I often get asked how I deal with my past issues. I don’t often discuss these things with others, but people in my hometown know me well. They could not understand for the life of them how I managed to keep my marbles in tact…Seriously! I had a crazy childhood! I know many that had a hell of a lot worse, but mine was unique in that I lived in Bedlam, TX! Anyway, that’s what I called my house.
I won’t go into details. Those are unimportant since that is the past. The only thing the past can do is throw up pictures into your memory. Those things cannot hurt you. I had to let go of mine. I can tell you all personally that the hardest thing to do is the very first step I had to take, and that was to forgive people one by one.
You see, there was a big difference in being bullied then, as opposed to being bullied nowdays…When I was a kid, I got even. If they bullied me to do their term papers–I did them alright! I made sure they got nothing but “F’s” too. I took a few beatings for it, but it was worth it. They didn’t have me to another one because I told them I would do exactly the same thing. I was dismissed as being “crazy” by that bunch. I fought with brains more than anything else.
There was a boy in particular who was on the track team who used to make crude sexual remarks to several of us–one at a time of course. Sometimes he would push us down. Other times if we were wearing a skirt, he tried to lift it or pull it down in the hallway. We started talking one day. NONE of us knew the others were bullied by this idiot until one day in PE class one girl brought it up and we all began discussing the problem. Our solution: We decided to make sure he got a dose of what he dished out–together!
The coach wasn’t watching one day and we dragged him down into the theatrical prop room. In our school, costumes, make-up and every thing was kept in that place. Four of us held him down while the other three stripped him down to his boxers, put a dress and petticoat on him and colored his lips with red lip stick–the kind that is hard to wash off. I don’t know HOW the hell we got away with this, but we took his clothes and scattered them all over the front lawn of the school! He had to go out there all dressed up in his frock to get them too!
He never revealed who did it, and he never bothered any of us again either. We know his fellow team mates on the track team laughed at him for DAYS! NOW a bully is liable to get killed or injured severely. I don’t think anyone would dispute that even in our day we would wonder what life would be like if those bullies “died or disappeared”. The difference is, we knew it was wrong to actually kill someone and feared the consequences back then.
Now I fear that young people have no such fear and some have no conscience either judging by what is filling up our juvenile justice centers. I am not joking when I say I feel that most of our generation merely fantasized about killing the bullies or making them disappear…When did it become okay in our culture to allow these kids to cross that line between right and wrong? Even if one is a bully, kids should be taught at an early age that MURDER is wrong. Period! I get really tired of some type of “disorder” getting credit for everything wrong imaginable in society anymore.
Now were the actions the group I was with took “wrong”? Yes, they were. Were they abusive? Yes because of the humiliation he felt. Granted, at the time, we felt vindicated for how he made us feel, but we still felt an emptiness there…I think that emptiness came from the fact that getting “even” changes nothing about what has already happened. On top of that, we proved we were no better than he was–but my cousins would have literally beat him to a pulp if we’d told them about it and we would have felt even worse. Does that make it okay? No it does not. And people will say, “Awww you guys were just kids being kids.” Really? OH REALLY? Hmmm…Nowdays “Kids being kids” can lead to abuse, murders and suicides. If you don’t believe me watch the news and the talk shows that deal with the subject of bullying! It is out of control, people!
Having the ideals of right and wrong on THIS subject instilled in me in the seventh grade made it easier to forgive others. If one cannot forgive others, they cannot move forward because anything from the past for which we harbor a grudge will poison our present every time–we just don’t realize it until later. As I said earlier, forgiveness is that hardest first step that we have to take, but it can be done. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to let things go–especially if we are the ones who were abused, taken advantage of or whatever the case might be.
It can be done though–one day at a time–one issue at a time.