I have been bullied in my life. This was long before the internet and the recent rash of cyber bullying across the country. I am sure the feelings the person feels hasn’t changed much. You feel violated, alienated, used, stupid, and sometimes scared.
I remember a few instances from childhood. I remember being at the park, and running home because my friend and me were being harassed. Another time, I remember being in another park for their annual playdays carnival and some older kids came and took our money. These were isolated one-off deals. Not so with what happened in school.
In grammar school, I was picked on. I was shy and quiet, not good at sports. I was good in school, but that didn’t count much with my classmates. I was called gay and fag a lot. I would wonder why people were singling me out. I didn’t think I was those things.
In high school, the bullying got worse. There was a new group of people to pick on me. They called me names, and used to slap me on the back of my head. What was their problem? I didn’t do anything to them, yet they wouldn’t leave me alone. That first year of high school was one of my worst. I was very depressed and I did think about suicide, never seriously though. I had God on my side.
I can only imagine how amplified things are with the internet, and cell phones now. Bad enough they talk bad about you in person, now they are chatting on Facebook, in chat rooms and on cell phones, via voice or text. Being perceived as different sucks in school. You are dealing with hormones wrecking havoc on your body and emotions — you are growing up, getting hair on certain places on your body, finding yourself having sexual thoughts and feelings, becoming an adult. Where do I fit in with this big world? It is a lot to handle. It is definitely overwhelming at times.
The second year in high school, things calmed down, and the bullying was over by my 3rd year.
Something happened recently that brought back a lot of bad feelings. We moved to a new apartment in the Valley. We are an open interracial gay couple. We have a rainbow flag in our window. We have a large deck area for our unit. We started to get stuff thrown on our patio from somewhere: kids toys, yogurt cups, tennis balls. Often it would land on our glass table with a big thud. My head immediately went to someone being after us because we were gay and/or interracial. We complained to the management and got no response from them. So we upped our complaining and told them we thought it was a hate crime. I had a long conversation about it with the management. The last item that landed on our deck that really set me off was a naked Barbie doll.
I had encountered negative people before when we were doing the Prop. 8 stuff, but never in my home. I really felt violated. Why were they picking on us? I deserved to feel safe in my home.
Well, I was way off base…. Property management found out that it was a kid on the 3rd floor that was doing it. When the Mom of the girl, found out that we thought it was a hate crime, she started to cry and apologized. I really felt horrible about it. How could my mind think the worst of people? But given what we grew up with, it was not surprising. My lover thought it was a kid from the beginning… but I took it all the wrong way and was convinced someone was out to get us.
I don’t know what the answer is to the bullying that is still going on in schools. All I know is that we need to teach our kids to treat others with kindness and respect, even if they are different from you.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series. The second part will address the movie “Bully” and Mitt Romney also.
Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.