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Monday, October 15, 2012

Bullies... Really?

This is a topic I have never taken lightly. Being the oldest of 4 girls, I truly had the mentality of "don't touch them, that's my job" growing up. Sure me and my sisters got into some fights, sure we got into some nasty name calling- I won't even go into some of the rather cruel nicknames we have for each other... but an outsider poking in and saying something... now you've crossed the line! Prepare for battle! Seriously! I was never afraid to get dirty.
As I got older, it got a little more personal. People got more person. It no longer was about my Dad (who no one knew) or about what I was wearing (or what I wasn't wearing). No, it became about the person I was (or who people assumed I was). People became CRUEL and I do mean CRUEL.
As I look back on life, I do hold my head a little higher knowing that I made it through some of the hardest years and didn't give up. But I also know that I endured some of the harshest, meanest, nastiest, and cruelest treatment from people that really didn't know ME, didn't know anything about ME, or what was going on in MY life. They simply made a quick judgement by what they saw on the outside.
I live my life today knowing that my darkest days, the darkest years when people where beyond cruel and when I had to make the hardest, loneliest decision of my life, was one that I grew the most. Not just as a teen, but as person. I saw people for who there were- sure, but I saw people for who they weren't. People that didn't speak to me and I didn't know all the sudden had an opinion about my life and would throw the nastiest comments my way. The hallways were filled with just trying to get from one class to another without being ridiculed by people I couldn't name. Talk about miserable. But then there were others, people I had known since grade school, people that were "friends" that simple made their own decisions without ever speaking to me. Talk about cruel, talk about lonely... it was beyond dark, beyond lonely...
After a few of the darkest months of my life I went to a Valentine's Dance with a guy that went with me, I truly believe to show the world I wasn't a monster. That night, I floated... we never dated... but I never forgot him. As I struggled to re-find myself in the world that year, my classmates judged my every move and made sure I knew it. I would never be the same. Life would never be the same.

Now, I that know the outcome from my high school years, as I look back from those years I think... how does anyone really ever survive? I hear the constant tales of bullies and the mean spirited tricks that are played out in the halls today. When will it end? Why as a society do we feel that we have to be better than someone and tear them down to let them know we are? We raise our children teaching them they can be anything they put their minds to. We reward their every efforts only to put them into a shark tank with other children that what to kill their every attempt. I see the spirit die right in front of me and yet often adults in power often say "there's nothing I could do", or "I had no idea".  How can you not know what goes on right in front of you? How can you be that detached from the people you spend an entire day with 5 days a week? The things I learn from talking to MY own children in 5 minutes scare me... To prevent the cycle, it starts right at home. Always! For me, I am glad to have the chance, to know that this year, this day, this hour... I have won...
While my bullies may have grown-up and are raising bullies of their own- The punch to the face I took in high school and all the other cruel treatment I endured -stayed in high school. The decisions I made have lived on! Yeah... I know in my heart, I won!