I have several posts that I have been wanting to finish from my time in Colombia, but the various medical things put my mind in other things during the last week. Then a post from Nuke brought one of the topics back into focus.
During high school back in Colombia even though I was chubby I was still one of the smallest kids in our class and certainly the youngest. While I don’t consider every one of my classmates a bully I was a very easy target. There were a couple of people that really made my life miserable and sometimes I have wondered if I ever saw them face to face now as an adult if I would confront them, if it would be worth it.
I had the chance to see a couple of my classmates during my trip back to Colombia, and while we were exchanging e-mails some of them brought back the old names we used to call each other. Some of them were very offended by them and I certainly understood were they were coming from. Those days bring back some dark memories for me along with the good ones.
While someone could argue that everyone got picked on at one point or another, I was mercilessly picked on during 6 years with that group of people. It went from simply having my book bag hidden to the desk that my Dad had to buy for me (each person brought their own to the school) completely torn apart and even attempted to be set on fire. The physical abuse was not as often, but it did happen and it was probably the most frustrating because I just could not defend myself against some kids that were 4 years my seniors.
In Colombia you are with your classmates all the time, the teachers come to your classroom rather than you going to theirs with different groups of people. Most of my classmates were with me for the whole 6 years and we were all in the same classroom year after year.
Maybe it was the whole all boys school, or just that we were a bad group from the beginning, I remember we got in trouble more than any other group in our school. One of the meanest things that they ever did was our yearbook. While I was used to the stupid comments, to have something very vile written about you for your family to read was truly embarrassing. Even though I was not the only victim and many of my classmates had some incriminating and personal attacks written about them, it was still something that at the time hurt.
I healed from all of that. Moving here to the U.S. gave me the opportunity to start at a new school where the bullies I encountered were gang members that wanted to physically hurt me but were more at part with my size, that and my best friend in high school was pretty big and always had my back. I developed a sense of being very protective to those around me and I despise others taken advantage of someone weaker either physically or mentally. That is one of the main reasons for picking up a dragon as the tattoo I now have in my arm, because to me it represents many things and one of them is protecting others. Some of my college friends can tell you how far I will go when protecting a friend.
One of my classmates from back in high school was a very quiet boy. Extremely intelligent and someone that I learned a lot about chess from. We were never extremely close during those times, but I knew who he was and liked him a lot. I did not know that he was picked on, and did not know how much the words in that year book had hurt him. It has been over 15 years since those days and he is still very angry at the people that wrote it. I have written it off as it was immature boys doing immature things; he in the other hand still holds a grudge.
We had an awesome time when we got together and talked about a lot of things, but it was not until later when I posted some of the pictures I took that the comments back and forth between old classmates turned ugly. It was sad in many ways, but I think the pain is real, I think the need to feel respected back then and now are probably the same, I think some of the wounds never healed.
I am glad some of those wounds for me as simple scars now, but again I am not perfect and if I encountered one of the bullies that physically abused me back then I am not sure if I would be the better man or not… I hope so. So when Nuke talked about being a bully to another bully I was torn… between cheering him on for taking on a bully to others and understanding that he does not want to become what he is trying to fight against.