Late Bloomer

People who know me now, as an adult, have a very hard time imagining me as an extremely shy, quiet little girl.  I loved school, loved everything about it, loved learning and loved reading; then I learned that other kids really hate quiet, smart, or different kids.  I learned that lesson from about 6th grade on, taught to me daily by my peers, mostly girls, but then the boys would join in.  I always tried to ignore the taunts, the faces, the jeering; I decided that maybe if I stayed out of their way, kept my head down, kept to myself, it would stop.  Of course, I was also scared and intimidated, and by no means confrontational.  I can't even count how many times Vicki chased me home from school.  I never ever told anyone; I couldn't imagine the nastiness getting worse.  I was a late bloomer, and didn't even try to stand up for myself; it became easier for me in high school (we graduated from 8th grade; elementary school was K-8), and then went to H.S. in the nearby town, so there were a LOT more kids.  It was like starting over for me.  I came out of my shell little by little, and made some very good friends, restoring my belief in people.  I left the others in the dust; never looked back.  Even now, 35 years later, with the explosion of social media, I still refuse to acknowledge those that tormented me.  I find it unbelievable that they actually continue to send me friend requests, and try to approach me and speak to me at reunions, etc.!  My feeling? I don't need your "friendship" now-that little girl who stuffed so much inside to act like nothing was wrong? She REALLY needed a friend.

As an adult, and now as a mom, I refuse to ignore bullying. I refuse to remain disengaged, and blissfully unaware.  I have to be the anti bullying role model for my child! He needs to see me stepping in, and speaking up when I see something that is wrong, not just hear me giving lip service.  I encourage him always to stand by the kid that is being picked on.  

I still remember exactly how I felt all those years ago-the embarrassment, the pain, the loneliness.  It's amazing how fresh it still feels.  I want to spare all kids from feeling that way.  And so, I get involved. He has seen me step in; he has seen me speak up, and he has seen me get told off.  The important thing is that he has seen me ACTUALLY doing something.

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