I don't know a single person who hasn't been affected by bullying either directly or indirectly. This morning when I woke up (very late, too) I started watching a show on E! on the topic. I didn't get to watch all of it, but what I did watch really hit close to home for me. For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning, y'all know that I developed anxiety my freshman year of high school -- the first and only year I attended a public high school. Without going into great detail (though I have done it in the novel I am finishing), I was harassed by both classmates and a History teacher. At the end of the semester, I would run out of classrooms (because I felt like I would get sick though I wouldn't) and do anything I could to avoid being in classrooms for long... especially his (History teacher.) Though the bullying wasn't something new -- I dealt with it from about 2nd or 3rd grade on -- the fact that a person in a position of authority not only allowed, but encouraged, the harassing was what finally sent me to my breaking point. At one point, for a number of months, I couldn't even leave my home because crowds made me feel faint. Of course, when I reported incidents (including one where I received a death threat from a classmate of mine -- yes, an actual death threat which also encouraged me to go kill myself to make things better for everyone) NO ONE did anything about it. The school officials said they couldn't do anything about it because it didn't happen on campus (this was an emailed threat). As for what happened with the teacher, and later with a classmate who tried to force himself on me (which I also wrote about in the novel), they did NOTHING. Finally, I was pulled out of school and I ended up doing independent study through a charter school until I graduated.
Earlier this year, the story broke of a young Irish teen named Phoebe Price who came to the U.S. and was relently teased and bullied. To end it, she decided to cut her young life short. This story was also mentioned in the special I was watching this morning. It made me angry. Yes, you can argue that bullies are often victims of some sort of abuse, but gives them a right to take it out on others. Even after everything I've been through (and it has been a lot that I've internalized), I couldn't imagine making someone miserable because I was. On the contrary, my heart breaks and I am often left in tears when I see someone suffering in just a cruel manner. Bullying, or even "teasing" as some want to downplay most of the worse to make it seem like no big deal, is something that doesn't go away so easily. Do you know when I felt the bullying stopped for me? When I was 22 years old! That only happened when I decided to distance myself from the so-called friends I once had. Even now, years after I ended my friendship with these girls, they try to do all they can to make others mistrust or hate me. A great number of girls are this malicious and vindictive. Of course, they can't get me like they did when I was a teenager -- especially now with my faith as strong as it is.
I feel like I have been blessed with the group of friends I have now. Occasionally, there will be one or two that will start to create drama but I cut them out of my lives without a second thought. I have absolutely no tolerance for any kind of drama. As soon as I made the decision to surround myself with people who were as devoted to their faith, whether they were Catholic or not, I have had the peace of mind that I didn't have growing up. With all the anti-Catholic and anti-Christian sentiments that are running wild lately, it's this group that keeps holding tight. Some of us are more outspoken and relish in the debates that are presented and others just speak our piece and/or hold on strong to our morals and beliefs and turn the other cheek when the attacks keep flying our way. I fall into the second category; I will say something if Catholicism is attacked and I won't back down from it... but I won't begin a fight for the heck of it nor will I continue it if the debater is close-minded and their arguments don't hold up.
Thinking about everything, I have to ask myself: what will things be for my future children? I believe that my generation (as well as the next) can still do what we can to try to help those who are bullied or even those who do the bullying. While I am very much the "turn the other cheek so you can slap the other side as well" type of person, not everyone can take so much of it. I don't have an answer as to what we can do, but I would LOVE to start something... especially for the young Catholics and Christians that get ridiculed for anything including their faith. I try to give friends who are dealing with bullying support and advice. As I've said, for us ladies it never ends -- I've even given my own mother advice when she's asked. So, what are the rest of you going to do? Even if you aren't directly involved in a situation, are you going to stand back and watch it happened. Don't be afraid to stand up for someone. I've done it before. Though I ended up bruised and scratched up for it just once (in 7th grade), I would do it again. I am going to begin asking St. Michael Archangel, Blessed Jacinta Marto, Saint Raymond Nonnatus, and St. Dominic Savio for their intercession for young children and teenagers who are still being bullied for no good reason (and there is NEVER a good reason for it.) Btw, if you know any more patrons against bullying, feel free to leave a comment.
I'm sorry for such a heavy subject, especially since the last couple of posts have been pretty light in content, but I just felt compelled to write about this. I promise I'm not just doing it as a procrastination ploy... though I really don't want to work on that paper for Humanities. lol.
Anyway, I hope I've made some of you guys think. I hope the future is brighter for future generations. Now, I'm going to begin the arduous task of condensing thousands of years of Greek and Roman history into three pages. Fun! lol.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'll make a post containing all the back posts that have yet to be published when they are all done. No guarantees when because school will be ruling my time for the next couple of weeks. :)
Until next time, thanks for reading and God Bless.