Thoughts For Today From A Former Bullied Kid

I’ve read a different article every day about kids killing themselves after being bullied, I’ve watched Ellen cry about it and a panel of celebrities on Larry King Live (who tried in a failed attempt to link bullying to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and laws against Gay Marriage – could have been linked the celebrities were just not very eloquent about it). I was one of the bullied kids. For as long as I can remember, my school day included being called, “Fag” several times a day, being shoved into lockers (or on some occasions worse) and many a day was spent sprinting home through alleyways and byways so as to not be caught and beat up. It taught me to be fast of feet and mind. It also left enough emotional scars to require some plastic surgery of the soul. But when I was young and bullied it was more than twenty years ago and along with all the wonderful technology that now allows us to shuffle our music on a tiny mp3 player instead of wearing a bulky Sony Walkman cassette (and then CD Walkman) bullies have new technology too. Instead of being taunted in front of twenty kids at school suddenly attackers can take their message to the entire school or universe from their cell phones or webcams. The times have changed and the bullying tactics have changed and it’s time for all of us to change along with it.

I never came home with clothes torn or a black eye so my parents never knew how much I was bullied in school. In fact, they didn’t know until I started blogging about it four years ago in my forties. As a kid I remember thinking that I needed to handle this situation. “Handling” for me was making pretend they were screaming “fag” at someone else as I walked down the halls or telling myself over and over again how much more successful I was going to become than the person who had their hands around my throat at the moment (if I could just squirm away or at the very least stay conscious so as to pick myself up off the ground when the incident was over then I was all ready more successful than them). But again, I only had notes slipped into my locker that said, “Fag” I didn’t have someone texting it to the rest of the school.

It’s easy to be angry with the technology but I place the blame on all of us living and breathing humans on this earth as opposed to the electronic gizmos we now allow to run our lives. Because of technology we can pop popcorn in less than five minutes but we can also destroy a child’s psyche in less than five seconds by texting and hitting “send.” So as I sit with everyone else and watch the horrors as they unfold of young kids, teens and adults taking their lives due to bullying I hate to say it but I’m so thankful that the bullying I received was in a time before cell phones and the Internet.

So the question for those of us who consider ourselves decent people is what to do now? I think we have to look not only at the messages we as adults are sending to kids but also changing the way we parent and deal with both the good and bad cyber hand technology has dealt us. We have to somehow slake our vampiric thirst for bringing down celebrities, political leaders and one another. I’m not talking Joan Rivers on Fashion Police here (who by the way is hi-larious), I’m talking about the thousands who read blogs like Perez Hilton every day, a blog where he draws cum shots on people, “outs” their sexuality and basically bullies them for profit and fame. We allow someone like this to make a living off of feeding off of other people’s lives, calling it entertainment and then so-called news organizations have the nerve to put him on camera as a spokesman for the gay community. Well, he doesn’t speak for me, not by a long shot, thank you very much. If tomorrow no one read Perez Hilton or the millions of blogs like his again, believe me, it wouldn’t change our existence negatively.

And what of the negative political bullying that is all over right now as we gear up for elections? These politicians WILL change our existence by being our next leaders and lawmakers. And yet, we allow them to reduce one another to sensationalized sound bytes that make each other look like crooks and morons as they bully one another in thirty second spots. Imagine if political campaigns were based on a candidate’s qualifications and actual beliefs? Not their religious beliefs but how they’ll vote on important issues and funding? I don’t care what political party you identify with (as each one of them seems to just be a mob of bullies and yes, I’m talking ALL parties including the ones serving up a good dose of hate and fear at their “parties”). I want to know what a candidate stands for, not how well they can bully their opponent or how much dirt they can dig up on them.

So if you’re a parent you officially have a much bigger job thanks to the wonders of technology. You no longer have to worry about your child dropping an anvil on someone’s head because they’re watching Roadrunner cartoons you have to make sure they’re not destroying another child’s soul by posting hate on the World Wide Web. You have to read what they’re posting on Facebook, read their texts and yes, while it may seem like an invasion of privacy to your child, that’s what parents were designed to do before parents became more concerned with their own popularity in their homes and less about parenting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need a license to drive and you should have to have one to parent. Think of it in terms you can understand, start “friending” your kids less and being the “administrator” of their electronic world instead. Who knows, you may find out that your child is being bullied and be able to stop them before they get as desperate as the kids who have now become suicide statistics. Isn’t it worth being disliked for the time being by your kids to possibly save their lives? And don’t tell me you’re too busy to monitor their activities. You weren’t too busy to make the kids, make play dates for them, over schedule them with soccer, cheerleading, ballet and every other fantasy of your own that was left unfulfilled so make the time to look at what they’re doing on their phones and online, people.

