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Thursday, November 17, 2011

That FB Bullying Post

This may come out in a rambling mess. It may seem to be all over the place. I am not what you might call poetic or real good with words. What I am is real. The way it comes out really doesn't matte so long as the point is made, correct?

While in the shower (isn't that where we all do our best thinking?) I got to thinking about the following Facebook post:

The girl you just called fat?... She is overdosing on diet pills.
The girl you just called ugly?... She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her.
The boy you just tripped?... He is abused enough at home.
See that man with the ugly scars?... He fought for his country.
That guy you just made fun of for crying?... His mother is dying.
Put this as you're status if you're against bullying. I bet 95% of you wont re-post, but I'm sure the people with a heart will 

Now, you've probably all seen this if you have your own personal FB. You may, like me, have re-posted it. You may have also felt inclined to comment. I did.

You kmow what? I was never the popular kid, or called pretty, or felt like I fitted in BUT I had and still have some AWESOME friends! Most importantly, I'm happy with who I am and that I am just where and who God intended. BTW, you could also say I was like the tripped boy. So,

Sometimes you just gotta remember the Golden Rule, the one hardley taught anymore, Treat others as you want to be treated. Simple as that.

I left the spelling alone. I sometimes miss spelling mistakes and auto correct sometimes does, too. Those are the actual comments I made on my on re-post of this.

It took me a whole day to let it sink in. The wheels started churning. Why? When was it ever okay to make another feel bad about who they are? Never. Why then do we all do this? Yes, I have been mean to others in my youth. I used to join in teasing my youngest step sister cause she was not thin. Her nickname, Shamu. I wish I could say that was the meanest thing I ever said. It's not. I once worked with a girl who had couple kids and wasn't married. She was the brunt of jokes in the office. I barely in my 20s, maybe. I joined in. I once put a note on her desk that she had the devils baby. That, that is likely the worst thing I have ever said. Or at least the one that sticks out in my brain that I am most ashamed of. I know we all are aware of the psychology of the way this works. Those that are ridiculed feel horrible. They even sometimes ridicule others just to part of the crowd or make themselves feel better. Doesn't in anyway make it right. Maybe it just makes us human.

I hated school. I really truly did. I was picked on as far back as I can remember. I didn't have the "in" clothes. Once and only once I convinced my Daddy to buy me a pair of Guess jeans. I never ever felt like I belonged anywhere. I had some really awesome friends. I did. Very few of them ever knew what it was like at my house. How I had a single Daddy doing the very best he could and no clue how to do it. I mean, even today, what do men know about girls? Not a lot. You want a man to be uncomfortable, give him a daughter. I guarantee you it scares, pardon my language, the shit out of them. I cannot count how many times my Daddy said he knew what boys were like and what they wanted and that I shouldn't let em. I didn't have a Mom to tell me these things. The Step Mom I had could've cared less that I was prepared for life as a young lady. We had our issues, plenty of em. BUT Thank the Good Lord and Baby Jesus she was their for montly period time. I know well my Daddy did not handle training bra shopping. I am ever so grateful he didn't have to go actual bra shopping with/for me and instruct me on proper period stuff. It may be why he over looked for so very long the truth of what was going on. 

I'm not sure he ever knew what Elementary School was like. How I was called how kinds of ridiculous names and pushed around. It didn't end in Jr High or High School. It only got worse. By Jr High my Step Mom and I were visably at war. She rarely hit me. I think I was slapped in the face a few times. Never a mark that anyone could see. But oh how she liked to demean me in even the smallest way. She made me feel bad about being part of the National Junior Honor Society. I gave it up. She constantly wondered why I was such a bad girl at home but an angel at school. The meanest things she ever said to me still have the power to make me shake and cry and now, angry. Like how dare she say those things. Who gave her the right to speak like that? I don't think having 4 daughters and a previous marriage gave her that right. 

What two things did she say to me that I vividly recall? I'll tell you.

  • I hope you end up just like your Mother! 

As most of you are aware my Mother commited suicide when I was 5mos old way back in 1978. Compared to what is known today about the abuse cycle, Postpartum Depression, and Post Postpartum Psychosis they knew nothing. She was a casuality of it all. Her story is not mine to tell publicly. Let's just say, I know why she met that end. How she could get to the place where that was what she thought she had to do. 
  • If you weren't such an awful girl that would never have happened to you. Don't tell your Daddy. No one deserves to die for what is only your fault.
This has to really be the worst. As what this refers to is the fact I finally stood up to her. Told her my life away in the children's home was not all sunshine and rainbows nor was the months I spent living with the pastor of our church at the time. God help me and him if I ever see him. I wish I had listened to those friends who told me to tell someone that he sexually abused me. I still have never told my Daddy. As sick as he is and has been I know what he thinks of men, if you can call em that, like that and what he'd do. I cannot tell you how many more years it took me to tell another soul about that or to be able to say it is not and was not my fault. I was 14 for crying out loud! I was a very dumb, naive 14 year old. It took me even longer to be comfortable and happy with who I am. For years, I wondered why it happened and why no one seemed to care what happened to me. I know my Daddy did. As the other sick thing my Step Mom did was make my Daddy think I was heading down the same road as my Mom. That right there has got to be the most evil. I never once considered that path. Maybe briefly but then I knew what losing Mom had done. I knew my Daddy wouldn't survive another such incident. I know that when she died she apologized to my Daddy for it all. I wish she had to me but I could barely stand to visit my Daddy after I left home.

