I’ve decided to open up a bit on this blog, and one of the things to open up about is school bullying. I’ll get to that in a minute, but if you have a subject you would like me to write about, to hear my opinion, leave a note in the Chat Box on the right. Any subject is open to opinion, but I reserve the right to write about it or not.
During school, I was bullied. It happened in primary school, and it happened in secondary school. Of the two, I would say the high school stuff did the most damage.
Now I’m not blaming my whole life on being bullied at school. If I had my time over again, I really don’t know if it would have made much of a difference. We may only be talking a one percent change, it may be a ten percent change. We simply will never know, but one thing is for certain, I haven’t forgotten it. I’m not going to go into details here of what happened, simply because I know there will be others out there who have experienced similar things, and it gives you this strange sense of fear and helplessness, when you hear the stories. Well it does for me at least. To give an example, I’m in my late 30’s, and tried to watch the movie Drillbit Taylor the other week. Please don’t judge me on that, I hadn’t seen it, and there was nothing else to watch. I think I lasted about 20 minutes before I just couldn’t watch it, due to the bullying in it. I mean FFS, it’s just a movie, but it was painful to watch, and not just because of the bad script and poor acting.
I’ve thought over the last few days how I think the bullying has affected my life over the years. The school I attended wasn’t the best of schools, but it was close, and that suited my parents. I actually wanted to go to another school in the area, but as they had had a bad run in with that school in the past, I had to go to where I went. There is no point in me mentioning the school, it’s been closed down for about 20 years now. In year 12 I did manage to go to the school I had wanted to go to, and I did far better there, but I could have done better I think, if I hadn’t had five years at the previous place.
At school I was creative. I enjoyed science, arts, home economics, and textiles. This made me a target in a school where kids didn’t want to learn, they just went to school because they had to. It may have been an escape for them from bad parents, I’ll never know. But the general consensus was, if you were there to learn, you were not there for the right reasons. Every time you showed a bit of endeavour in the classroom, it would be hell for you during the recess and lunch breaks. Heading to school and home again were not any better.
Because of the bullying, I lost interest in doing the things I liked. I still liked them, but there wasn’t any point to doing them, because if I did do them, I would cop a beating for it. As much as I wanted to learn, I simple fear of more broken bones kept me from asking questions. Kept me from trying to do the best I could. Even to this day, while I have achieved a lot with my life, I still have this sense of there not being much point to doing it in the first place. Life is not a matter of something to enjoy, but a matter of survival.
I have trouble socially interacting with people. I close up shop and don’t be me around people I have never met before. I come across as someone who is antisocial, and I think overtime my personality has headed that way. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky, but it seems to be me is too much of an effort, so I may as well be an emotionless being that just does what is expected, and the least amount possible.
I get anxious around groups of people. I need to always have an exit plan, so I know how to get out of any situation, if per chance one does arise. When it comes to fight or flight, I’ve been on the receiving end of fights, and I would much rather fly thank you.
Now as I said before, I don’t blame all of the problems I have had in my life on being bullied at school. What I’m trying to point out is, it’s not kids being kids, and we all grow out of it at some point. Being told to toughen up and stand up for yourself, because it’s a dog eat dog world isn’t right. Kids need to be protected from everyone, including themselves at times. We need to allow their brains to develop, to soak up as much information as possible. To know they have the support to try things, and if they fail, know that you fail more times in life than you do succeed. We need to encourage them to let their imagination go wild, because that’s how they learn to think. When kids think, they take more information in, that will help them through all stages of their life. When kids are more worried about making it through a lunch break with out being hurt physically or mentally by someone, they can’t be their best. When kids feel as though they are going to be killed in the place where they are meant to be learning, (and yes that does happen, I’ve been there) then they don’t have the mental capacity to learn.
The antics of school bullies is not how it is in the real world. We have laws to ensure people don’t come to harm for doing their job. If you’re an office worker, think about what would happen if you were dragged out of your workstation, had your head flushed down the toilet, and you were repeatedly beaten by co-workers, simply because they felt like it. They would lose their jobs, the whole situation would be going through the courts for damages. The company would have it’s arse kicked, the police would be involved, and the whole thing would be dealt with. Why doesn’t this happen at school? You can’t just say because it’s kids being kids, because it’s not.
Recently I had my school reunion. I didn’t feel like going, because even though everyone is now grown up, they could now legally consume alcohol, and if they remembered the “good old days” things might get out of hand very quickly. I sat in the car park for about twenty minutes bawling my eyes out. Eventually I went in, and found a near empty room. It turns out the bullies were not there, because they were either dead (for one reason or the other, usually drugs) or were in gaol (due to violent crimes), and wouldn’t be out for some time. It makes you wonder why their antics at school were accepted back then, because obviously they never made a good contribution to society.
I’ve also heard the stories of the bullies who years later apologise to someone they bullied at school. I’ve never had it happen personally, and doubt it ever will. In a way I don’t want it to happen either, because it would mean seeing those arseholes again. But if it was to happen, I could never accept the apology. A simple “I’m Sorry” just wouldn’t cut it at all, because the damage done is more than can be resolved with just two words.