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Monday, September 26, 2011

Bullies in My Life

Last week a tragedy occurred. A child ended his life because of bullies. Jamie Rodemeyer was only 14 years old. He recored a YouTube video as part of the "It Gets Better Project" aimed at reassuring gay youths that life improved once high school was finished. Sadly for him it wasn't getting any better.

I know how he felt, I was bullied in elementary school and junior high. Not because of my sexuality though, it was because I was different. I was unsure of myself and awkward. I was a geek or a nerd. I was the picked on kid. By the time I was in my last year of junior high it was bad. I had one friend, and I am proud to say we are still friends today. I don't have many good memories of those years. My homework was stolen, I was tripped in the hall, students spit in my hair, and I was often made fun of. It wears at you and drags you down.

Add to that my problems at home. I was a teenager and my father and I were often at each others throats. Today looking back I can recognize the emotional abuse, he was mean and often called me horrible names. He was very similar to my husband today. I gravitated right to someone who had a similar personality. I don't think I was happy very often back then.

Honestly it occurred to me. The thought of if I die the hurt will go away. I didn't go there, I can't even tell you why. Why does one person have the thought and commit suicide and another doesn't? Why? I know how much the rejection of your peers can haunt you for years. It was bad enough that I did take action. Nothing exciting, in fact it was just a simple question. But with that question I took my stand and started to climb out of the pit I was in. I needed a new start, I asked my parents if I could go to a Catholic high school. I don't think I ever told them why.

I did try to talk to adults about it. I talked to my fifth grade teacher, and she tried to help me. It didn't help, maybe because decades ago it wasn't viewed as the problem it is today. I tried again in junior high and again it didn't help. But in high school I found a support structure to help me and give me some hope.

It was the friars. They helped me climb out of my shell. They knew I had closed myself off from others. They didn't know why at first. Combining that with a new group of peers who I didn't trust, but they didn't know me and didn't bully me. I started to get to know some of them and actually made some friends.

The friars allowed me to open up to them when I was ready and they helped me understand that I wasn't useless and I wasn't nobody. They helped me grow and find my voice. They helped me trust people again. All it takes sometimes is someone who allows you to be you and before you know it you are out of that pit and start filling in the hole to stay out of it.

Of course I found another bully and sadly I married him. Now I am filling in that hole again. I am hard wired to find people like that I think because that is how I grew up. I worry about my children, I don't want them to fall into the same pattern. School now is different. There is such a large network to stop bullies and a safety net for those who might get bullied. Still bullying happens and children are killing themselves because of it. I will do all I can to stop it and I hope you will too.

What would my life have been like if I wasn't bullied? I won't dwell on it, but still I wonder. Now I am aware of that glitch in my brain and I will do all I can to keep it from happening again. No more bullies in my life.


  1. Bullying is such an issue, and needs to be taken very seriously. It can lead to many things if not taken care of. This is a great post. Thank you.

  2. I hope that you find the courage to leave your husband. It is a hard thing to do but do it for the sake of your children! Not only are you being hurt your children are hurting as well and this will affect them. Please find a network of others and get the support that you need.