I was Bullied too…

I’m not sure that I have mentioned it in the past, but perhaps I alluded to the fact that my childhood was not always the best of times. Sure, I can get into the issues that I had with my family in the past, but at the end of the day, they are family. I also do not want to give anyone the impression that I didn’t have great times either. However, there seems to be this issue that has caught the nation’s attention, even though it has always existed to me, and that is Bullying.

What makes this such a hot button topic now is that kids are now killing themselves rather than facing the social implications that comes with being bullied. Its not a secret that kids can be cruel and in my case they found any reason to pick on me. I was the shortest kid in the class, my teeth needed to be straightened, then I got braces, and then I got glasses. I was always under the impression that I was just ugly and the worst part of that is that I came to accept this.

Of course with hindsight being 20/20, I do know that the reason that kids ended up teasing me was because I was different. Maybe, there was some little girls who liked me but the hardest part of all of that was as a kid, I just never know. Being picked on in grade school was a normal occurrence so I could never be too sure if any little girl would like a little boy who was the object of bullies. While, I was not the only one who was picked on, I took no joy in seeing it happen to others.

I remember a few things specifically. I remember feeling so helpless at school that telling my parents only made it worse. My dad was the type of person to come to the school to look for the dudes who were beating me up. He would tell the nuns at my school to make it stop or he will. While, that is noble of my dad, the physically bullying stopped but the mental bullying did not. The feeling of helplessness was also apparent when I started being mean to a dear friend of mine in the neighborhood. He was smaller than me because he was younger and I remember making him cry because it was me who ended up being the bully. I felt horrible after that.

The one thing that sticks with me is being bullied by an older girl. Apparently, when I was in the fourth grade I offend this girl (my sarcasm was in its infancy) who then told her 6th grade friend to beat me up. Now, this was no ordinary girl. She was like a tower and ugly too (she still is). She picked on me for weeks. What really confused me was that I was always told never to hit a girl. So I took it and I cried. However one day, I grew tired and hit back. I was horrified I even did that. She pounded me. I am not sure when it stopped, but I remember a boyfriend of one of my older cousins, who was in the 8th grade, broke it up.

As I grew older in grammar school, I wasn’t so much picked on anymore. I was, however, lethal with my words to the point where I still feel bad for “snapping” on certain kids. It was a way for survival. You talk about me, I will talk about your mother. I will talk about how dirty you look and how you smell. The more people I can get to laugh the better it was. It wasn’t a good thing. Of course, when I began High School it restarted all over again. The funny thing is, I chose an all boys school because I couldn’t deal with the humiliation with girls anymore.

I was called Urkel. You have no idea how much I hated that. I stopped watching Family Matters because of it. None of these kids knew what I was dealing with at home. The fighting of my parents, the fact that I couldn’t deal with the constant bullying really put me on edge. I remember tearing in class with anger and frustration when it seemed that every boy aimed their spitball at me…and that was just my freshman year. By Sophomore year, I wrote a note one of the teachers who I had a crush on (Ms. Smith) that I wanted to kill myself…

If it wasn’t for her seeking me out in my next class…who knows what could have happened. I went to counseling because I wasn’t trying to a rat. I also had genuine issues with my parents divorce that were unresolved. From that point I took a stand and I drew the line on what I would tolerate. I learned that most bullies were pussies. Each one of them I confronted did nothing. Sure, I was in a Catholic High School, but no one was going to risk expulsion by fighting. I remember one kid in my senior year who ruined my shirt because he flicked ink on it. At that point, my dad made his parents pay for it. They gladly did and he was pissed at me (of course). He kept talking shit until one day I stared at him and said…”you know what, let’s go…let’s do this RIGHT NOW. I got nothing to lose! And if you beat me…know that it will not be easy”. He back down..in front of his friends.

No, I do not have fond memories of school. It was a constant battle and I feel my education suffered in college. My college experience is a whole new story in itself. I just feel that I need the world to know that the confident person that is writing this blog was not like that as a kid. I was at a breaking point and I got through it. Bullying is not something to take lightly, it stays with you for the rest of your life.

If you are reading this and you are being bullied. Things get better…it always does. Be yourself because no one can take that from you.

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Grammar School

A few weeks ago when I was in NYC, I met up with some of my old friends from grammar school. Thanks to Facebook, we were all able to reconnect and set a meeting in the Bronx. I had a great time and we all talked about the past and what happened to this person to that person. I made me think of so many things, both good and bad.

One could argue about how happy I was during my childhood, between watching my parents marriage crumble and the constant thought in my head that I was never good enough. I had always thought I was the ugliest one in class. I was mad short. My teeth were messed up. Getting braces was just another problem. I got picked by both boys and girls. So, grammar school wasn’t all that fun in my opinion. On the other hand, I learned to defend myself with words. I learn how to be sarcastic and cruel when I needed to be. But, in the end. I think we all just took it for what it was worth. I mean, we were kids after all.

My reflection, however is based on the fact that I feel that people (and I use the term people loosely because I am not sure it is based on anything more than a feeling) thought I would not amount to much. I generally got that sense. I remember thinking about one of the girls in my class that I had a crush on for many years. She was one of the popular was in class and all the good looking boys liked and for the most part she gave them their attention. Well to make a long story short, she belittled me more than one. She also belittled my friends too. I remember thinking that I will not let her do that to me again. I will never give another girl or woman the opportunity be make me feel that I was not good enough.

Even through High School, I would see her every so often and she would kindly wave as she walked by. I am always the nice person, I waved back (although I wanted to throw a rock at her). But, still the feeling was that I will make sure that I am better than she ever thought I would be. This is a feeling that I began to develop over time, not just for her, but for anyone that felt I could not do something. I am not blaming her for this drive I have to be better because again we were just kids. But, it is always a thought in my head.

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Black Super Hero Profile: Mr. Terrific

At a young age, Michael Holt showed remarkable intelligence, reading and assimilating the works of Bohr, Einstein, Planck, and Feynman, the pantheon of theoretical physics, at the age of six. He studied advanced science, space, and time “while other children struggled through Sesame Street. Holt displayed “a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes”, as he called it, easily picking up and retaining complex skills and abilities that other men spent their entire lives perfecting. Before he began his career as a superhero, he already possessed 14 Ph.D’s (two in Engineering and Physics — including doctorates and masters degrees in Law, Psychology, Chemistry, Political science, and Mathematics) and was a self-made multi-millionaire with a high tech firm called Cyberwear (subsequently sold to Waynetech) and was a Gold medal winning Olympic decathlete. (taken from wikipedia)

I like personally like Mr. Terrific because he is by far the smartest Black Superhero. He has no powers other than his brain. He is the Chairman of a Super Hero group called the Justice Society of America. His trademarks are the T-Spheres that follow him everywhere. The are made of nanites the he created. To my knowledge he is one of the few Black Superheroes that have encountered open racism in his tenure with the JSA.

I give him a 4 of 5 because to me he is definitely on of the better superheroes that exist.