I want to talk about bullying today. One of my kids is being bullied, being bullied so bad he had to delete his Facebook account. I’m not going to tell you who he is, I didn’t give birth to him but he’s one of mine and we’ll leave it at that. A little mystery is good for you.
He shouldn’t have a Facebook account to begin with he’s under 18 but everyone does it. (Ok probably not everyone but MOST kids his age, which is a topic for another rant..ah…blog entry).
It hurts to know he is being hurt and there is nothing I can do about it. My heart aches for him. Kids can be mean and stupid and stupid-mean, which is a whole other category. It makes me want to jump up and down and yell at someone or push someone else around and give him a big hug and tell him MEAN PEOPLE SUCK, and they won’t get anywhere cool in life by tearing other people down. All that does is show the sad in your own soul, and brings back more of the same to you, in ways you can’t possibly imagine.
I was bullied myself in junior high by an alpha queen bee type who EVERYONE was afraid of. She drank and smoke and went to high-school parties and had sex and was angry all the time.
She was everything shocking and cool and confident and she could tear you down in two seconds flat with a sharp look and cruel words she whipped out of her small, thin mouth until you felt shredded. She wasn’t very pretty but she knew worlds more about make-up and clothes and music than I could ever imagine. I was brought up in lively hell-fire bring-your-own-skirt-Pentecostal church so I wasn’t exactly rocking the cool threads (like pants). Not to mention how very small and tiny was the box I was thus far brought up in, and I was prime picking for a worldly mean girl like her. Imagine soft, fluffy bunny meets angry junk-yard dog. Fur flew. There were tears.
Want to know the really humiliating part? I tried to change who I was so she would like ME better. I tried to be and look tougher, I tried to ‘measure up’ to her standards. She made fun of me even more for trying to be what I wasn’t, which was the best thing she could have done for me.
She obviously had to grow up very fast, and I don’t know her personal story but I’m pretty sure it isn’t filled with butterflies and rainbows the way my childhood had.
As stupid as bullying is, it’s as common in schools as blackboards and recess and teachers and pencils. With sites like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram it’s out there for everyone to see for all time, no take-back-see’s, forever without end. In past generations kids (me) used to be able to take refuge from the hurt by going home, now it follows them there too. I’d like to gather up all the bullies and punch them all in the ear.
Now I’m going to get off my high-horse and admit I did a little bullying of my own in high school. It’s shameful and embarrassing to admit but it’s true.
There was a girl form my church who started going to my high school who didn’t have any friends (yet). I knew her from around church, and even though it was a small one and she was only a year younger we didn’t hang around. She was painfully shy, meek to the extreme, with even less (if that’s possible) fashion sense than I did. She wore home-made dresses to school, and unlike me she wasn’t blessed with a clear complexion and a small, athletic frame. If I was a fluffy (clueless) bunny, she was a meek mouse just graduating from How-To-Be-Meeker-University with a major in Lonely-Saturday-Nights and a minor in Afternoons-At-Mama’s-Knee. We can call her B.
In the beginning I reached out to her out of a genuine desire to be nice to her. I had friends, at least, I wasn’t popular but I wasn’t an easy target any more either. I got boobs. If there were mean girls at this new school they couldn’t get close enough to bully me anymore what with all the boys loitering around staring at said new body augments.
And she snubbed me! I don’t know if she thought I was making fun of her, or she was just that shy, or maybe she said hi back but so lowly I didn’t hear her but when I realized she was ignoring my ‘gifts’ of acknowledging her existence, ho, HO! My sixteen year old pride reared up and after THAT, I only said hello to embarrass her.
“Hey guys look, she’s too good to say hi to us isn’t that HILARIOUS…” Laughter ensues. I made life harder for her, and I have to live with that.
All that to say….bullying sucks. The bully is almost always coming from a place of weakness. They feel so badly about themselves they need to take other people down too so they can feel better. It happens to kids. It happens to adults. Like anything bad that happens to us, we need to ask ourselves what we can learn from it, and remind ourselves that things will change.
I learned the world is not all cherries and moonbeams. People hurt. Sometimes those people want to make others hurt too. As a kid I had to wait for things to change as I couldn’t change things myself. I learned compassion, empathy, and patience. From B I learned there are dark parts of my heart that needed the light shone in. I have learned more from my enemies than I ever have my friends.
B, you know who you are, I’ve always regretted how I treated you, and I’m sorry.
To the one this blog is all about, I love you, hang in there sweetie, and if you need someone punched in the ear, I’m here for you. Seriously. I’m practicing right now. Bam! Bam! Bam!
To all those who are being bullied right now, hang in there sweeties, it WILL get better. And if not I AM available for ear-punching. If I can reach their ears with my tiny bunny arms.