I Was A Bully
I Was A Bully
I know what you're thinking, that statement couldn't apply to me. Well it does! And yes I'm ashamed of it. However, bullying in the "dark ages" was not really the same as it is today, no guns knives, computers, or anything like that, well at least in my neighborhood. Okay I'm not making excuses, but let me tell you a little about me, and maybe you'll have a bit of sympathy.
To be clear, I'm not writing this to secure bragging rights, I would hope it helps someone in someway. For instance if one person realizes it's not alright or doesn't pay to bully, tease or torment anyone, then I've accomplished something.
First, let me tell you why this came up. My daughter and I was looking at a news story on bullying, and I was condemning it vociferously. Well, guess what, my daughter called me out, and said, "but mom you were a bully." Of course I denied it, but she wouldn't let it go, reminding me of some of the stories that I'd told her. I naturally didn't connect the dots, and I'll explain why.
During my grade school years I was the darling of the school, straight A student, teacher's pet and all that went with it. Back then we only had grades 1-7, not even kindergarten, in a very small school. Grade school was very easy for me, no stress, no real competition, so no need to act out
Then on to High School, I was a small fish, and I mean small, (I'll explain later), thrust into a big pond. I was no longer the darling of the school, not the teachers pet, or any of that. However, I so wanted to fit in, and I used the only thing that I had at the time, my mouth.
Picture this, I was all of 5ft tall, weighing 90 lbs soaking wet, but even being that small I never was afraid of anything. So, to fit in I used my mouth, needless to say in the wrong way. Thinking back, I did some dumb things. Although, I never ganged up on anyone, mine was single handed tormenting, teasing and bullying. I really didn't call it bullying, but my daughter made me realize it was.
For instance, we didn't have air conditioning in our school, and there was this boy in my typing class that came to school with a foul body odor everyday, and his seat was directly behind mine, and I said to him everyday, "you stink." So here's where you'll applaud, he warned me over and over to stop saying that to him, but no, I just kept it up. Well one day he'd had enough, and knocked me down and pulled a typewriter down on me. Needless to say I never said that again, I just endured the stench with closed mouth. Admittedly that might not fit the classic definition for bullying, but it was tormenting.
Oh, but that wasn't the end of it. I became the football team's unofficial mascot, and as such I could get away with a lot because they were my protectors. So if I did anything all I had to do was hide behind one of them and I was protected. Without going into details, there was this one young man that was as we said a "tattletale," and when I did something wrong he would report me to the principle. Oh, by the way wrong back then in my neck of the woods was breaking the bubblegum machine in back of the bus, and I did that. Well anyway when I found out it was this guy, who by the way was bigger than I was, I got in his face and threatened him the first time, but the second time I hit him. Poor boy didn't do a thing, he was so afraid of the football players that he just kept his mouth shut. Well again, here's how I got payed back, one day, on one of my bullying tirades, I reached over to slap my nemesis, and one of my football friends got in the way, in an attempt to stop me, and I slapped him instead. So, after he, my protector recovered from my slap, he delivered one of his own to me. For some reason I was never really able to get away with anything. So, suffice it to say I quit trying, and turned my erring ways around, I actually did a 360 and went right back to my grade school ways and I ended my high school years with honors.
While my attempts at bullying and teasing was seemingly comical, it is not comical. So I wrote this as a prelude to a more serious article about bullying, teasing and tormenting.
As I said early on in the article, I didn't connect the dots from my "foibles," to the bullying of today. However, in hindsight it was, even though I didn't receive the penalties that usually go with it. Let me explain. I now know the part of bullying that fit with what I was doing, which is, (well at least one meaning), "noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others." So with the poor young man that I tormented, (bullied), about his body odor, two things could have happened. One, I could have caused him to develop low self esteem, leaving him permanently scarred, or worse yet, he could have committed suicide. Two, he could have caused me irreparable harm, or even taken my life. Not to mention some of the other situations I found myself in, oh I didn't tell you the half of it, and in saying that, nothing I did reaches the level of bullying of today. Suffice it to say I'm here to talk about it, but others are not so fortunate. There are serious consequences to bullying, and I'll explore that in my next article, " Are You A Bully, Tormentor Or Habitual Teaser?"
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