I was going to do a month long theme of Opinion as suggested by BlogHer. The thing was that I tend to be the opposite of opinionated. I am pretty unique that means. I thought instead I would write about subjects that mean something to me. For example bullying. I hear so many stories about young people hurting themselves because they are victims of bullying. I can totally understand because I was bullied in 6th grade and in my young adult life was in a relationship with someone I would consider as a bully. The sad thing is that anybody can be a bully… even a bully usually has a bully of their own to cause them to be the way they are.
When I was in 6th grade I had a name that was very unique. I wasn’t accepted by the African-Americans, other Africans, or even other racial groups. I was your typical loner. I had a name that was difficult to pronounce. Than I had a different hair style that people become aware of. Finally I was a very skinny young woman. To make the point how thin I was students would wrap their hands around my wrist or ankle. I was an oddity in junior high.
I had such a difficult time just getting through the day. Even the older students got in on the jokes. “Is your name Mafalet?” I would shake my head and pronounce it correctly. The strange thing was that even the teachers messed up my name. I wasn’t sure if it was on purpose or because it was just different. By the time gym period came my body shook with dread. I would have four or five girls surround me in the locker room teasing me about how skinny I was.
To be continued…
I gave myself sometime to put the pieces together when it came to the subject of bullying. As you can tell my 6th grade year just gave me a taste of this awful circumstance. I remember coming home in tears because of the verbal abuse. Some thought my hair (that was in braids at the time) were extensions (which were just at the birth of the style). How could the hair be real? I told my mom about the name calling and actions. Being a school employee she wanted to see if there was any way she could help the harassment.
By the end of the year I was exhausted with the continuous name calling. There were points that I not only didn’t want to go to school, but wanted to die. I didn’t have many friends (close or acquaintances). So I was alone most of the year dealing with the constant cruel words and labels. That summer I decided that I would have to take some actions when it came to gaining weight. It took a lot of time, prayer, and support from my family to get through this event in my life.
For most of my life I looked back at this time as a dark challenge. I tried to change how I looked at my body. It was not skinny, but very slender. When I look back at pictures what I saw was a beautiful young girl trying to bloom through life. I worked hard to use my strengths and be a very helpful and optimistic person. I knew that I was not physically strong, but I had a mind that would blast that challenge out of the water.
To be continued…
As I look back on my relationship with my son’s father I saw points that I would consider bullying. It was not quite the same as what I experienced in 6th grade. A little more subtle. I wasn’t really complimented for my achievements. When I asked about that I was told that it wasn’t normal to point out the good things I had done. I thought that was strange because I was not used to that kind of negative feedback. I spent most of my life trying to do my best and live my life as ordinary as I could be. I dealt with not being strong enough and proving that I can still do things that probably people didn’t think I could do. I trusted him enough to tell him about my strengths and weaknesses. How my doctor was concerned about my weight and how it would affect me in the future.
After he proposed I was excited and told him all the stuff he needed to know when they asked him for the bachelor party game about know your partner. I let what I thought was love blind me from the truth. He bold faced told my mom that he didn’t care I was a domestically skillful (which was true I couldn’t cook a real meal without a microwave directions). It wasn’t until I was married that I discovered how to use the washer and dryer. Boy was that something I actually liked. Yes I had some challenges, but I did my best to not let them get me down. I just did my optimistic coping mechanism and hoped it would pass over.
It started with little things like being late to pick me up from the ferry. When it came to things being his way like where to meet and when to leave it got to be harder. Then there was the time that the apartment he shared needed cleaning. I happily went ahead to do it thinking he would join me after work. When you get the silent treatment when things aren’t going as planned. I was already sensitive when I was pregnant, but I went into sunny overtime just to delay an argument.
Once my son was born things began to change. I felt like I was a single parent trying to make life easier for my newborn and I. I did my best to smile and keep going, but the Post Partum didn’t exactly allow that. There were times when I had to call my family to help me out by taking me to an appointment or prep before I could visit them. Here I was carrying my son in a sling/pouch and doing daily things like taking the garbage to the compactor or getting the mail. I had a red coat that fit the two of us and kept us warm in the Northwest winter. I was lucky he was small and snuggled against me in the pouch. It wasn’t just me I was protecting.
How does this fit the definition of bullying? Well in a sense it is overtly, verbally, and emotionally dealing with the similar events that I had dealt with years earlier. Only thing was I was not able to verbally say “I need help.” I thought this was normal. Although now it doesn’t seem normal. I dealt with silent treatments and submissively allowing him to make decisions. It got to the point that I was literally sick to my stomach because I couldn’t and wouldn’t talk back.
It has been four years since I left my son’s father. I finally had the courage to say enough. Enough to the pressure of not being normal. Enough to the feeling that I didn’t matter. I just had enough and didn’t want my son to go through with this at a young age.
To be continued…
Well it’s the first of October and feels like life has changed for me. I started this post talking about bullying. I have thought so much about the stories I have read or seen about young people who are treated differently. Recently I read an article from People magazine about a mother that tried to make her son’s birthday better than the last few years. You see her son has Asberger (sorry couldn’t spell that correctly) disease and most of his classmates bully him for being different. Thankfully his community came to the rescue and made his birthday memorable for him.
I read that and thought of my mom immediately. That would have been something she would have done for me. When you hear about people killing themselves because of cyber bullying or the traditional version it’s still the same. I have battled these thoughts myself. The question in my mind is “Why do people do this to others?” What makes them think they are better than someone else? Shouldn’t there be more rules or laws against this type of abuse? What about verbal and emotional abuse?
All these things add up to people hurting themselves, their families, and others that care about them.