Good morning, everyone. From time to time, I will be posting excerpts of my newly completed book, “From Victim to Victor” to give you all an occasional peak every now and again. Enjoy and feel free to comment if you know someone who is being bullied.
“From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Own Experiences with School Bullying. How She Overcame, Won Back her Confidence and Found Peace and Happiness)
Part 1 (1984-1985) Seventh Grade
Chapter 3: A Typical Day Away From Home
” …It seemed that the most of the student body would literally search for reasons to lay hands on my person and these girls were no exception. If they could not find a reason, they would very conveniently just make up one. I never had to provoke them in any way…never had to say a word. All it took was for me to be in plain sight, walking down the hall or in the bathroom, just minding my own business, and they would come after me.
And why would they do this? Because they wanted to feel big and powerful by exerting power and control over someone who was an easy target. And because I was a shy person, I was perceived as being vulnerable. Being the quiet type, the only time I was outspoken was when I was pushed to the breaking point. I did not realize that I was letting them take my power away.
After being blindsided by Genevieve, I got up and shoved her backwards, then picked up the ball and threw it at her, hitting her in the face. Then I walked off the court and headed for the exit. Just before I got to the door, she followed me and caught me from behind, knocking me to the floor. She then kicked me in the stomach while I was down which knocked the wind out of me. All of the other girls, black and white, were crowded behind her and clapping, shouting and laughing. I saw the expressions of glee on their faces and instantly knew that they were loving every minute of seeing me get kicked and stomped.
When she finished, P.E. was over and everyone left, leaving me lying on the gym floor. As I lay there, stabbing pains coursed through my torso. After I gathered my strength, I slowly sat up to see if any ribs were broken. When I was sure that I was okay and the pain subsided, I jumped up and searched for Genevieve. When I found her in the girls’ bathroom, I immediately ran up behind her and shoved her to the floor, then kicked her in her left side as hard as I could.
I don’t know how she found the resolve to get up because I had kicked her pretty hard. Nevertheless, Genevieve got up and lunged at me like a tiger, forcing me to the floor. Then, she sat straddle of me, took me by the hair on each side of my head and started pounding the back of my head into the hard marble bathroom floor.
At one point, my vision became blurred and I could feel myself losing consciousness. I decided to fight off the unconsciousness so I could stay alert. I knew that if I gave in to the dizziness, I would be totally defenseless against her and she would keep up the pounding until she either killed me, or caused severe brain damage.
In a huge burst of strength and determination, I managed to roll her over on the floor and get on top of her. After I began doing the same to her, Mrs. Cramer and Mrs. Dix, who had heard the commotion coming from the girls’ bathroom while walking down the hall, rushed in to pull us apart.
Like always, it was off to the principal’s office, three quick licks with a paddle, and we were sent on our way.
Later that afternoon, in English class, the others were asking me about the fight like they didn’t already know. How stupid did they think I was? It was obvious that they were doing it just to get me to say something smart about the girl so they could run back and tell her and get even more nonsense stirred up. Instigators was what they all were. I just sat there and ignored them.
“Oh, she’s not finished with you yet! She’ll get you again when you least expect it!” Dolly Coleman warned me, “And we’ll be on the side lines cheering her on when she does! “
“Whatever.” I scoffed. “I don’t care. “
“You don’t care??? Well, we don’t believe you!”
“No, Dolly! I really don’t believe she DOES care!” Angie Hayward chimed in.
“I don’t think she does either! She doesn’t care about anyone but herself!” Jennifer Butters shouted.
I just scoffed. “Pfffft!”
“God! Why are you so stuck up? You never say ‘hi’ to anyone anymore! You never wave at anybody anymore! What makes you so good that you can’t have one word to say to anyone? What makes you so much damn better than the rest of us?! Do you think you are royalty or something?”
“What’s the point?” I asked
“Point is that lately, you think your shit smells like flowers! That’s the point!”
I thought, “Are you kidding me? You all treat me like a damned pariah and then you turn around and expect me to just kiss your asses? I’m just supposed to bow down and continue to be your doormat… Just wave and say ‘hi’ like nothing has ever happened? I owe you zip! Go take a flying fuck off of a rolling doughnut, all of you!”
I was lying through my teeth. I did care because I wanted to be left alone. Anyone would care if they were being abused, unless they had a crossed dendrite or two. I only wished I did not. Because when you cared even the slightest, you got hurt. However, I was determined that they would never get the satisfaction of knowing the truth. So, I put up this front to cover up my real feelings. I acted as if I did not give a crap about the bad treatment.
I could think whatever I wanted but oh, how I wished I actually had the nerve to say it to them aloud! I knew that I was outnumbered by about thirty to one and that honesty would not be the best policy in a situation such as this. Although my quiet demeanor was often mistaken for being slow, I knew better than to underestimate the power of ignorant people in large groups. I was a lot smarter than what people gave me credit for. As usual, I began to ask myself:
“Why? What have I ever done to them? What is their freaking problem? Have they no feelings? When is it going to be enough?”
They did not have to like me. At this point, I was long done with any attempts to make friends of them. I was not worried about winning some stupid popularity contest. Who were they that I should have to seek approval? Screw them! I did not have to prove anything to those human diseases. Being liked or not being liked was the very least of my worries. I just wanted those morons to leave me alone. They did not have to hang around with me nor speak to me. If they decided to ignore me and avoid me, fine. Whatever. I could live with it as long as they left me alone. But the torment seemed to be never ending. Everywhere I turned, I was constantly being criticized and brow beaten or worse…physically assaulted. There was no escape….”
Although what I went through was horrible at the time, I believe that being bullied instilled in me a strength and compassion for others that only few people have today. The situation may have seemed hopeless but I am living proof that targets of bullying can emerge even stronger and better on the other side. I do not believe that I would have the love I have for myself or others today, had I not been a target of bullying back then. This is not to say that bullying is ever a good thing. However, good lessons can can taken from it. It is about finding the good in the adverse.
If you are a target of bullying, I want you to know that your value does not decrease because of others’ inability to see your worth. You are still loved and are worthy of being loved. You are awesome in your own right! Know that brighter days are coming…if you do not give up!