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.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.