I’ve been through a lot in my life but you wouldn’t know it unless you read my blog, or I decided to share with you. I’ve lived my life to be a kind, honest, and caring person. I was taught to be loving and patient even when others were not. I was taught to protect the weak and vulnerable, and cheer for the underdog. I’ve learned to turn the other cheek, and push through the pain and turn it into power.
When I became a victim of bullying it turned my world upside down. I lived in a very small community so if anyone found out you were doing things outside of this bubble you became local gossip fodder. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong I was hanging out with my cousin in a bigger town, going to hockey games, and dating a hockey player. When the kids in my school heard about these things it became a mission to tear me down for having a life outside of my country existence. I can’t even begin to describe what I went through day in and day out with the taunting, teasing, and bullying.
I was only thirteen and the things I had to hear, defend, and ignore about myself were devastating. There was a group of boys and they had a ring leader and he made it his mission to make my life miserable. I wasn’t ugly, mean, ignorant, or self righteous but he was. He had everyone convinced that I was gutter trash and wasn’t worth the kindness of a smile, pat on the back, or acknowledgement for any talent. I was a volleyball player and I was good at my sport. I had all these girls from my grade and one above as my team mates. But no one spoke to me except my coach and my assistant.
If my lead bully saw anyone talking to me then they would suffer his wrath as well. So no one dared incur that, and it was easier to make rude comments or ignore me completely. I still continued to play volleyball and I had a couple friends that would talk to me and be seen in public with me, that were in a grade below me. This disgusting, defeating, behaviour only occurred in my classroom. In between classes I could mix in with the swarm of other kids filling up the hallway to get to their next classes. I enjoyed that anonymity even with however brief it was. There was this time I went to my locker before gym and had noticed that it had been tampered with.
Someone had splashed something on it and smeared across the door was the words bitch slut! I was born and raised Catholic so I was the furthest from those derogatory terms. I opened up my locker and saw my binders had all been opened up and papers were everywhere, and my wallet was also missing. I was pissed off and I felt the hot, salty, tears run down my face. My teacher came up behind me and told me to go to the office to report it, so I did. Then I walked out to gym class and in between there and the school was a corridor and I sat there on the steps, trying to process my anger. I had my head in my hands wondering what I was going to do I was ready to cry again, when I felt I was being watched. I looked up and this girl who was a fair weather friend came up to me. She leaned over and said “I saw your locker and it’s too bad that you didn’t get your wallet back, I guess you won’t need this anymore!”
It suddenly clicked in my head that she was responsible as she was holding a picture of my boyfriend in his hockey gear. I flew across the stairs and grabbed her and started punching her in the face. I then grabbed and pushed her into a wall and started banging her face off it. She was frantically trying to fight back but I was possessed with a rage of a thousand moments of being bullied. Classes were ending and people started coming through the corridor. I was still punching and kicking and she began crying and screaming for someone to help her.
Suddenly the principal was there and he was pulling me off of her. He was shocked as well as the school secretary, who always knew me as being kind. This wasn’t the same girl who walked into the school and said good morning to all the staff. In the office, passing them in the hallway, and each of their classrooms. I had attended this school system since Kindergarten so I knew everyone very well. I had to sit in detention with the bitch/thief and she sat there with an ice pack over her eye and glared at me, as we faced each other across the room.
I still wanted to bash her face in as she looked at me smugly as our parents were called to come pick us up. My Dad was working and my Mom didn’t drive, and I refused to go anywhere with my Step Mom so I sat in the office the rest of the day. I had to write out an apology letter to my victim and I was still very angry so I remember wording it as I’m sorry you couldn’t defend yourself after you broke into my locker. I’m sorry that you were such a bitch and I had to kick your ass and I got caught. I was suspended for five days and my Mom sent me to my Grandparents so I could have a break from our community gossip circle jerk.
I welcomed it, attended church, looked after the garden, and helped my Gram with meals. She knew I wasn’t a bad kid I was just tired of being bullied. I just wanted to live my life and not hurt anyone. Enjoy seeing my boyfriend play hockey games, go to his house for homemade Italian meals while his Grandma said “mange, mange your’e too skinny.” While I was at my Grandparents I saw a lot of him. He lived not too far away and he’d walk up and meet me after school. I also went to church and asked God to forgive me for my sins, anger, and bad temper. I was taught by my parents that I didn’t start a fight, but I sure finished one if it was brought to my side of the equation. I didn’t get punished from them as I think they were surprised that their sweet, smiling, studious, daughter finally snapped. The victim that had taken the ignorance, defamation, and horrendous behaviour for a year became the bully.
This is not something I’m proud of but I’m neither ashamed. I feel compassion for that confused, hurt, pissed off, teenager I was. I learned my lesson and today I’m a stronger, capable, and confident adult. I don’t let anyone step on my feelings or crush my spirit. I know when situations and people aren’t good for me as I trust my intuition a lot more. Now knowing my own child had to experience being teased, hit, and bullied, has ignited the fire of that child I was. I’ve advocated with the office administration, his teacher, and have even reprimanded his bully. I will not let the sins of the Mother, visit the son.
I teach both of my son’s to stand up for themselves, don’t instigate the fight, but definitely protect themselves. Now in the school system students use the W.I.T.S. program. The acronym stands for walk away, ignore, talk to someone, seek help. Since my son has been playing hockey he’s more confident in himself. And no one gets away with hitting him, teasing him, or bullying him. I will be that parent on the playground watching and waiting and he knows that I have his back always. My cup of compassion runs over with my children, and I am that Mama bear protecting my cubs. But my patience bucket is empty when it comes to bullies, their lack of intelligence, their own self hatred, and fear of not measuring up in society. So I pass down the golden wisdom to my kids that my beloved Mama would always say to me, “love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” I’m spending more of my time doing this. It’s so easy to get wrapped up into who we were in the past. The true courage is surviving that, and thriving with that knowledge in the present. ❤️