Bullying In A Small Town

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Conversations about bullying aren’t easy anywhere but in small towns, they’re even more difficult to have…even taboo. In a small town, anonymity is tougher to preserve and conflicts are much harder to avoid when you are a target. In rural areas, kids don’t report bullying because they’re concerned not only about possible retaliation but also what it would mean for their social standing in the town. And in a place where “everybody knows everybody”, adults have the same concern for social repercussions.

In most cases, bullies are well connected in small towns and student confidentiality is next to extinct. I know this for a fact because when I was bullied, I lived in a rural area and any reports I made about the harassment always seemed to “leak” even though the school claimed to have an “open-door policy” and that any reports of any threats to my personal safety would be “kept private”.

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Bullying is never good anywhere but in small towns, it’s much worse and next to unavoidable. Because everybody knows everybody and has very tight connections, victims in these areas must tread lightly and only confide in those they are absolutely sure won’t make the matter the topic of lunch at the local cafe on the square or after-church gossip the following Sunday.

Even worse is that people in small towns never forget…about anything. They tend to hold on to grudges and hatred from high school and continue the harassment of a certain person even into adulthood. They may even unjustly label and target any children the victim has. Remember that everybody knows everybody and attacks from old bullies can continue and to follow a victim around possibly for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, when you are a victim of bullying in a small town, the best recourse is often just to move on to greener pastures. It’s what I did and I’m happier for it.

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Being Bullied Will Help You to Appreciate the Friends You Will Make Later in Life

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Though bullying is never good, there can be a silver lining to it. When a person has been mercilessly bullied in the past(in school, college, etc.), they know all too well what it is to be alone. It’s funny how the years go by and the tables turn. Thirty years ago, I was bullied by everyone…for everything . The closest thing I had to friends were only people who tolerated me. I can remember classmates whom had truckloads of friends and seeing them use these friends and even talk about them behind their back. These kids seemed to take their buddies for granted and I can recall questioning the unjustness of it all. God was preparing me for the awesome friends I would have later and knew that I deserved better than these kids…He knew that I deserved the kinds of girlfriends whom are well worth the wait!

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Today, I have the greatest of friends…true friends who love me for just being me…for my mind and my heart! For the good and the bad! You see? When you have been marginalized in the past, you’re less likely to take the people in your life for granted and are more able to appreciate the awesomeness they bring to your life…the love…the laughter…the fun…the joy of being together!

Another takeaway is that you are better able to empathize with others whom are hurting and going through tough times. You’ll more than likely be there for them when the chips are down, which will make you a friend to be cherished!

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The ’90’s: The Decade Before ‘The Great Decline’

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It was the last decade of pride, peace and prosperity…the decade before 9/11 changed life as we knew it and turned everything on it’s ear! The ’90’s was a time when the threat of being attacked on our own soil was only in movies like “Red Dawn”.

The ’90’s had many, many “lasts”…they were the last ten years of great and original movies, TV and music- before Hollywood and television production companies and producers ran out of ideas and reality shows and remakes dominated screens everywhere and music wasn’t yet painful to listen to. Also, commercial breaks had not yet grown to be ten minutes long.

During the ’90’s, one could freely express American pride and stepping on Old Glory was not only frowned upon but unheard of. People took pride in our great military and never ever thought of protesting the funerals of our fallen heroes. No one was afraid to uphold right over wrong.

The ’90’s was a decade when most people from different races got along together as one and spread love to one another…when jobs were plentiful and differences were not only accepted but respected. It was a time when no one took offense so easily to the slightest difference of thought or opinion and the news media reported incidences which were legitimately “newsworthy” and had not yet became one big high school slam book.

I’m not only saying this because it was the decade of my glorious and roaring 20’s but it seems once 9/11 occurred, our way of way took a nosedive.

Where did it all go? The pride? The confidence? The fearlessness? The prosperity? The respect for ourselves and our fellow man?

How did freedom of expression, differences in thought and opinion and common sense become such cardinal sins?

How did morals, values, integrity and decency all become such an antithesis?

How did individuality become demonized?

How did people become such crybabies?

How did self-entitlement become such a pandemic?

How did the pendulum swing so far to the opposite direction in only twenty years?

To this, I can only conclude that we, as Americans, have lost our nerve? We’ve gotten so afraid of offending that a few of our leaders have complacently handed over our cajones and are willing to let other countries and groups use us up and take us for granted! We allow certain groups to dictate whether we can fly our own flag. We, as a country have lost our backbone!

Will we ever have the stones to stand up and take it all back? It is my hope that we can catch the runaway horse and lock it back in the barn where it belongs! It is also my hope that in the future, we can have yet another great and prosperous decade!