Disclaimer: Though I want to keep my blogs lighthearted, sometimes you just gotta go another way.
Every morning I enjoy reading a daily blog written by Sarah Markley.
Today’s blog was about something I know way more about than I care to. And that’s bullying in schools. And I don’t find any comfort in knowing that a now beautiful and successful woman was bullied or had bullied. Knowing that somebody else went through it has never given any comfort.
For me, it’s only through the grace of God that I am able to think about my childhood without getting upset. I was cruelly tormented over a great many years. Had I been a child ten or fifteen years later than I was, I may have taken a page out of the Columbine assassins book.
I had tried being a bully once in the 6th grade, and picked on the other girl who got picked on (besides me) with the other girls who picked on her. But I couldn’t do it. I already had Jesus as my savior at this time and He blessed me with a very sensitive conscience. So, I stayed and apologized while the other girls ran off (and those other girls really gave it to me after that for apologizing).
The most distressing thing about how I was bullied though, was the fact that the cruelest girls of all were the one’s that went to my church. I still remember the worst one’s name and occasionally hope that her life just sucks about as bad as it can. But Jesus convicts me every time that happens. Then I try to pray for her…and I’m not always successful.
When we moved to a new city, before I was to begin the 9th grade and was already full of a great deal of rage (over not only being bullied, but a few other traumas that happened – perhaps I’ll talk about them some other time), I decided to change everything about me. I was going to go to the other side.
So, I changed my hair and make up, added trendier clothes with lots of funky jewelry and bore an attitude that said “Don’t f@#% with me.” I told myself that the other kids would like me if I was a tough chick. I even bullied the “oddball” boy that was in my class. There was little satisfaction and a lot of guilt that went along with that. My conscience just wouldn’t allow that kind of behavior. I don’t think I ever apologized, but I didn’t bully him for long.
Being on the other side didn’t make things any better. I still had no friends that were true. With the amount of rage in me back then, I am sometimes amazed that I didn’t kill myself. It didn’t help that another trauma, like the ones I didn’t mention earlier, happened. Someone whose name I still remember and occasionally hope he’s being gang raped in prison right now. Jesus convicts me of that one too, but it’s an easier conviction to ignore, which is something I desperately want to change. I want to love him as Jesus does. Hopefully, someday I’ll get there.
But, to get back to the point, being the bully felt no better than being bullied. And in later years, as the tough chick persona relaxed a bit but still hung on the edges of my personality, I managed to reach adulthood with a weird combination of the girl I was at first and the girl I tried to be. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel real. That is, it feels like I’m not expressing my real self to people. But then, how could I be? Those years left me with serious trust issues.
God and I have been working on those issues and we’re making progress. What makes me sad is that all that stuff happened so long ago and it affects me still. I shudder to think what I would be like if I hadn’t had Jesus in my life.
I might have been like those boys at Columbine.
I wish I could end this blog by revealing the magic cure to bullying and stop anymore children from experiencing the pain I did.
But I can’t.
The best I can do is this:
Parents, raise your children to be people of integrity. Help them to know that they are loved and worthy of love, even when they feel they aren’t. Make sure they know that. I don’t know how, but make sure they know that.