All through my school years, from elementary, all the way through high school, I was severely and cruelly bullied. I was the lowest on the totem pole. The kids who got bullied would bully me.
I went back and forth between living with my pacifist mother and indifferent father. When I lived with my mom and would tell her about it, she’d tell me to never fight and to basically turn the other cheek. When I did so, I was a coward and got bullied more. When I lived with my dad, he’d either ignore my plight with callous indifference or suggest that I pop ‘em a good one. Being a frail little guy, I knew that wouldn’t exactly work either. Plus, when I lived with him, I had a stepmother and two stepbrothers who were just as cruel as the kids at school, so I never had any escape. There was no safe place for me. My dad simply didn’t care and let them do what they wanted. It was pure hell for several years straight.
When kids shoot up a school, I don’t condone killing, but I totally understand why someone would do so. I felt that urge myself because people are so cruel and no one seems to care. If you talk to a counselor, they’re rendered impotent to do anything but give useless advice like “just ignore them.” The thing is, bullies don’t let you ignore them. They push and push and push and will not leave you alone. If you ignore them, they get worse. You end up devising ways to avoid them. Some can’t take it anymore and kill themselves, and believe me, I almost did.
The only reason I’m still here is because I sat down and thought “One day I’ll be out of school, and I will not be forced to deal with these people anymore. I just have to make it through until then, and maybe it will get better.” It did get better. The years between that realization and graduation still made me want to kill others or myself, but I would just go off somewhere and rage. Sometimes it built up and I would freak out in school.
There was one day in P.E. where a guy was pushing me around and everything had been building for a long time. I just lost it. I was screaming and crying and thrashing up the lockers, denting them, and completely flipping out. The teacher’s eyes bugged out and he took me aside and asked what was wrong. I told him I was tired of being picked on. He asked who it was and I let him know it was everyone. No one cared and I couldn’t take it anymore. He didn’t get it and simply sent the kid who was picking on me just them to the principal, which accomplishes nothing.
The problem was not just with the bullies, but with teachers, counselors, parents and the whole system. No one seemed to care. No one did anything effective. And if you told on a kid, they’d become even worse. It’s a total catch-22 and you can’t do a thing about it. Teachers don’t want to get involved, they just want to go home and forget about these kids. The principal is afraid of being sued and won’t do anything. The counselors have no power and their advice is useless. Many parents are clueless, or they’re abusive, or indifferent, or have useless advice, or otherwise don’t know what to do.
People make excuses like “Kids will be kids” and “Oh, you just have to stand up for yourself!” Try being a weak, skinny kid surrounded by people who are much stronger than you and who band together and are the children of rich, spoiled asshole parents who make sure their kids get away with everything. There is no standing up to them. There is no ignoring them. They have to be stopped somehow, and when kids have no reasonable outlet, they lose it and freak out. If school shootings are a concern, stop bullying, rather than focusing on kids who are “different” and thereby making the situation even worse.
What happens to these kids are things that adults would never tolerate on themselves. If an adult does to another adult what bullies do to other kids, they would be arrested for assault and battery, and rightly so. I’m all for settling things without a lawsuit, and think they should be a last resort. But, since kids have nowhere else to turn, let the bullies be tried for assault.
We simply have to stop turning away from this, as it is not simply a matter of one kid calling another some names. Kids band together and consistently harass and attack other kids who are “different” in any way. Maybe they’re smarter, or dress in something other than preppie clothes, or they’re gay or they’re foreign, or whatever. They’re singled out and treated in ways that no human should endure. It’s become worse as the years pass.
Now, just one compromising picture can be taken of a kid and posted to the internet for the world to see and what would otherwise be a group of kids attacking one kid turns into the entire school attacking the one kid. Who could be expected to take that every day?
Since it seems that no reasonable or effective action is likely to take place anytime soon, all I can say is endure it until school is over. It will be hell. It will be anguishing and horrible, but endure. Hang on, and make it through school. Because, after school is over, it does get better. This I promise. You get to choose who you will be around. You’ll be an adult and therefore able to take legal action if necessary. You’ll not be forced to deal with those assholes anymore. You’ll be free! For the most part, anyway.
There are still assholes in adult life, but it’s easier to deal with. It’s not a band of jocks anymore. Sometimes people will fuck you over, but it’s not your daily existence. It gets way, way better!
You’ll be able to find groups, events, friends and places that fit with you and you’ll find acceptance!
See, with me, I was not bullied for a sexual orientation, but simply because I was socially awkward, and a skinny, weird kid who didn’t understand the social roles and rules that others seemed to intuitively understand. I gave my real opinions rather than the acceptable opinions. I was expressive and open rather than calculating my expressions to be acceptable.
So, the thing to realize is that the bullies are more insecure than you. They are cowards. They band together because they are petrified of being outcast like you. They don’t have the balls or the strength to endure what you endure. They would rather attack others than be attacked. They are slaves to the acceptance and opinions of their “friends” who will turn on them in a heartbeat if they step out of accepted social roles.
You have the courage to be yourself. Or, maybe, like me you just can’t help it. Maybe you don’t know how to be like them or, know how, but have the integrity not to. Either way, you are not a conformist automaton who lives according to what everyone else thinks you should be. You should be proud of that, even if the results of it are currently a total hell.
Please endure, so that you can know what it’s like to be accepted. Endure, so that you can help kids who are going through what you went through. Endure, because the world needs less assholes and more people like you! Endure, because, believe it or not, it gets better!
I endured, and I’ve been to Thailand, Japan, France, and Burning Man. I endured, and I have true friends who get me and who accept me and it is a wonderful feeling! I endured, and have had experiences and relationships that I cherish and remember very fondly. I endured, and was able to be of help to others at times, when they had no one else to turn to. I endured, and watched those assholes have crappy lives and in some cases, get what they deserve. I endured, and I was able to write this at age 41 and hopefully help a wonderful, amazing person such as yourself live long enough to enrich the lives of others and to have their lives enriched by others.
Some of us understand. You have a resource we did not. The internet can be used against you, but you can also use it for yourself. Seek out those who understand. Reach out to the people like myself who are sharing the message that “it gets better” as not a one of us would refuse to help. We are your resources, and some of us know how to drum up a lot of useful, effective support. We are here for you. We love you and we want to see you grow into the amazing person we know you will be. So, reach out to us, and for the moment, endure
© 2015 William Suphan
- Offense Shaming