For I too was bullied. But I was not a victim of bullying. Rather, I was bullied by choice and made myself an easy target at times intentionally. It was an odd choice for a young girl to make but I'm proud that I did. In elementary school there was some teasing or fights on the playground but was I oblivious to any actual bullying that may have occurred while I was blissfully enjoying recess, eating lunch, or staring out the window. In junior high I could see the worst offenders of teasing other kids were becoming more bold. Lines were being drawn in the sand between the cool kids, smart kids, druggies, and nerds. Then there were a few kids who didn't quite fit in.
If you were in a group it was easy to find ways to criticize the people in the other groups. It helped you feel safe and secure. It helped bind you to the group as well. Teasing you recieved was easier to tolerate because you were still part of some group of people who accepted you on some level. Kids who were not part of a group were bounced around as if living in a pinball machine being criticized on all fronts.
I clearly remember the day in the first few months of 6th grade watching a kid get criticized in class. She became so nervous she peed in her chair and ran from the room horrified, dejected, and crying. I thought surely the teacher would step in and regain control. The teacher would lecture the class on bad behavior and then go comfort the girl hiding in the bathroom.
Sadly none of that happened. The first year teacher began to address the class but quickly lost control as she tried to illicit sympathy from her students by explaining she was bullied as a child and peed in front of her classmates too. I sadly watched her fall apart and became the new target of criticism by the class.
The bell rang and the kids exited the classroom after a long day at school. I stayed behind to comfort the teacher who was sobbing uncontrollably at her desk and tried to understand what just happened. After speaking to the teacher I went in search of the classmate. She was still cowering in the bathroom so I went to the gym to get some clean clothes. We talked briefly and I gave her a hug. We were not close friends but she lived a few doors down from me. I knew her well and felt sorry for her because I remembered attending a birthday party for her a few months earlier that did not go well. Let's just say it showcased her dysfunctional family and further alienated her from her classmates.
Finally a went to the parking lot to meet my mom. She was beginning to wonder why I was so late getting out or wondering if I had started to walk home in error. I explained what happened and we went back inside to talk to the teacher. Afterwards the three of us even went to see the Principal.
After much conversation it was clear to me that this problem was not going to be adequately addressed by the staff I thought was in control of creating a safe and nurturing environment for students to learn. I realized the destructive behavior would only escalate with time and have a life long effect on someone already suffering from low self esteem and a volatile home life.
Since I had an abundance of self confidence and came from a loving home I decided I was better equipped to handle rejection at school better than some of my classmates. Furthermore I really didn't want to develop relationships with the weakminded people I seemed surrounded by. So when the adults in perceived authority said they could do nothing I said "then I guess I will have to!"
The next day when we were waiting for class the same girl became the center of undesired attention. I took one look at her and saw the teacher avert her eyes in fear of another attack on her. I knew I needed to act! So I prayed for God's help then stood up and revealed information that made me a more appealing target. I will never forget the look of gratitude from my classmate or the look of shock from the teacher. I spoke with both of them afterwards and never discussed my plan with anyone else again.
I remained a willing target through out high school and was perceived as an outcast and loner most of the time but I didn't care. I met some wonderful people as I helped them stay out of the line of fire when they were the most vulnerable or encouraged them to not let the arrows pierce them. I learned valuable lessons that strengthened my character and helped me face the challenges of being a successful entrepreneur who isn't afraid to fail her way to success. It helped me be a loving and compassionate person so I am grateful for the experience.
I must say though, in the days of social media, it gives me a chuckle knowing that many of the bullies of my past seem to be living a miserable life. I hope one day they wake up and realize that in their youth they were insecure and had troubles that led them to strive to fill a deep void by appearing superior to others and contributed to a miserable adulthood filled with broken relationships and increasing heartache that it's never too late to choose a different path.
By the way, I also love seeing some of the classmates that were treated poorly have become happy vibrant adults with loving families and successful careers. Not surprisingly, many of them are successful entrepreneurs that don't let other people's negativity hold them back!