Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bullying To Death

This is a sad movie. I feel everything for this young man, I felt what he felt, and believe me, I know the feeling of being bullied. I was bullied from the time I was in 3rd grade on. All the way up to high school. My last year in high school though was different. But as a child I had all kinds of people bullying me. Most of the time for no reason at all. I was smaller than other kids my age, and a lot skinnier (believe it or not) so fighting back for me was not an option. But in the third grade, I had to change schools, and I went from a school I loved to a school I hated. The school I went to previously, I only had problems with one person, a girl named Deanna, and after I kicked her butt, she pretty much left me alone. But I had TONS of friends in that school, I also had my Brownie and Girl Scout troop meetings and I so enjoyed those! So I socialized a lot in that school. And then when I moved to another school, that all changed. The kids at this other school were different. Most of the kids at my previous school had rural backgrounds. The kids in this new school were city kids, and much harder for a small town, country girl to learn to get along with. So I had an unusual amount of trouble learning to get along with them. I could not make friends there to save my life.

I particularly remember one girl named Melody, who always enforced that fear of being hated and bullied on me. Fortunately she didn't live there for very long, but the time she was there was the LONGEST few months I've ever experienced in my life!! She moved there after I started 4th grade, and she moved out long before my 4th grade year was over. I praised GOD she was gone, and hoped I would never see her again. If Melody had stayed there any longer, I might be a racist today (she was African-American). She used to beat me up, because I was younger than her, shorter and skinnier, but she was scared nearly to death of my sis, who was older, and bigger than her. I remember for a long time after my incidents with her, I was scared of black people. I never said anything against them, but deep inside me I always used to have this fear of black people. Except for the ones I knew and were friends with. Those were the kids who used to bully me the most.

My younger years were not the only time I had problems with bullies. I remember having problems in 6th grade too, but only with a group of boys who, for the most part, I ignored until they got in my face. One of the boys was named Paul R. I think he thought I was gay! And I think he used to go around telling everyone I was. Funny thing, the kids in my class (there were 2 6th grade classrooms) always told Paul to shut up, and leave me alone. But the kids in the other 6th grade class would go along with him. But Paul R. was not the biggest bully in that school. Another boy named Monte T. held that title. He always bullied EVERYONE. I don't think there was a kid in that school that did not ever feel his wrath. Monte though was mostly all talk. I'd never seen him strike anyone. He held his fists up, but that was it. In that school, it seemed most of the kids were all talk and name-calling. Even Paul R. nor his little "gang" ever laid a hand on me. The attacks were always verbal and visual. I had more friends in this school than I ever had in my 3rd and 4th grade school, but there were still kids who just hated me for no reason that I could think of. So the only deduction I could contemplate was that Paul R. went around and told everyone I was gay. And I wasn't! I had a crush on a guy! How can a girl who is gay have that??

One boy I also remember he was also in the 6th grade, but he was in the other 6th grade classroom that I was not in. His name was Brian. I only saw him once a day, for an hour a day in band class. He sat behind me and played the saxophone. He was also the 6th grade class president. And he absolutely, without a hint of doubt in my mind, HATED my guts!!! He never struck me, again, his attacks were always verbal, but I could sense a very strong, negative energy come from him. He hated me that much! LOL! I remember one day I was late for band class because my bus driver was late picking me up from home. I was so late that I left my music book in the classroom because I had to run to band class as fast as I could, so I wouldn't be too late. It wasn't until I got there that I remembered my music book was still in my desk in the classroom, so I asked the music teacher if I could go get my book. Basically just minding my own business. Well, Brian shouted from behind me "How could she remember her book yesterday, and not remember it today??" Another kid in the back of the room shouted "That's because she's stupid!" Brian scoffed "I know it!" I just pretended like I didn't hear them and went to pick up my book. The band teacher was clearly disturbed by these kids' behavior, I could tell. Far as I know though he didn't actually say anything. When I came back and asked the teacher to tell me again "what page are we on?" Brian mimicked me in falsetto "What page are we on?!" Like kids always do! Thankfully the teacher ignored him and answered my question so I could catch up.