I don’t know that we’ll ever get to a place where there won’t be some sort of bullying but don’t we owe it to not only the future generations but ourselves to at least try to become less fearful, less angry and more generous to one another as soon as possible? Maybe we can’t say anything nice and if that’s the case maybe like the old cliché, we shouldn’t say anything at all. Just don’t expect me to stay silent when it comes to bullying and gays being treated like second class citizens as I have a lot of “not so nice” things to say when it comes to those topics and I intend to say them.

Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com

 

10.13.10 Update - Perez Hilton Goes On Ellen To Say He'll Stop Bullying....we'll see

http://www.popeater.com/2010/10/13/perez-hilton-bullying/

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Comments 18 comments

sjk6101983 profile image

sjk6101983 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

I totally agree with you on this! I may not be gay myself, but I've always been a strong supporter of the GLBTQ community since I was little. Believe me, you got the best point in the world here! I


Amber 5 years ago

My kids think I'm the antichrist and that makes me happy. I do invade their world---they're little. I'm hoping that by invading it now, I can gradually allow them to "handle" more of it as they get older and want to and are more able to.

So, I'm gonna tell you my own story and I'll hope you'll indulge me. My oldest (10) is a born performer. He loves everything about the performing arts and lives with a cast of characters in his head and wants to be a rock star when he grows up. He plays with Barbies and he adores Selena Gomez & Hannah Montana. Is he gay? I don't know and (other than the grief he's going to have to take for it unless the rapture comes or the world changes immediately) I don't care. I want just want him to be the best him he can be.

That's why it broke my heart last Friday to actually witness a mild form of the behavior you describe in your article and which I'm pretty sure he's having to endure every day. Our school had a book fair (where they sell books to kids as a fundraiser) in the school library all last week. I'm a "librarian helper" and I was working in the library on the last day of the fair which also happened to be the day my kid's class comes in for library. The group is sitting on the floor and the librarian is walking through the group telling the kids to turn in the books they are holding. She notices my kid and then says "Oh, that's your own book, don't turn that in." He's holding Demi & Selena: Friends Forever, which is basically a biography of the two teen stars. But it has a pink/purple cover. One of the boys in the class then notices and starts smirking, which rapidly spreads to every other boy in the immediate area. They don't know I'm watching, and they don't know I'm their target's mom. I opted not to do anything directly to the boys this time for fear of further embarassing my son, who had, by this time realized something was up (although he told me later when we talked about it that he didn't notice) and had tucked the book under his arm.

Honestly, I don't know if he was truly aware of what was going on or not. I didn't do anything because I didn't want to embarass him and the crappy behavior on the part of the other kids wasn't anything that was going to draw any real consequence from anyone if I called them out on it.

But you know what it was? It was the kind of behavior kids like you were and my kid is experience every day. Even on days when the bullying doesn't get any worse than this, this sort of behavior grinds you down just like your two-hour bumper to bumper commute---except that you're a child and even more ill-equipped and powerless when it comes to dealing with it. I worry for my kid's soul every day. But I also worry for the souls of those inflicting the damage---they probably aren't even aware of how hurtful what they're doing is because, as you so eloquently point out, this is what's passed off as 'entertainment' pretty much everywhere today.

I've always been a bit on the snarky side; had a bit of an 'edge'. But I've called bullshit on blatant meanspiritedness and torture pretending to be entertainment and worse---news. Some people who don't know me well may think that I'm losing my edge, that I've become a candy-ass in my old age. Let them think what they want---they may be surprised at what they find if they make my kid their target instead of me.

Thanks Scott for this post.


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Amber - Stay true to your guidance of your child and letting him know that you support him and love him.

I often think about the Dr. Seuss story about The Sneetches about the ones with the "stars on thars" and the ones that had not. There will always be some more popular than others and there will always be insecurities but what we need to learn is that common decency goes a long way. And if we can bring children up believing it's better to be respectful than act like the kids on Jersey Shore or rappers, then maybe we have a chance of moving civilization forward.

Good work - and keep it up! We need you for the hope of our civilization.


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 5 years ago

Love it. Scott, how is that we keep children from cyber-bullying, when their parents are not doing much better? Hubpages is a pretty fluffy community, but some of the online behavior I've seen from adults is unbelievable. The kids are getting this honestly.

