Monday, April 4, 2011

tHiS iS wHaT i LiKe (post 233)

• Nine out of ten elementary students report being bullied by their peers.
• Nearly one in three students ages 12 to 18 reports being bullied at school.
• An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. (source:
Good Monday morning all and I know this isn't a product, but a campaign and absolutely "what I like".

I know firsthand exactly what being bullied feels like. I was tormented all the way through Elementary School and on and off through the rest of my school years for no reason other than being different. I have successfully blocked out many things that happened throughout my adolescence, but one very vivid memory has stayed with me all these years.
In the fifth grade I had 3 or 4 girls in my class that had taken turns harassing me over the years. I had one really good friend in my class, but she had started hanging out with another really good friend of mine and I found myself left out frequently. I took to hiding out in the library and reading during lunch recess. Eventually the librarian figured out that I was in there every day and made me stay outside. I knew these girls were making fun of me. They'd point and whisper to each other at me and all conversation stopped when I got close.
There was nothing wrong with me. I didn't dress badly. I wasn't particularly funny looking. I was a bit socially awkward and sensitive and never wanted anything, but to be everybody's friend.
To my surprise a couple of the girls who tormented me started talking to me and seemed like they wanted to be my friends. They started hanging out with me and wanting to play together at recess. I was thrilled (if not a bit perplexed)! Little did I know what they were plotting...
Shawn Coffee was my neighbor. Shawn was at least 6 inches taller than everyone else, was scrawny, with a long neck and huge glasses. Shawn was a huge nerd (and everybody knew it) he also had a huge crush on one (if not all) of the girls who tormented me. My tormentors started telling me that Shawn "liked" me and we should "go out" (keep in mind this was the 80's folks and going out meant nothing but hanging out together). I was a little weirded out, but agreed when Shawn asked me to "go out" with him.
To this day I don't know how these girls talked Shawn into this, but I was about to be completely humiliated.
After I agreed to "go out" with Shawn at lunch recess, we went back to class. The classroom had desks formed into groups and as luck would have it, Shawn was seated in front of me. We watched a filmstrip later in the afternoon and after it was over, our teacher (we got stuck with a substitute for half the year, while our teacher was out having a baby) had talked about whatever we had just watched. She had just sat back down at her desk when I looked up at Shawn who was leaning over his desk toward me, lips puckered coming in for a kiss!? The look of horror in my face must have been priceless as he slipped and fell face first on my desk. At this very moment my class erupted in laughter! They knew it was coming...they all somehow knew!? I curled up with my face in my lap and cried. I sat mortified listening as the entire 5th grade (3 classrooms in all) jeered and clapped and stomped for what seemed like forever. Not only had my tormentors talked Shawn into helping humiliate me, they had spread word to the entire 5th grade.  
They planned the whole thing...all for no purpose, other than to make me cry.
Did you know that each and every one of these girls are my friends on Facebook? I seriously doubt any of them remember any of this either. Somehow growing up and having kids of our own, makes it okay? No, you're right it doesn't. Did you know that I was teased and tormented so much as a child, that I still have a hard time believing that I am a good person? I was beat-up twice later on in this same 5th grade year as well. I never knew I was pretty, or that I was good, or talented, or smart. I only knew that being myself wasn't good enough. It affects me still to this day. My eternal dialogue is all messed up and even though I was able to develop a very thick skin over the years, I struggle with it still. I ended up in an abusive marriage, he was extremely controlling and hearing that I was worthless and believing it came naturally. I didn't know anything else.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. [Matthew 7:12]
Think about this, all of this when you sit down with your kids tonight at the dinner table. Tell your kids that it is never okay to make fun of anyone, for any reason. Tell your kids that the world is made up of different people and they may not all think the same way, or look the same way, but everyone deserves the right to be treated with respect.
Oh and to my tormentors? Long since forgiven, I promise.


Maharry Balls said...

Oh man...wish I would have been around. I was big into standing up for kids who got picked on. The problem with how I did it though was that I would make fun of the bullies and make them cry. In fact, that's still how I stand up for my friends...give the bully a taste of their own medicine. Not exactly the right way I'm sure but I hate bullies. Of course, I have been a bully before too regretfully so.

Your little picture is so cute! :D

jgirl said...

Thanks Amy! You can tell we grew up in the Arizona sun...major freckles and toasty tan! ;0)