I can say that all this made me stronger. Probably even allows me to parent Sean and understand a bit his mind set. I may never fully get what it's like to be him and have compulsions to do or say things you don't understand and others understand less. To try not to be that parent who makes it worse in any way. To tell my kids when I am sorry for yelling at them for no good reason other than I am irritated. Some thing that's going a bit far. I see it as teaching my kids we are all imperfect beings and it's okay to admit it when you're wrong.

That FB post? It got me to thinking about this. How we may never really know what is going on in another's life. We don't really need to unless they are our friends and family and need to talk or just need someone to listen.

I am happy bullying is taken so seriously. A kid should be able to tell someone that another is bullying them without being told not to tattle. A kid, even a HS kid, should not have to feel like they have no where to turn or that they have to fight all their own battles. Schools should be safe places. Everyone their should just be able to get along and learn. Treat others as they want to be treated.

Which brings me back to why do kids feel like they need to be mean to others? Who taught them that? I sometimes wonder how those people who felt the need to torment me are doing now. Did they get over it and are super nice people now? Do they feel bad for all the hurt they caused, knowingly or unknowingly? OR do they still retain all that meanness and then some and have passed it on to a new generation? Often I think, from no actual experiences, that bullies are likely being bullied by an adult and bullying others is how they feel in control. 

I don't have a happy extended family. I was not a part of my family for long. I know my younger cousins and have happy memories. But, I really do not know who they are now. Hell, when I went to my Grandma B's funeral, I had no idea how to act. What to say or do. I want so badly to be a part of that family but do not know how. The two sides of my family have seemingly to me been at war. Neither really has a good word to say about the other. I sometimes do not think they even care it is me they may say these things to. The one caught in the middle. The one that ties the two sides together, no matter how frayed that tie is.

I teach my kids that any name calling is wrong and hurtful. I ask them how would they feel if someone said or did that to them. They slip as we all do but they are good kids and try their best. One of the worst things I think ever is being ashamed my kid called my BFF fat. Which is funny to me now cause his Daddy is no light weight and he wants to be just like his Daddy. He and I had a chat and he did apologize to my BFF. He may not get it now but someday he will. 

It made me remember teasing my Step Sister. I had no right to tease her. I think the only reason I did and the only reason we are not close is that poking at her was my way of getting at her Mom. Not right, I know. I don't understand my youngest Step Sister and do not approve of the way she's been going through life. But it is her life. If she is a bit rough and takes offense easily, really life has made her that way and she doesn't feel inclined to be better. Or something like that. That's not to say we don't have good memories, we do. Just not many. I'm not a real relation of hers and have no place telling her what is what. I do keep things civil these days. Neither of us had an easy life and part of hers was worse than mine. 

I know my BFF is one of the bestest people ever! Boy have we ever been through some storms. I know she's struggled with her weight forever. We both joke about how thin I am and how she isn't. Good naturedly, of course. Thing is, I think I am not thin. Shocking, no? I just tell her that good jeans and tee shirts can hide a lot. I know she worries about her daughter. She is not dainty. But God love that little girl she is so comfortable with who she is. I pray it may always be so.

I felt like that ugly girl. The one never called pretty. The one who desperately did all she could to fit in. Try this style or that. Do my hair this way or that. OH GOD! Daddy won't let me dye my hair! I have grey at's over? Why oh Why do I have all this darned hair in places it doesn't belong and he won't let me do anything about it! If he would let me call boys or even date, I could be more liked! I thought those were the worst things ever. But then it was only a drop in the bucket compared to other things I lived and saw. Now, now I know there are way worse things in life than a strict parent.

Another form of bullying in my book, silence and rewriting the past to suit you. I've never lied to anyone about my past. I hope telling my story helps someone somewhere. I could not even fathom making this crap up and enough people saw it to testify that I speak true. Others, just want to sleep better at night and forget the ugliness ever happened. It did happen. My Mom killed herself. She did so for reasons I only vaguely understand. I was abused emotionally and verbally by my 2nd Step Mom for years. Abused sexually by a pastor of our church. It's a freaking miracle I am alive to say so. It's also a miracle it didn't break me and make me a shadow of myself.

I don't know if knowing any of this would've made people think twice about being mean to me. I really hope that those kids who tormented me turned out to be better people in the end. I hope they are not teaching their kids to continue being bullies of any sort. We are all different and have different roads through life. Some of us even have to travel rough roads all through the school years. I do feel bad for the mean things I said and did to people and they may never know it. I hope I am a better example to my kids. That I am teaching them to be nice even when it's hard. To stand up for themselves by telling someone rather than fighting with the one bothering you. 

I think I got it all out. I hope it makes a difference to someone somewhere who thinks their life is worthless. No life is worthless. Not one single one. It matters to someone. Who you are and what you do makes impressions you cannot even begin to see or understand.