This is going to be a topic that was brought up during my interview on the Anthony Charles Podcast. During the discussion, the topic of bullying was briefly brought up and is something I would like to talk about a little more in depth.
There is a very fine line between joking around and bullying; even when you are friends with the person. I am one of those people that were bullied all throughout school. In elementary school it was minor, but there were still a small handful of kids that were bullies. They would pick on me because I was the small one of the class and had a hard time not showing my emotions. These people would exploit it and use it to harass me. In middle school it was worse. I tried to fit in. I even let me grades suffer just so I wouldn't seem as smart to the "cool kids." This was not enough and the slightest thing I did was scrutinized and made fun of. It was at a point where kids in my class would threaten to beat me up in the locker room and one classmate even threatened to kill my mother and me if I ratted him out to a teacher or principle. Thankfully none of that happened, but I was terrified all throughout the 6th grade.
Towards the end of 6th grade and during my 7th grade year, I realized the friends I thought I had were not really my friends anymore. They turned on me because they thought I ruined their reputation. It led to one of our classmates attacking me after school as I walked towards my mother's car (even though my supposed friend knew about this in advance and never warned me). I also lost a pair of friends that were twins. We knew each other and hung out constantly since the 3rd grade, but once they saw me as someone who would ruin their rep, I was thrown aside and made fun of by them as well.
It took me the end of 8th grade to finally stand up for myself. Another classmate wanted to prove he was tough and decided to pick on me during study hall. I tried to hold my emotions in, but once the bell rang to end the period, I snapped and started to throw punches. In a matter of seconds he was left on the ground and I was already out of the room before I was caught. Throughout the day the kids who witnessed the fight wanted to see us fight again because they wanted to see the good kid get in trouble and possibly get his butt kicked. Only half of this happened as we were caught within a minute of fighting, but they were not content and decided to drag my name through the mud.
From that point forward, I decided I wasn't going to let myself be bullied anymore. There were points in my life where I felt afraid, but I didn't want to give in to it like I used to. I found different outlets for me to deal with my feelings. I found my ways to stand up to the bullies that wanted to fight, but fighting is not the right answer. Eventually I turned to writing. I would create stories based off of situations that happened to me and poems regarding my feelings.
The reason for this post tonight is to increase awareness, not just for our kids or what they might go through in school, but about who we were and some might still be in life. People think joking around is harmless, but you never know how that person perceives it. Some might feel it is a joke while others might think their friends really feel that way.
The other reason for writing this post was because due to social media bullying and harassment has gotten worse. Your whole life is exposed and the slightest mess up could be the next viral video on the internet. They are people just like you and me. Before you make a joke at another's expense or post a video of someone's screw up, think about how you would feel if the joke or video was about you.
Here are some links to anti bullying sites. I think everyone should check them out especially if you have children in schools. Or if you are a teacher, administrator, or someone who might be interested in helping out in this cause, I encourage you to check the links as well.