I have been wanting to write this for a week now, but being sick I was unable to until today. The reason I became inspired to write this was because of a newscast that I heard. Graduations were happening all over the states and here locally. I was listening to the news and heard a reporter say, "Local teens want to remember student who killed himself at graduation with an empty chair, their principal won't allow it for fear it will upset the bullies who led him to commit suicide." Yes that is what I heard, at the time it created such an anger in me that I sat and spewed obscenities at the t.v. "Fuck those bullies, were they thinking of this kid or his parents when they were taunting him? Fuck them I hope they all suffer!" My daughter asked me what I was talking about and I told her and she said "Wow!" which is her way of saying "HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT!" As you can see it still creates such a reaction in me that I cannot think of any other way to channel this but to blog about it!
When society places concern for a bully above the memory of a victim and the feeling of the victims family there is a serious problem. Don't get all crazy on me, I have heard of the young man accused of bullying who took his life too, and I have every sympathy for that family as well. A good upstanding family. What created this need to bully in their child, what creates it in any child? Why is it so prevalent today? I only believe it is more noticeable today, and that it is only recently that it has garnered a spotlight because of its inundation on social media. I was bullied way before Facebook and Myspace, way before youtube.com and way before 4g technology on phones enabled recording of fights.
This is a list of reasons that I have come up with that I was bullied continuously from my earliest memory of bullying to my last. I was bullied as early as 3rd grade when I cut my hair short got called everything from a beetle to a boy how original....here are the rest.....
1. hair cut short
2. being smart, being teachers pet
3. being liked by boys
4. having breasts develop before others
5. being a "whitewashed mexican"
6. thinking I was "too good"
7. not being thin enough
8. having an ass that boys looked at
9. being shy
10. not fitting in
11. being gossiped about as being sexually active when I was not
12. not fighting back
13. being pretty
14. being ugly
15. accused of being gay
16. having a locker next to a cheerleader
17. for being me.....
I actually cried as I wrote this because peoples bullying of me has had a profound effect on my life, it created a lot of doubt in a frail developing person. I began to hate myself and to not want to exist. I withdrew emotionally and stopped attending school because it was a nightmare to go to everyday. I know that a lot of people that knew me back then had no clue at the time that I was so distraught, I hid it very well, by being rebellious and covering my pain up with humor. My parents had no clue, all they knew was that I went from this smart bright kid to someone they did not recognize in a period of 5 years. The most crucial years from seventh grade to senior year. I hate that part of my life and the power I let others have over me.
In high school believe it or not I wore a smocked blouse to school at orientation, and I was gossiped about as being pregnant I was also bullied by boys who probably had a crush on me... I just didn't know it. It was also during this period that a girl whose initials were LB and was a year under me bullied me the most next to my other bully who I will talk about next. LB had a locker near mine and she made sure to stand in my way daily, sidling up to her boyfriend in typical socie, cheerleader fashion. She would not move and when I would ask her she would mutter things under her breath and call me things like fat, ugly, loser....this went on for the whole year, at the end of the year she took a picture of me, that she had access to because she was on the yearbook staff I believe, if she wasn't a friend of hers was. She photocopied it and posted it on the entrance of the language arts building with the words LOST, implying that I was a dog..luckily someone took it down before I saw it. I still get upset that I did not beat the shit out of her to this day! Because if I could go back in time and beat the HOLY shit out of her I would, terrible I know my teenage self still hates her! Really I feel sorry for her because she had issues of her own obviously.
My last experience with a bully in which I took control, came after several years of torture from a supposed cousin, who called me a bitch daily, people, daily! From seventh grade all the way to junior year! I guess she thought I was trying to be too much of a chola encroaching on her little clique or whatever, I did try to fit in with the little homie element but thank God I got over that really quick! They considered me too whitewashed, too good. Which looking back on it now is laughable! Finally one day passing through the narrow Biology hall, she whispered "bitch" into my ear, I stopped and said "look if I am such a bitch then do something about it!Now... oh that's right your little friends aren't here to back you up.... so will you please leave me the fuck alone!" I don't know where that Krisann came from, but pretty much from that day on I claimed my power over my bullies. It was freeing and empowering. I still had problems with depression but never acted on thoughts of suicide. I was lucky.
Today the shift in bullying takes on a sexual aspect and that is very dangerous thing. Where girls like myself may be bullied for their supposed sexual activity, kids today are bullied for their sexual identity. If you present as too feminine, or too butch you are a target. Looking back at all of the people I grew up with there is not one that I can say I did not know they were either gay or lesbian. You knew...it was unspoken. It was never threatening to me though because their sexuality didn't really matter to me they were first and foremost my friends. Now that I am a parent I listen to my kids and their experiences and I thank God he prepared me to handle bullying. They have been bullied about their race and sexuality. They've been called faggot or dike. They are all girls by the way.... I would not care if they came up to me and said,"Mom I am gay..", it'd be like telling me they want gravy on their potatoes, I'd say "ok." If they told me they were suicidal then it would be a big deal and I would be the light they needed to make it through the darkness, after all isn't that what a parent is supposed to do?
Yesterday I took the pledge to stop bullying when I see it happening http://www.itgetsbetter.org/page/s/pledge/ I want to encourage you to do the same. To learn more about the pledge go to this link http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ and this link http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Bullying is everybodies problem, you just don't realize it until it happens to you....
This is the first in a series of blogs dedicated to tolerance....