If you have not heard about the sad story of a girl being bullied to the point that she took her own life, you should at least skim the story. It is depressing to think that someone would take their own lives because they don’t see beyond the tormented tomorrow. I like to think of suicide as a permanent solution to a passing problem, but I know how it feels to dread going to school every morning knowing a bully is just waiting to make your life miserable. Sad part is that bullies don’t stop at high school level, some of them continue into adulthood.
Bullies are people that not only physically abuse others, but also call them names, start rumors, talk behind their backs and plant seeds on other people’s mind about the person. I had to deal with several of them growing up, thankfully one of them taught me how to deal with it.
One of my close friends in high school actually had family that lived across the street from me. We used to hang out outside of school, and one of his cousins was a good friend. However, in school we actually did not hang out because we were part of two different cliques. We would still talk, but when it came to group activities each one of us would go with our own little group. One of the guys in his group was probably one of my biggest bullies.
My friend used to play interference quite often, but there would be the opportunity that I was one on one with the bully and he would just go off. After one of the many destruction of property perpetrated on me I confronted the bully and asked him what had I ever done to him personally? His reply was simple and very accurate… “You are not a gold coin, not everyone is going to be happy to find you in their path.” While it did not explain the motivation for his constant name calling, taunting, etc, it did open my eyes at a young age about how some people are just simply not going to like you.
His words helped me heal, and I use that idea even now. People might learn something about you, or simply assume something and start disliking you. I have often been labeled arrogant because I am firm with what I believe. It does not mean that I am not open minded to ideas, but you better come with some knowledge before you try to change my mind on a subject. Even back then that was part of the problem, that I did very good at school and had a tendency to become a teacher’s pet because of my age even though I did not do anything to suck up. It did not help that one of my aunts went the same University as two of my teachers.
I have read various articles about bulling and with this sad event, more and more are popping up. I don’t know where bulling really comes from and I think its different in many situations. I think someone that is easy to isolate by being new to a group or younger as it was in my case is easy to target. I also think that it is a way for the bully to exert control on that person or on a group. A lot of bullies claim to not know they are being bullies, and I am not so sure about that.
The internet age has made it easier for kids to write garbage about one another. Even recently a Mom was involved on some MySpace drama that also ended in tragedy. There is really no accountability for the lies that can be spread in cyberspace. It is sad that our society is going that way in terms of interaction and that the “mean girls” rule the schools.
I have found many people on the road of my life that I did not find to be gold coins. The rocks in my shoe that I had to deal with for extended of periods of time have always eventually been removed. Keep that in mind when you encounter a bully, it will not be forever. I certainly dislike bullies and they are only as powerful as you make them out to be. The easiest way to deal with them is to remove that power, just simply don’t pay attention to them.
I am not sure if new laws are the answer, and I am not sure if the incarceration of teenagers will make this problem go away or simply make some people feel better because now they did something. I think our society is more comfortable with ridicule and judgment of others, than acceptance and welcoming of others.
The best thing to take power away from a bully is to have strong bonds with your friends and family. If I did not have the friends I had growing up, or a family that was there to support me through those years it would have been a lot worse for me. If you are ever in a situation where you are bullied, report it to the administration and get your parents involved. It is serious, it gets worse if you hide it. Talk to someone, because nobody has the right to call you names, or touch you in any way without your consent. Remember suicide is not a fork on the road, its a dead end. As sucky as life gets to be sometime, there will always be better days ahead.