Hi, my name is Simon Tremblay, I'm 33 and I've been bullied and intimidated during 5 grueling years from 2nd grade to 7th grade ( skipped a grade ).
My story begins in 2nd grade, but if you really want to understand it completely, I have to rewind back to 1st grade and the ensuing events in the summer between 1st and 2nd grade. Back in 1st grade, I was the so called "alpha male" of the group at our rural school in Canada. I used my status to protect the weak, make people laugh and make sure a certain modicum of justice was respected in our group. I had everything, genius grade IQ, supportive parents, great friends, the girls undivided attention and the respect of the group as a leader. But as you might've guessed, it didn't last...
Fast forward to summer between 1st and 2nd grade, I'm in my parents bedroom, watching recorded comics on VHS tapes. My cousin, who shall remain anonymous, barges in from the rear door of the house, rushes in the kitchen and out the front door. Back then, I had no idea what this meant... I would only find out much, much later.
Its now the beginning of 2nd grade, they had to merge our class with the 3rd graders, we went from a 2nd grader group of 25 students to 11. I didn't know what happenned, all I know is that all of a sudden, most of my friends were gone and our group was left with only a handfull which had to be merged with the 3rd graders class. My cousin was among us. I used to be able to protect him. Unbeknownst to me, those days were over.
For no apparent reason that I could decipher at this young age, all of a sudden, not only I had lost the respect of my classmates, the attention of the girls and my status as a wise and just leader. I was being ostracized, ignored, feared, ridiculed, beaten, intimidated and everytime I wanted to act on natural impulses to approach a girl in our class, it would get even worse! The teachers didn't do anything. The direction didn't do anything, well no, that's not entirely true, I heard later that each time one of them was sent to the director's office "because of me", the director gave them money to "behave". Yeah, I know that you're rolling your eyes right now.
It went on for 5 years... It affected every aspect of my life, and transformed me completely. After 5 years, I couldn't recognize myself at all. The sun was gone, the magic, the joy of life, all gone. Even years later I have a very hard time being able to let myself go with women, I've only been able recently to let myself go in private and enjoy and share our love the way we all naturally learn to share and cherish it. Later, MUCH LATER, without any help, I have finally been able to put a name on it. Complex post traumatic stress disorder. Its the same thing family incest victims experience, or war veterans.
Let's rewind a bit. You know when my cousin rushed in the kitchen to flee through the front door? He was fleeing from my grandfather who had just attempted to abuse him sexually. Back then, in the 80's, the belief of children abuse is that it was a disease that was passed on in the family from father to son, which grew up to be a children molester and gave the disease to his son, and so on.
So in between 1st and 2nd grade. I had already been labeled a child molester by the community. The mother of my cousin had spoken and warned everyone about my grandfather, without knowing that this would result in hell for me AND for her son. You see, up until 1st grade I had been able to protect her son which was picked on at school because he was a slow learner and a bit introverted. But no more... Not only had most of the parents of the childrens in my class fled the community for fear of this thing being "contagious", but the parents who stayed told their childrens: "This kid is dangerous, he's a monster, never let him approach you or a girl!"
Now you can begin to understand how all hell broke loose. And you can partly begin to decipher how this kind of thing is triggered. Parenting is key, debunking myths is key, having a proactive approach is key. Fear is the enemy.
A bit less than 30 years later, my cousin still hasn't recovered at all. He's addicted to drugs and has suicidal tendencies. I managed to finally escape the drugs out of sheer intellectual will and luck. I finally managed to begin to enjoy life again and stopped thinking about suicide as an option.
But, this isn't the end of my story you see... Back in 6th grade, I must've been maybe 9 or 10 year old. I hatched a plan to get rid of my bullies at school. the ones who made my life a living hell. Who made me don't want to go to bed during the week so I could have a longer break from them by not sleeping. I'm still insomniac. The ones who each time when even only 1 out of them all ( and they were numerous ), was sick and couldn't go to school. I remember how happy I was those days because I knew that my day would be just a little bit easier. A little bit more peacefull.
Anyway, I hatched a plan, I knew what to do. I was going to kill them, during playtime with a rifle. Sounds familiar? Can you imagine a 9-10 year old kid arranging everything, to how he would bring the rifle in the night and where to hide it. When to act, etc. TO KILL HIS BULLIES? CAN YOU IMAGINE IT? I can barely imagine it myself and I was this kid!
By sheer stroke of luck tho, one thing came and threw a wrench in my plans. A loving soul, the only friend in my class that I had in those 5 years who showed me respect and didn't judge me or label me or ostracize me. He showed me, without being conscious of it at all that the whole world wasn't entirely comprised of cruel people who didn't care.
Now you see, when I see school shootings now, I have a very special point of view regarding the issue. I don't see it as a kid "gone berserk" or "gone mad". I see it, them. for what they are, symptoms of a sick society which is badly in need of an upgrade of its psychosocial system. From fear, to compassion. From denial, to understanding. From bullies, to loving souls.
I share this so the kids who are being bullied right now know that there is light at the end of the so called tunnel. I live a happy life now, even despite the symptoms I still endure to some degree, but which are fading as I work on them.
I share this so that kids who are around those who are being bullied know that you can play a role, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I share this so the parents of kids who are being bullied and the parents of the bullies understand that they can also choose to have a role to play. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I share this so that the officials at school, at the government and elsewhere understand that you too also have a crucial role to play. YOU TOO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
TOGETHER, WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.