This: "You have to read what they’re posting on Facebook, read their texts and yes, while it may seem like an invasion of privacy to your child, that’s what parents were designed to do before parents became more concerned with their own popularity in their homes and less about parenting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need a license to drive and you should have to have one to parent. Think of it in terms you can understand, start “friending” your kids less and being the “administrator” of their electronic world instead."

Love this, can I be your echo?

People too often think of love as a fuzzy feeling, and that's not it. Love is rolling your sleeves up. Love is getting your hands dirty--taking on the conversations that don't win you popularity. Everyone wants to be cool, love is being willing to call someone out for their own sake. My parents were strict and gradually more lenient, but even in lenience they would not have hesitated to get IN my business if they got worried. Love.

Another one I'm hating--single mothers turning their male child into their spouse. No. Once again, the parent is the parent--not the friend, the dependent, or the mess to clean up. Absolutely wrong. Every child should get to be one. My paternal grandmother was widowed after 7 children, and while everyone in the house worked hard, there was no question who the parent was. She was feared like the devil she was. And every one of her children turned out to be some sort of professional, or military--contributing members of society. Everyone I know who had strict, but loving, parents, myself included, is grateful now.

I'm sorry you were ever treated the way you described, it's inexcusable.

Great read. Scott, I love your writing!


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

AHS - AMEN!


Sue Clayton.....SnowOwl 5 years ago

My youngest son, now 32, was not in the least bit afraid of coming out to our family. I've always taught my kids that we're all human and we all bleed red and just because others may look, talk, believe, act differently to them it doesn't make that person any more/less of a human being than any other. Fortunately my kids grew up prior to mobile phones etc so they were involved in more outdoor activities and would get excited when they were allowed to watch a video on the weekend (IF all their chores has been done) I do worry about young people today, especially with the bullying that goes on and I'm a firm believer in parents setting boundaries for their kids and following through with the consequences if those boundaries are crossed. I fully agree with everything you've shared with us here. Many blessings.


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Sue - Hoorah for good parents and people like you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

Dearest Scott, may I pour you a cup!!??

GREAT Hub!! Nice to see you back!! Your timely topic is sound and loving and compassionate and spot-on!!

I have witnessed some of my dearest shi-shi-foo-foo friends become bullies in the blink of an eye!! I'm an adult and I am being actively bullied because I chose to support Obama!!

Yes, grown upper class adults, emailing each other and gossiping like high school cliques, smearing me, leaving me out of parties, leaving nasty notes on my car, heading the other way when they see me on the street!!?

Their kids and grandkids witness this kind of behavior and take it up a few notches in dealing with their friends!!

My current Landlords are trying to bully me!! They knowingly leased me a house a few months back infested with mold, unsafe electrical and plumbing, and their own deadly MRSA virus!! They agreed in writing to pay me for having my things decontaminated and move me! Once the bids were in from the people they hired, they changed their mind!

Instead they opted to try and smear me among our circle of 'friends!?' They showed up at the front door and threatened me!! They have been on an email campagne for weeks!!

Never once have my Landlords denied all their wrong doing!! But they decided it was less expensive to trash my reputation and threaten me!

I've never gone looking for a fight and my reaction is usually one of stepping aside and letting it pass! My Landlords took it as a sign of weakness! I took legal action! This kind of bullying has to stop!!

If I experience this kind of bullying often, I can only imagine what it does to someone who has to face it all the time!

I am soooooooooooooo glad you wrote this Hub!! Blessings to all who are experiencing bullying right now!!

Welcome back Mr. Java-Mate!!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

EA - Wow, I wish I had something better to say after reading your situation but "Wow" is all I have at this point. And why did the song, "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" go through my mind as I was reading your comments? Hang in there and remember that assholes win battles, not wars!!!


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Scott, I am so sorry for all that you had to go through as a young person. As you were writing, I felt your pain and I remember those asshole kids in school. Because I was so mean as a kid, I never really got bullied and protected my friends that were gay, black or so called different. No kid should ever go through what you went through. I have my own childhood scars even though they may be different. Thank you for sharing with us and I hope parents will open their eyes and teach their kids to be open to difference. Not scourge someone who is different from us, but try to get to know them and learn. It makes us all better people in the end. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Lisa - Thanks for your comments. It's strange when you look at your life from your forties, there are parts of me that understand I wouldn't be who I am today had I not gone through what I did and at the same time I hope we as a society can get to a place where no other child has the experiences I had!


