Now I can write honestly after all these years . It needs to be put out there. Maybe it will help a young boy somewhere or a man that needs to be healed. With the nation growing more alert to the disastrous effects that bullying can be on the young and tender- hearted, with many even taking their own lives, I want to tell my story as fully and honestly as possible. Mainly as an addition to the many testimonies that have been given so that hearts can be changed, laws can be passed and enforced and precious lives can be saved.
Although I grew up with parents that loved me, they had a difficult marriage that was often accompanied by some verbal and even physical abuse. I will find that was not very unusual with a lot of families of that generation where women’s rights were really not even on the forefront. However to a young boy who was the oldest in the family, it was difficult. Mainly I loved my parents, despite some of their dysfunctionality and I love my siblings. I was always sensitive and a deep thinker so such disharmony affected me in such a raw way.
I was also asthmatic and had some severe health problems. This affected my ability to participate as vigorously in normal boy activities as others and consequently affected my confidence level as I grew older. I went from a rambautious toddler to an almost introverted shy boy when it came to social play.
I was also dealing with feelings that were different from other boys already at a young age that I will not understand until much later in my life.
Being the eldest and with my parents’ troubles combined, both caused me to grow up really fast. When things were bad, I found myself many times assisting my mother who fainted, protecting her from my drunken, angry father and protecting my young siblings. I was still in barely in elementary school. This lasted through most of my school years.
School from elementary level until junior high proved to be no safe haven or respite for me. I was one of those kids that were targeted by the bullies and consequently by others to be picked on almost daily. I was different. Different was not okay in school. I excelled academically and in church. I made a handful of friends. But we were all the misfit ones.
I was called a Sissy and all the words that come along with it. I desired to participate in the normal boy activities but their negative words were so powerful in my mind that I believed them. I felt inadequate every time I wanted to play any kind of sport. I set myself up to fail. It fed into the bullying. I thought I could not do any sports because I believed their words. It was not until years later that I found out that I was really athletic. I loved sports.
Jr. High was the worst. I was in a Catholic school. There was one bully that especially picked on me in the 7th grade. It was torture. Not a day passed where he did not spew his bullying hatred to me. Many of the boys did the same thing. I hated going to class.
You would think I would fight back. Many times I wanted to fight back not caring what would happen to me. Believe me, what I sometimes got at home or saw at home was much worse than what he would ever mete out to me. However, I had really delve into my faith and the Bible then for comfort, believing that God would somehow help me find a way out. With my mother teaching me always to turn the other cheek, I thought by taking the high road I was being better than these bullies no matter what they said. Jesus never was violent to his oppressors. Why should I?
However, my non-response was seen as weakness and it only increased their perception of me as a weak male. I was smart, got good grades, stayed out of trouble but I was called a fag, sissy, and everything degrading.
Most of my young life, those terms were said to me daily by some one at school, by my cousins, by my siblings and even at times by my father. I was shoved, pushed, laughed at, harassed, excluded, and demeaned in some way.
I was disappearing inside. I could feel it. My pillow was often wet with tears. There was no one I felt I could talk to because I knew the only answer I would be given was to be strong. What I needed was someone to believe in me and see I had been battered down for years. I needed be held and taken out of this well of dispair that I had been discarded at as someone of no worth. I had been almost bullied to death. Yes, there were times I felt like death was better than life.
Despite my emerging sexual inclinations, I tried to explore any hetero relations, but of course, girls , also, simply saw me in the same light of how bullies saw me. You know, the sissy boy.
Home was still pretty much the same, so I found refuge in prayer. I hope God would guide me and comfort me. I hoped he would save me.
Then when I was going into the 10th grade, my prayers were somewhat answered. I was sent to public High School.
There I felt some ribbing initially but the bullying stopped and being different was no longer such an enigma but was actually encouraged. I started to be more outgoing. My circle of friends increased. My religious questioning increased.
By the end of my senior year, I was voted most popular senior boy.
I was beginning to find my athletic ability that became fully matured in college.
I went on to get my college degree.
My coming out took place after I was married to a woman. It took time for my soul to heal for me to accept myself fully.
I survived the bullying. I know who I am now. I am happy.
There are many young ones who do not ever make it because they are still down in their wells of despair because of being bullied relentlessly. We have to reach down and bring them out. We have to embrace them and protect them. We have to put a stop to bullying.
It is about saving lives. It is about saving our sons and daughters.
- Bullying Lesson Plan for a Bully-Free School (education.com)
- Bullying–What Parents Should Know (education.com)
- Bullying Quiz: How Informed Are You? (education.com)
- Kids need to see this movie … Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Bullying of Children With Disabilities – Part IV (specialeducationlawblog.blogspot.com)
- Bullied Teen Girl Hangs Self (abcnews.go.com)
- One in two Australian kids bullied – survey (news.com.au)
- Teenager petitions to change R rating for ‘Bully’ (pbpulse.com)
- Bullying (jeremyrmro.wordpress.com)
- Official Trailer for BULLY (geektyrant.com)
- Bullying in Kindergarten (education.com)
- Challenge Day 08: Someone who has made your life hell, or treated you like shit (myownprivateuniverse.wordpress.com)
- When Your Teen is Bullied: How to Tell and What to Do (education.com)
- How widespread is bullying? (education.com)
- Bullying in Preschool: What Parents Need to Know (education.com)
- Teenager petitions to change R rating for `Bully’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- On The Couch: Bully (sundancenow.com)
- Who Are the Students Who Bully Others? (education.com)
- Cyber-bullying…scary! (reenasramble.com)
- Student bully has dad fearing for daughter’s safety (cbc.ca)
- Help Protect Your Child from Cyber-Bullying with the Word Bully App (beststuff.com)
- What are the signs that a child is bullying others? (education.com)
- Bullying (primensible.wordpress.com)
- Parenting Solutions: Bullied (education.com)
- Bullying Gave Khloe Kardashian Tough Skin for the Spotlight (celebs.gather.com)
- Social Media Brings Bullying Issue to the Forefront (mediabistro.com)
- Bullying by Teachers? (leanonus.me)
- What Should I Do If I’m Bullied? (education.com)
- What are the signs of a “bully-victim”? (education.com)
Thanks for sharing your story with us. Tweeted and shared 🙂
Thanks again for connecting with us 🙂
You are welcome, Sonya!