I recently read a book for my class about a kid who was being bullied and was unaware of it. What was more frustrating is that his bullies didn’t even realize that they were bullying him.
I was bullied a few times in adolescent life. Unfortunately for my bullies, I’m not as weak as I appear. I like to consider myself not weak at all. I’m patient.
For example: In junior high these two twins found me to be their most endearing target. They would seek me out any chance they had and they would make fun of my clothes, my hair, my walk, my talk, my body, etc. Not only were they in my class, but they rode my bus. I know I was weird in junior high (like everyone else, IMO) but I still don’t know what caused them to attack me. We had known each other for years.
“Why did you dye your hair red, Mikayla? To look like us? You wanna be like us? You’re such a loser! Look how fake it looks. It looks so bad.”
“I dyed it to win a costume contest for Harry Potter. I think I look good as a red head and it has nothing to do with y’all.”
This was how I typically responded. That, or simply walked away ignoring their taunts. Until the day one of them hit me on top of my head with a binder. That was too far for me. I got up and began trying to hit the tiny little mutants with my big ole binder. Lucky for their 60lb selves, they were able to get under the seat.
And they had the nerve….to tell on me….and try to get ME kicked off the bus.
What they didn’t know, while I ignored them, told them to stop, or justified myself, the bus driver had been watching for months. And they got kicked off the bus.
The next day I was sent to the principal’s office. She asked me what had been going on and I feebly explained everything. I was terrified that my actions had just caused me to get suspended. But if there was anything I learned from my parents about trouble, is that telling the truth is always the best option. I didn’t hold back. I explained about how the girls had been treating me and then about the incident on the bus, and how my parents told me to hit back.
When I walked out of her office, I saw the twins there, in tears, with their very furious mother. Our principal gave them three days suspension from school. They apologized to me. And the problem was fixed.
The other bulling situations didn’t ever go as far, and were usually resolved quickly. I don’t think they really knew what they were doing. I think they thought it was all in good fun.
But kids do this. We would be best friends, then we would be fighting. Then we would be friends. They were neighbors, and we all basically grew up with each other. I probably bullied people without realizing it as well. In fact, I know I did. *Big Cringe.
By the end of high school we had learned to laugh at anything negative thrown our way. We were old enough to see when things were going too far.
WE WERE OLD ENOUGH TO SEE WHEN THINGS WERE GOING TOO FAR!
I’ve recently seen a group of college kids bullying another college guy who clearly has mental issues. These classmates leave him out of plans and advise new students to stay away from this guy. They attack and laugh at him for no reason other than for sick joy.
I do agree this guy shouldn’t be putting all his personal affairs on social media, but they could just leave it alone. It’s none of their business what happens in his personal life, regardless if it’s on social media.
My point is this:
As adults (18+) we should know when things are going too far. Children learn from their mistakes. As children we have all experienced bullying in some way or another. No one goes through junior high or high school without experiencing having at least one toxic friend or once being a toxic friend. If you haven’t realized that yet, then take a trip to nostalgia land to a time you felt uncomfortable about doing something you didn’t want to do, or told someone how bad an outfit looked on them. We all do it because we all experience it.
Now come back to your present day life. Are you bullying someone? Are you using someone’s pain as a joke line? Are you making their pain worse?
We all unintentionally do it sometimes, thinking what we’re doing is a social norm (which is sad). This is why we have bullying awareness. To be aware of bullying not only helps us spot bullying, it helps people change their ways.
Let’s try and make a difference and be kind to each other to stop this ongoing cycle.