I'd never even given Brian a hint of thought until that incident, then I hated him as much as he hated me, if not MORE so! Because I never did anything to him to deserve that treatment from him. I never thought to put 2 and 2 together, or I might have figured out he had probably been talking to Paul R, and believed him that I was conceivably gay. Some of my friends, who did know Brian, said that he was usually nice to everybody. Well, I didn't know what his problem was with me. Maybe he was angry that I never spoke to him before, and this was his way of getting my attention. Or maybe he did think I was gay because he didn't know any better. I'd never told him different, or anyone else for that matter. But if he had actually gotten the chance to know me, instead of listening to the assumptions of another begrudging student, he would have known I was as straight as any girl can get. Funny thing, just before I left that town and moved to Olympia, I think I saw Brian again. I was with my ma and grandma at a restaurant called the OCB. I was up getting my dinner and someone called me from behind and said "Hey! How's it goin?" I looked at him and he looked at me, and it didn't register at first. He thought I was someone else. He said "sorry, you looked familiar. I thought I knew you." I said to him "No problem. Don't worry about it." He said "thank you. How are you anyway?" I said to him "I'm good. How are you?" He answered "I'm just good thank you!" He was so congenial then. It wasn't until I got my food and sat down with my family that it hit me "I think I know that guy!" I figured out it had to have been Brian! The one who hated me so much in 6th grade. I remembered his eyes. They were kinda mean-looking, like a cat's eyes. And his eyebrows were thick and well-arched. I didn't approach him again because I hated him! After I graduated I was grateful that I never had to look at him or any other bully again. It was a shock to see he still lived in town! He seemed nice that day, but that can be deceiving! Behind my back, he was probably telling whomever he was with that I was a stupid, gay kid. Or whatever it was he always thought of me. LOL! But he was one of those people I'd just as soon try to forget about.

Well, since he was always so nice to everyone except me, and I could not understand why, I came to the conclusion that you're just never going to please everyone. Some people are going to like you, while others are not. I guess that's just life. I never tried to be liked. I'm not a people-person. I used to be when I was younger. But things changed as experiences happened and I sort of developed a hatred of people onsight. I have to get to know someone, and my senses have to align perfectly with how my heart feels about that person, then I try to make friends with that person. IF they seem good. But sometimes even my senses are deceived, like with Kim Hedges in this building. For a year she led me and my sis on. We thought she was an OK person. I had no idea she has a tendency to shit on people for no reason. Especially new people. If I had been told that about her when we moved here, I could have been a bit more watchful. But I wasn't, and I let my guard down. Probably because we were in a new, strange place we'd never been before, and I was more desperate to make friends right away. But this to me, is the very definition of bullying. And there is really little wonder why people kill themselves over it. Being bullied sucks. It's ruined me as a person. I trust no one and nothing. Though that may sound a little too cliche, it's true.

I am surprised I never committed suicide, or became a racist myself because those incidents in my life were so significant, and deeply entrenched they almost became second nature to me. Perhaps that is why I never killed myself, because I always think things will get better. Though I never thought I would learn to trust African-American people. I wouldn't have if it hadn't been for my first boyfriend, Paul W. He treated me better than any guy (or girl for that matter) that I had ever known in my life up to that point. He changed my mind completely. He taught me in a sense not to judge an entire race of people just by the actions of a few bad apples. But that's what bullying can do to a person's morale. Especially when the majority of those bullies were of that race. Unfortunately I didn't meet Paul until his very last semester in high school. And then after school was over, and he graduated, he had to move. He was in the army. Those who may have relatives in the military know what it's like. He wanted me to move with him, but I couldn't. I was still in school for one thing. Another thing, he wanted me to move to North Carolina, and I didn't know anyone there, besides him. Sometimes I wish I had taken him up on his offer. But it gets so hot there!

Well anyway, here's the movie. It starts off with the kid just having lunch and smiling, giggling, watching the world go round. Then the bullying starts, and it's an almost parallel story to my own days in school. One kid gets bullied, the other kids think it's funny and cute. No one does anything about it, and it leads the bullied kid to depression, and especially recently, to suicide. It brought tears to my eyes when I saw this movie because I know what this boy went through. That was my daily existence for many years. I never committed suicide, or even attempted it. Though I would be lying if I said it never crossed my mind. People should not bully one another. It's wrong! Some young kids may think it's funny, but really! Put yourself in the bullied kid's spot. It can be harmful to them. Imagine how you would feel every day wondering what is going to happen that day. Are you going to be jumped? Or will a day finally go by that you can just do what you need to without being ambushed? And what kind of gossip will the bullies pass along about you today? And who will it be about? And what will that person say I said? I think the only reason I never had rumors of shit-talking by me being passed around school was because I only spoke to a few people, and I rarely said much. But it did happen to another friend of mine, who had lots of friends. Someone went around the school and said she said something bad about everyone, and no one was speaking to her, and she got beat up quite a bit from that day till the end of the school year. I felt bad for her, but that's the price one pays for being popular. Anyway, this is the movie. It doesn't have much talking, but the message is deep.

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