This movie is coming out soon and just from watching the trailer, I get mad. I have always been a very empathetic person and cannot imagine treating others in such a cruel way, in such a way that they feel like they no longer deserve to live and start believing the lies the bullies are telling them. There is something so poignant about this, especially as a parent, that makes you take a step back and start to pray for your child's well-being before they're even in grade school.
I would like to say that growing up, I was never bullied, but alas I was one of those kids. Honestly, who wasn't bullied? I know I've been the victim, but I've also been the bully. On very rare occasions did I stoop to that level and make someone feel less to make me feel better. Of course, I was a teenager who certainly knew better and chose to hurt someone. I'm ashamed to admit it.
Growing up I was a social, but quite kid. I was independent and preferred to work on school projects alone. I had a hand full of friends, but never fell into any one specific group. I wasn't athletic and only played volleyball for a few years in middle school. I danced for a few years and, while I loved it, there were some girls who showed off so much so that I felt too insecure to keep at it. I wasn't into acting, band or choir. I enjoyed arts, crafts and home ec the most. Despite how much I tried to be my own person and stay out of the drama and cliques, I was still bullied on a few occasions which I've not forgotten.
In 4th grade I got glasses. There is no better way to draw attention to yourself as a child than to walk in one day with four eyes and a butch hair cut. Until my hair grew out, I didn't hear the end of it. I avoided the bullies and chased the boys on the playground.
When I was in 5th grade, on the last day of school, we were doing an outside activity with wooden planks over buckets, trying to cross to the other side without falling off. One of the girls, Katie R., was a loner for the most part but decided to leave her mark, literally, before the day was over. She was behind me and had one of those old, plastic jump ropes. I suppose I wasn't moving fast enough for her so she took that jump rope and whipped it across the back of my legs. I instantly fell off and began to cry. The teacher wasn't paying attention and I didn't want to be a snitch so I just laid there a minute until I could put the tears away. Worst way to end a school year!
In 7th grade, I had some awesome "friends". They were so awesome, in fact, that they were the fake-nice bully. Y0u know, the girls who pretended to like you, pretended to be your friend and then the minute you didn't do something they wanted you were black-listed. At our school if you found money and turned it in, you'd get a box of Gobstoppers. I'd found some cash and quickly turned it in. Please note: I have the biggest conscience you could imagine. My moral compass has almost always been straight and narrow. These girl "friends" wanted me to share my Gobstoppers and so I passed a few around, smiling for winning some brownie points (or so I thought). The girls asked for more and I politely declined. I got up and headed back inside, but not before they tackled me and pinned me behind the door. I was wedged between the door and the brick wall of the school. It was a hot day and the bricks stung my skin. I tried to play along for a minute, trying not to become terrified of what might happen. I threw the box of Gobstoppers at them and they let me go. I ran inside to the counselor and had a good cry. I don't know if they ever got in trouble for what they did, but I never got my Gobstoppers back and they never apologized. In fact, they continued to be my fake friend.
Over the years, I've learned pretty quickly if someone is fake or not. It's sad, really, that those people are still out there even as adults. I've tried to be my genuine self and give a little trust here and there, only to find that they're not really my friend and I let it go. It doesn't hurt anymore. It just sucks.
I'm not sure how I will deal with bullies as a parent. From what I can tell, Logan is a very social child who is friendly with everyone. We get praising reports from his daycare teachers and he's never been in trouble to earn a time out. He's never bitten a kid and as far as I know, he's never hit one either. I hope is that he is not the bully or the bullied. But I can't control that. And that also sucks.