It seems to me that within the last year or so things have really changed in our world. Let's be honest: since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 we, as a nation, have had more ups and downs then we care to count. We also have had an astounding amount of technological development in the last 11 years or so. These advances are great as they have enabled us new ways to network, socialize, work, learn, play, and all of that jazz, but unfortunately, despite all the great advantages to being a connected world there's one large drawback. As human beings, especially in our formative years, theres always the person, or people, that somehow manages to get off on bullying another individual, be it at school shoving them into a locker or making fake social networking profiles. The behavior is the same, although the methods have changed significantly. With in the last year or so there's been several suicides committed by young men and women who had been "cyber-bullied"as it has been dubbed. I know this is jumping on the band wagon but believe me when I say it gets better. Eventually everyone matures and gets over themselves.
I wish it was that simple. The existence of the WBC or the KKK should be proof enough that some bullies never get over it. I want to talk to all of you recipients of bullying for a moment though. Trust me when I say i know how it feels to be bullied.. I think for the first time in my life I want to speak out on the subject.
In school, at least from first grade onward, I had to deal with the cold hard truth, not everyone in the world is not nice. I moved to my current now from a another, slightly smaller town a bit north of here, just after kindergarten. That was the one time I was truly happy: kindergarten. We had a class of twenty some kids and there was one bad seed in that group, and even he was just merely mischievous and not hateful. On the last day of kindergarten my family was swept down here and that's when the rose colored glasses came off. I'll never forget my first day of school: I walked in, found the desk with my name on it and sat down. There was a kid in the desk next to me who attempted to explain to me that I couldn't sit there because he didn't like me. In second grade I needed to get glasses as I wasn't blessed with great vision and that just opened a whole new can of worms. If I had a nickel for every time I was called "four eyes" I could retire now at age 19.
Third grade brought on my next joyous encounter in the form of a bully who would torment me for years to come with the classic exploits of stabbing me in the arm with a pen and hitting me in the head with a book.. There were others kids, the ones who thought they ruled, who even went as far as telling the vice principals I had made various threats in middle school to try and get me detentions I didn't deserve. The saying goes "high school are the best four years of your life". Please understand that isn't true.. Before I get to that though, I'd like to share a story from middle school about the time I got stoned, and I ain't referring to smoking pot. It was a recess after lunch in a big open courtyard with a pond and a dirt area. On this day in particular there was a short staff of teachers so a group of kids thought it would be funny to corner me at a wire fence and hurl stones at me. I realize that they were damn near pebbles and did little to no damage but it's the principal, and what it signifies.
So on to high school. I think freshmen year was pretty much the only year I didn't want to put a bullet in my brain at some point. Sophomore year became something else. I made friends with a former bully of mine, I got myself a girlfriend, life was going good. If you know me, you know what happens next. If you don't, I see no reason to bring the whole story up in a public forum, at least in respect to the ex girlfriend, as we are able to be peaceful with each other if we ever see each other in public, or talk in any capacity. As for the friend, once a bully always a bully. Case closed. Junior year was just as awful as the dust hadn't cleared from the year prior and then senior year I learned what trust really is. I learned not to take sympathy on someone as there are people sick and twisted enough in this world to fake being in need to take advantage of the generous. The only highlight of that year was that I was able to get myself a second girlfriend who's managed to stay with me for the last year. In a moment I'll explain why that's a shock, though first I want to say I know what it's like to be cyber bullied. There's a profile on MySpace of me that I had no part in the creation of. It's about me and it's hurtful. To this day when I see the page to show someone I ball my eyes out in tears from the memories that seeing it brings back. Don't be afraid to be who you are.
The reason I'm in shock that my better half has stuck around the last year though is because bullying has an affect on people. If you are a bully, short term it seems great: torment the kid who vomits at the sight of mayonnaise to get a quick laugh. What most bully's don't realize is that the victims are forever effected. Things like trust are non existent. It's those exact reasons that I chose to speak out tonight on bullying. My paranoia kicked in and I just wanted to reach out because I know that theres others out there going through a lot worse than I am. What I'm trying to say is this: if you are being bullied and are depressed or suicidal, reach out and get help. As a friend once put it "if you kill yourself, they win". Don't give them the satisfaction. Likewise, if you are a bully, back off. You aren't damaging your victim for a day or a week, your hurting them for life. With time, eventually, even these wounds heal. Don't give up hope though. I'll open the comments to discussion but if it turns hurtful I will need it. If anyone needs to reach out I'm opening an email address to this: send any messages or questions to me through my about.me profile. You can find that at http://about.me/hollywoodlights1992 and I'll try to respond through that. With my next post this blog will return to my normal format but this needed to be said.
It gets better.