sucked right back into my eyes and I got angry. Really angry. I can’t remember exactly what I said so I’m going to paraphrase.
“Why are we even letting you talk to us? Who do you think I am? You can say what you want but I’m not taking your (whisper) crap (louder) anymore.”
I look at my friends.
“What about you? Are you going to take his crap anymore?”
They were dumbstruck. I had never done this before. They didn’t say anything. They just stared at me. I continued.
“Jake, don’t ever talk to me again. And if you lay a finger on me again, I’m telling everybody.”
I stormed away to my desk and sat down still fuming.
I’m not sure where Mrs. Porter was but she wasn’t in the room. I had my back toward them and I expected that any minute a punch was going to hit me in the back of my head.
I waited. I waited. And I waited.
My friends looked at me differently after that. I became a….leader? Sort of.
And Jake never bullied me again. He never talked to me again. Not one word all the way to the end of fourth grade. In my fifth year, he was in another class and I hardly ever saw him. By the time I went to middle school, I never saw him again. I did hear that in high school he had got into a lot of trouble and memory serves me, he was expelled from another high school.
That was a turning point for me. I never allowed anybody to bully me. Ever. I stood up for myself.
There have been moments since when people would run over me some. It was because love is blind and I allowed it to happen. But when it came to being bullied or somebody tried to push me around, I wouldn’t stand for it.
And because of that, I built a wall. There were some I would take it down for. They ‘got’ me. They understood me. For others, that wall stayed up. And a chip grew on my shoulder. It wasn’t a big wall and the chip didn’t weigh me down but they were there.
Over time, that wall is pretty much in ruins and that chip has been flicked off. I still don’t allow myself to be bullied but most people don’t think like that anymore. I said MOST.
Unfortunately, that way of thinking is still out and adults are still teaching their child to be like that. Some of those kids are acting out (like I’m sure Jake did) and trying to get some kind of attention whether it’s good or bad. And there are others that are in it just to watch people get hurt.
Another way I have got people from bullying me is by trying to be funny. I have been pretty successful by doing that, most of the time, and that has kept me from getting into fights. But ever since the fourth grade, I never backed down. I developed this deep voice I use which is commanding. Something I learned in doing voices. I can scare the crap out of people.
I have asked my daughter if she ever gets bullied. She has always told me no. I believe her. I think she’s like me. She’s funny and can make a friend quick. But if she’s pushed, I bet she can be a bit intimidating. It keeps me from being too worried about her.
Well…not too worried.
Being bullied is a horrible feeling and my heart goes out to anybody, child or adult, that has got bullied or is getting bullied. I hope they find their strength to find a way to stop it. It’s heartbreaking. I hope they find help. I hope they don’t build a wall because trust of other people is low.
I hope they learn to stand up to their oppressors.
Nov. 11th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.