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Here, here Scott, we parents need to be vigilant and watch what our kids are put to. I'm always discussing issues with my two and checking what they are doing online. They know I do it and they don't mind because they're not doing anything wrong - yet!

Teens can be cruel and I have seen some disgusting conversations going on on FB whilst my kids have been on and have discussed these with them. Its so important that teens understand there are limits and social conscious, something so many people seem to forget about when they are online or texting.

Sorry to hear you were bullied but well done for speaking out about it and helping others to maybe tackle things differently. Here's hoping politicians make changes where necessary and not just for gays, everyone who is disadvantaged as well.


jeangurl 5 years ago

Scott everyone is treat differently and I dont know why.

I was very good at sport as a child but for some reason liked playing with the girls.I was goodlooking and was referred to as pretty by older relatives,it wasnt till i was about 11 or twelve that i had a problem,a teacher groped me and out of the blue several school mates (boys) started to.the first time was in class and I was wearing summer shorts when i felt a hand on my thigh which then went in to my panties and felt my private parts.

This became a regular event with different boys sitting next to me and doing the same,

Actually to be honest i didnt mind as no one said anything and i looked forward to it.

Then one day i was in the gym changing room and a group of boys took my shorts off and two of them tried to have sex with me, i was crying and they stopped but a few days later in the same place my shorts were removed again and i was given a pair of girls panties to wear.

I was crying and said but why one of them said because you are our girl. I had never realised i was effeminate or girlish but that was the beginning of the sissy i was to become.they took it in turns bringing me panties to wear and one of them always felt me up to make sure i had them on.

In this day and age i would probably been put on Facebook and possibly killed myself like these other poor kids.Whereas it probably just helped me on my way.


jeangurl 5 years ago

Now i have posted the above i must say that with the insight i have now, i would have thought the experince of abuse would have turned me against being Gay, but even though later i dated several girls and tried to have sex i was never successful and i guess i became what is known as a bottom or catcher.Unfortunately i have never had a long time relationship ,which people of varying sexuality couldnt understand as i am and always have been nice looking and a pleasant personality.For my sins I have been alone for many years now.


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

jeangurl, thank you for your comments. I applaud you for being so brave as to share your story. Here's wishing you everything you wish for yourself and realizing that you deserve it.


Hollanda profile image

Hollanda 5 years ago

I am one of the many girls who nearly committed suicide at school due to horrendous bullying. I had my clothes and bag sprayed with "fart spray", dog shit posted through the door and threatening notes and letters daily. My crime? Being different. I have, you see, Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Although mine is relatively mild, it marked me out as being different enough to the rest of the kids to cause me to be targeted by them. On one occasion, I had a whole class of kids shout at me to "kill myself", one of the girls giving me a whole pack of Paracetamol and telling me I'd be better off dead. Like you, Scott, I am glad we did not have the internet and the like in those days. Over time and with a hell of a lot of willpower and hard work on my part, I managed to find ways of fitting into a world I didn't feel comfortable in. My way of dealing with life is music. Whilst I have music, I have peace. I sing, mainly karaoke in various pubs in Nottingham, and have quite a cult following. My voice is not Alexandra Burke (X Factor winner!) but I can hold a tune and boy, I know how to keep an audience entertained. As my confidence grew, I realised I had found something I enjoyed and something I was pretty good at! I am now 32, engaged to be married and happier than I could ever have dreamed at the age of 15. I look on Facebook at the lives of my former bullies and realise that they were just unhappy, miserable souls who got off on making other people just as miserable as they. I don't hate them, neither do I pity most of them - for all their bad starts in life, a great many of them have grown into normal, decent, kind humans, and I have actually received apologies from them, which I gracefully accepted, although somewhat embarrassed. No, I am happy I went through that - it made me stronger as a person and it taught me compassion. I could never, ever destroy a person's life through bullying and hate the thought of inflicting pain upon anyone else. I try to be positive about everyone and try to see the good in people. Sometimes, it's difficult, and sometimes I do succumb to a bit of "bitching" but on the whole I am happy with myself and the way I am. If people accept me, cool beans. If they don't, it's their issue, end of. :)


somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 5 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Hollanda, thank you for sharing your story. So glad you found your way through...you are an inspiration. Nothing less. Don't forget that!


Hollanda profile image

Hollanda 5 years ago

Thank you :) I look forward to reading more of your hubs, they are awesome!!! :)

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