Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In honor of National Bullying Month

Thought I would talk about the times I was bullied or made fun of, that stand out vividly in my mind.

Steven D made fun of me back in probably 2nd or 3rd grade. We were in AWANA at church, a program where you learn Bible verses and play games. One Thursday night something had had happened- I think one of my tennis shoes was splitting, so I couldn't play games at AWANA if I were to wear the shoes I had on. I was at my grandma's house at the time. My dad went to Stater Brothers because they sold shoes at the time, and bought me a pair of women's canvas shoes with laces like my grandma wore. I wore them with slight embarrassment. It was a few weeks before my parents bought me new shoes- money was tight. Anyways,I went to AWANA one night, and Steven made fun of me, and that stuck for several weeks when he would ask me why I wore cheap shoes, why I wore granny shoes. He called me granny from then on- a good 2 or so years until he moved away. 

4-6th grades
Brad and Brad made fun of me for not wearing Billabong or Quicksilver back in about 4-5th grades. My mom's philosophy was she shouldn't pay to advertise the names of companies on her shirt. I could never bring myself to tell my mom that I didn't have any cool clothes and was made fun of. Instead I remember that one night we were at a thrift store for whatever reason, and I saw a green Billabong shirt that looked in relatively good condition. My mom said how ugly it was because of the logos on it, and refused to buy it. She relented after my nagging, and invested a grand total of 50 cents in the shirt. I wore it to school excitedly only to be made fun of by Brian B because it looked like it was bought at a thrift store. I was so crushed at my attempt to try to be cool and fit in. I denied it was and said that I just hand't worn it in a really long time. 

4th grade
We would line up along the portable, our classroom, which was located on the field after recess. Tommy F would always ask me if I was gay. I didn't know what the word meant at the time, and would say yes. My friends Jamey and Daniel told me to say otherwise, and when I would, I would get laughed at. I learned in 6th grade being gay meant liking guys, and I did, but by then that had been forgotten. This went on day after day- 2 or 3 times a day sometimes!

I had a lunch pail that had the initials BMS on it in 4th grade when I remembered to bring my lunch and didn't have to eat in the cafeteria. It was the initials of an education company or something my mom bought stuff from. Anyways, we would put our lunch pails at the gate of the field after lunch during recess. Brad (mentioned above), Shay, and John would make fun saying that it stands for "Break Mike's Shit," so of course my lunch pail was kicked around and hid from me EVERY FRICKIN' DAY. 

Stephanie Y and Amy L would often join in on the bullying. I still dislike both of them. 

Anyone who didn't have a BMX bike was made fun of- Brad K and Shay both had one.

I wasn't bullied in 6th grade really as Shay, Stephanie Y, Amy L, and  Brad K were in different classes. They were in the room next door with Mr. O, but I rarely saw them. 

7th Grade
Shay ended up in my CORE class- language arts and social science class. I remember Shay tried to make fun of me when I sprained my ankle about how I wasn't cool, told the kids how he made fun of me in middle school. I loved my teacher, Mrs. H, and told her that Shay used to make fun of me. She moved his seat and I guess spoke with him- he never made a comment again. 

There was also all the times I was made fun of for my name.

... And for my voice. I don't know how to describe my voice - a mix of nasally, southern, twang, with some Indiana and New York thrown in. People used to ask me when I was younger if I was from New York. I'm not. I don't say "cawfee," and words to that like. It is nasally due to all my sinus issues. And I am always mistook for ma'am on the phone. I'm not southern. I'm not a woman. Don't call me ma'am. I guess the southern comes about because of the nasal issues. I sound a lot like my dad and uncle, though. My uncle somehow has a boom to his voice that I don't have.

This was hard to write... it brought back so many memories. One thing that all of these events have done is caused me to be a little more shy, not fight, not speak up. These events caused me to go from a fun loving kid, to a kid with many things to hide, a lot of shame. These things made me not want to participate in church functions or school functions. I remember not participating in things in school like chorus because all the kids I mentioned above were in it. And who wouldn't want to get out of science class?!

So speak up. Be an advocate for those who are bullied - that's something I try daily. And I speak. I use my godawful voice, and you can't shut me up. 


fan of casey said...

This is sad, children can be so cruel, especially over superficial things. Hopefully you came out stronger and wiser, though at the time, I would imagine it was very disheartening. At a young age, you really had not yet developed adequate coping skills.

Aek said...

Mercifully I wasn't bullied much growing up. There was a tough period in 7th grade, but it passed. High school was great, as the people who would likely have bullied me were segregated away (because I was in all advance classes, haha).

I don't think children are inherently prone to being bullies or victims, but they absorb so much of what adults do around them that they then project it thinking it's normative behavior.

Dean Grey said...


First of all...(((HUGS)))!!

Thank you for sharing your childhood with us.

Kids can be so cruel, especially over such petty things.

I was made fun of in grade school for wearing velcro gym shoes, while everyone else had brand name sneakers.

In high school I was made fun of for my (higher) voice and "acting gay".

Like you, I felt I was much more outgoing and open until I was picked apart by everyone else. It made me quiet, afraid, and lacking self-confidence.

Sadly much of that still lingers with me to this day.

But as you say, being an advocate for those that need it can turn our pain into something positive.

Go you!