Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Bully

Bullying is all over the news now.  They act like it's new.  Like this is the first generation of kids being bullied.  Uh... it's not.  I was bullied.  BIG time.  By a kid name Vince.  I was a freshman and he was a senior.  We rode the same bus home.  #6.  In the morning I had seminary so I didn't see Vince.  But everyday, without fail, we met on the bus for the ride home.  I guess we were both going for Perfect Attendance.  Vince made fun of me for one reason.  I liked the blond boys from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Hanson.  MmmBop, baby.  This is the reason Vince started his browbeating.  Dumb,  huh?  Everyday he would taunt me for liking Hanson and how Hanson was "gay" and they were "faggots" and I was "really stupid" for liking them.  He bothered me so much.  One day he even wore a Hanson t-shirt.  That hurt my feelings.  Looking back, Vince was a senior who rode the bus (not cool Vince) and picked on a skinny freshman no name girl because of the music she listened to.  I don't get the motivation.  But that's probably because I am such a kind hearted human being.  I don't know what happened but one day it reached a point where I couldn't take it anymore.  I had tried ignoring it.  I tried just slinking down in my seat.  Even when I did Vince would intimidate me.  I got off the bus and cried.  I cried my whole walk home.  It was only about a block.  When I got inside my mom wanted to know what was wrong.
"I hate Vince!"
Mom didn't like us to use the word hate.  In fact, we weren't allowed to say stupid, hate, kill, shut up, or sucks.  I was sobbing as I told my mom the whole story.  How everyday Vince made me feel dumb and small and I hated him so much. 
Mom told me that Vince probably needed a friend.  She explained that a lot of bullies don't have any friends and that by picking on people they can connect in some way.  My mom told me that my best plan of attack would be to try to become friends with Vince.  No one picks on their friends, right?  She said that the next day on the bus I should ask Vince questions about himself.  Let him know that I cared about him and wanted to be his friend.
I was so relieved.  I wouldn't be picked on anymore!  Vince and I were going to be friends!  All I had to do was ask him questions about himself.  How easy is that? 
I still remember what I wore that day.  I wore my pink pinstripe shirt Uncle Victor gave me and light jeans that flared a little at the bottom.  I borrowed a pair of brown "cool" shoes from Julie.  I couldn't wait for the bus ride home.
I was on the bus before Vince as usual.  He came home and smacked all the seats as he passed.  "Hey loser." He smirked at me and took his seat at the back of the bus.  It didn't even bother me- "Hi Vince!" I said with all the cheeriness and sugar in the world.  He stared at me.  Then he gave me a disgusted look.  I was still smiling.  "What the heck* are you smiling at?"
"I'm just happy to see you today.  I am glad you are on the bus.  I wanted to ask you a few questions."
Vince got this smile on his face.  "Well, go ahead."  And he gestured his hand across his body as if to welcome me metaphorically into his life.
I was in!  I was going to be able to ask him my questions and we would be friends forever and I would show him how to be nice and nobody would ever be tortured by Vince again. 
"Well," I began, "What's your favorite color?"

If you are thinking this ends happily ever after- and me and Vince became friends and he changed his ways and softened his heart and loved every living creature after I ake him what his favorite colors was.   You would be terribly wrong.

"What's my favorite f'ing* color?  Are you kidding me?  You're f'ing* asking me what my favorite color is?  You're out of your mind!  Turn around!  Don't look at me!  Don't ask me questions!"

The berating continued as I turned around with tear-filled eyes, slipped as low as I could in my seat,  and muttered... "Do you have a favorite TV show?"

Ultimate humiliation.

Bullying is not new.  I was bullied and I told my mom.  She didn't go to the news stations or the principal.  And I'm not saying that is wrong.  But I was able to tell my mom there was a problem.  She was available and had a viable solution... even though it didn't work. Maybe these kids now aren't going to their parents.  How do you make sure your kids talk to you?  I have no idea and that scares me.  Kole jabbers all the time now.  I can't get him to zip it up usually.  But, I know, one day (when he's not 8 months old) that won't be the case.  And if it was that scary for me when I was in high school it's worse now.  I'm sure of it.  But I think it can be stopped.

Are you wondering how it ended with me and Vince?

I have found him on Facebook.
His favorite color is pink.


George and Ginger said...

Sorry that advice didn't work...but I still think he needed a friend

~Kayla~ said...

ha ha! Pink! HA! Ok, so I am going to get all sappy but know you know what I mean when I say we are raising the STRONGEST! Our babies were saved for the end because God knew they could handle it. Was it hard for us as kids, yes, will it be worse for them, yes, are they even stronger, YES! If you are there like you mom was, he will be ok talking to you too! We have the best of the best and take comfort in that!

Karlenn said...

This is one of my favorite Patty Stories. I definitely think the key is lots and lots of communication with your kids. Ask many small questions. If they can confide in you, I think it helps. For some reason, I didn't confide in my mom when I was bullied. I don't know why - I confide in her constantly now...