Monday, October 15, 2012

On bullying...

So I've got a shocking fact for you that you will find completely hard if not impossible to believe (I know I do)....... it has been ten years since I graduated high school. TEN YEARS!  Which of course means that a few weeks ago, I was summoned to the almighty ten year high school reunion.  Now I had always envisioned that I would go to my reunion, it never crossed my mind that I would miss it. I mean 10 years ago when I imagined going to the reunion I thought "It'll be GREAT!  I'll finally have gained some weight and grown boobs, i'll be married to some hot rich guy, I'll be a broadway star- everyone will envy me!"  And now 10 years later, while I've thankfully put on at least a few pounds and sprouted some boobage, I find myself completely lacking in the hot rich man department and so far I'm only an Off-Broadway "star". But screw it, I went anyway. For a second I thought about Romy and Michelle-ing it and telling everyone I have a Tony Award but then remembered how the lying in that movie went for them and reminded myself that I don't have a fierce 3 person dance number to break into if I get caught, so I just stuck with the truth.  And you know what? I still had so much to be proud of.  This was the first time I've ever been in a high school setting and felt completely comfortable.  And even with a stress fractured foot and recovering from a stomach virus I caught that morning- I still looked and felt pretty awesome. So all in all, I'm glad I went.  All of the nostalgia of touring my high school and seeing old familiar faces caused me to go home and get all sappy with my yearbooks. I actually enjoyed high school for the most part, it's where I discovered my flair for the dramatic and got super into the whole Thespian thing, which allowed me to embrace my totally weird self and be proud of who I was blah blah blah.  But it was dipping into my middle school yearbooks that made me recall a completely different and obviously repressed part of my life. We hear stories of bullying all of the time now, and I'm glad it's being brought to the forefront and that there are now campaigns against it. Because I had tucked my memories of being bullied soooo far away not even Jack Bauer could access them. That doesn't mean they're not there though, and I found some nasty reminders of it, which brought me back to this blog today.
I was picked on in middle school.  Shocker, right? I feel like 90% of people were picked on in middle school. The other 10% were the a-holes doing the bullying, and hopefully most of them are fat and bald now with nothing to show for themselves. That's just how I always envisioned it would be. I was a very skinny and gangly kid with huge frizzy hair and a mouth full of braces.  Don't believe me? 
Behold, Exhibit A. 

I share this with you only because I'm confident enough with myself now that I no longer mind if you laugh at me. I'd laugh at me too. I mean, it was pretty rough. Along with the boyish good looks and finger-in-an-electric-socket hair, I also had a rockin' sense of style:

(also some of the only proof that I was once a brunette.)
So yes, did I "deserve" to get picked on?  I'd say I made pretty good bully meat. But still, this really doesn't serve as a great excuse. The truth is, there is no excuse for bullying. Because to put it scientifically: It is just douchey. I was mostly picked on for being thin, which I've always been. I was accused of eating disorders from age 11 up, even when I didn't know or understand what they were. But I assure you loyal readers, I consumed more McDonalds cheeseburgers in high school than Snooki consumed alcohol on the Jersey Shore.  I am eating disorder free, unless you count an obsession with carbohydrates as an eating disorder. If that's the case, call me Calista Flockhart. (Ah see, here I go bullying! Which defeats my point! I take it back Calista, you are beautiful and far more successful than I will probably ever be.) 
I digress. (What's new?) Whilst reading the signatures in my middle school yearbook, there were a few here and there that referenced my weight (or lack there of.) People lovingly nicknaming me "Skinny Bones", "Bones", etc. A couple people telling me to please eat something, or "Eat a burger". (I STILL get that and it annoys me more than anything but I'll save that for another blog.) But then I rolled across one gem which brought memories of emotional torture rolling back to me: My bus bully, Mitch Sklawer.
Like I said, I repressed most of the bad memories of middle school. Hell, I seem to have repressed most of the good ones too, or maybe I'm just that old and can't remember. It WAS 15 years ago. But there was this one obnoxious 9th grader on my bus when I was a wee 7th grader and newbie to Palmetto Middle School. His name was Mitch Sklawer, and for lack of a better word (which he doesn't deserve): He was a dick.
I can't remember specifics, nor do I want to. But I remember dreading taking the bus every day. Trying to stay out of his way and be invisible so as not to get picked on. And worst of all, never standing up for myself. How I wish I could go back in time, frizzy hair and all, and tell him off. But we can't know our own strengths when we're in that awkward phase of our lives. And even the kids that talk back get continuously tortured. That's how bullies work. This is the message Mitch left me in my 7th grade yearbook:



It may not look like much, but I can still hear his dickish voice saying such things to me. I used to always sit and fantasize that one day, I would have my revenge. My retribution. That yes maybe I was awkward, but it wouldn't always be that way... and one day I'd "show him".  15 years later, I don't really care anymore. However I DID decide to facebook stalk Mr. Sklawer, to see where he's at now, and I was very pleased to find that 15 years later, he is still as unattractive as ever.  

So, I suppose this blog is my retribution. I will happily say Thank you Mitch, I DID keep up with the small clothes, and I do indeed look better. Much better. And you sir, do not. And I'm willing to put money on it that you're probably still a dick.  So all in all, I win.

I found another one of my "bullies" in the yearbook, a girl who constantly made me feel like crap about myself, and was reminded that she totally looked like a warthog. I'll refrain from sharing names because she may one day come across this, and completely outing one bully is enough for one blog (Lucky you Mitch.) But my mother reminded me that in high school, this warthog of a girl said to me "You know why I didn't like you in middle school? Because you had frizzy hair." I SO wish that I could go back to that moment and respond "Well, I can fix my hair, but you can't fix your face. So, you lose."  Facebook shows that she is still warthoggy, just a more mature warthoggy. That's the most ironic part about bullies- they're usually ugly and awkward too. They are just ugly and awkward with big mouths who decide to beat everyone else to it by being the first to start being mean, so that no one will call them out on their lesser points. I like to think they get theirs when they get older. I mean, it can't be easy growing up looking like a warthog. I know I sound bitter, and I think I deserve to be just a little bit, because it seriously sucks to get picked on, and sucks worse when you think of great quippy responses 12 years later.

To all the kids currently going through it out there, being bullied- just remember this. Your "Mitch Sklawers" will also grow up to be ugly.  If not physically, most people don't ever get the ugly out of their hearts. And there is nothing worse in this world than an ugly heart.  So hold on and know that "This too shall pass" (which was my quote underneath my picture in the 8th grade yearbook when I was graduating middle school. I was a wise one at 13.)  And to the bullies- think twice before you pick on the skinny kid. Or the fat kid. Or the frizzy hair or busted teeth or stutterers... there's a good chance they will grow up to be cooler/hotter/more successful than you.  We all have to go through an awkward phase, and it sucks to peak in middle or high school. No one has it easy when they're young, no sense in making it even harder for those who are still waiting to come out of their shells. Nicer kids are always, ALWAYS the cooler kids. Period.

 
Ten years later. Suck it Sklawer.

Me at my 10 year high school reunion with old drama class friends Kate and Sam.




5 comments:

  1. Not every bullied kid turns out as great as you.

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  2. I sure hope they get to the point where it comes full circle though. Where you realize that the people who bullied you never deserved to even be in your presence...

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  3. Is that the guy from Man Vs. Food?

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  4. I'm a fan...you officially rock in my book...and thanks for your kind comment about my baby boy...love and all the best.....m

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