This post is in support of my friend Toulouse of Toulouse and Tonic, who recently launched Bully Shaming. See her own post and submit your Bully Shaming picture or story on the Bully Shaming Facebook page.
My childhood was one of stability, predictability, and consistency.
JK! I had a new home every three years until I was 12!
My childhood was a travelling circus. We were happy clowns, but we had to pull the tent stakes up when the engagement was over and hit the next venue.
But, like the charming fellow and his clones here, even clowns get the blues. And that clown's clones get the blues. And those clones also sometimes die inexplicably, most likely because God really doesn't approve of the unholy reincarnation of photocopied automatons.
|This is what is looks like, when cloned clowns cry.|
Pic uploaded to Flickr under Creative Commons license by drrt, here.
I was a sad clown once or twice in my childhood. I had a few incidents that tarnished an otherwise entirely mediocre social existence in elementary school.
In the second grade I was pinned against a brick wall. This looms somewhat more sinisterly in my memory because the pinner was the daughter of the parents who watched me during the potentially calamitous “Latchkey Gloaming” when children of working parents were mostly likely to become part of a real-life ABC Afterschool Special.
I don’t remember the inciting incident. Maybe I’d been nabbed in a game of tag and I claimed I wasn't. Maybe I promised her my last Garbage Pail Kid card and reneged at the last. Maybe she was a jerk.
What I learned that day was that I was not likely to put up with much bullying. Instead of resigning myself to the ignominy of the chronically persecuted, I broke outwith a rage and spittle-flecked barrage that, while coming out all wrong, was effective in setting me up as “that crazy girl.” My Dr. Bruce Banner gave way to my Hulk and I screamed,
“You’re a F*CK!”
My moment of "adult language" usage threw her off guard and I scrambled free to bolt across the street to our apartment where I called my mother at work and incomprehensibly asserted, “It’s NOT my fault blubber, blubber, blubber . . .”
I was given detention for using profanity and leaving the school grounds. I’m pretty sure the bully collected$78.52 in lunch money and bought cartons of Lemon Heads and cigarettes with it. Life’s not always fair.
She wasn’t my last bully. It wasn’t the last time I mini-Hulked out.
I once chased boys who'd pinned me down (yes, again) after we lost a team scooter race. I chased those boys into the gym's equipment storage room where I chucked football helmets and metal folding chairs at any one of them who so much as flinched.
| A promising future in luge, crushed by bullies.|
The final time I tangled with a bully was in the sixth grade. Neither my mother nor I remember what transpired to set-off my bully, but the result was a trip around the school baseball diamond without the use of my own feet. I was dragged, face down, on a base-by-base home-run tour that did not, in fact, put a run on the board for my team. It ended with ripped jeans, skinned knees, and a long conference with the parents of both parties.
I don’t even remember the girl’s name.
The truth is, I don’t remember any of the names of the people that bullied me. I suspect that’s because these weren't bullies, after all. These were events. These were the result of the incendiary circumstances of adolescence and social learning. It’s during our childhoods that we try to figure out how best to interact with each other and completely screw it up with overwrought emotional reactions and thoughtless verbal abuse that includes, “Well, your face is stupid! So there.”
I think real bullying, the kind that yields long-term, sometimes tragic results for both the bullied and the bully, is more about repeated, physical and psychological attacks on a kid. A kid who doesn't have the advantage of a fight response that allows her to Hulk Out and toss f-bombs at her attackers.
This is my call to the Dr. Bruce Banners of the world. Shame a bully, for the bullied. Do it for the many folks who get picked on and grow smaller in the process, not bolder, bigger, and greener. Hulk Out on their behalf. Speak up. Intervene. Get help.
Just . . . maybe avoid calling a young girl a “f*ck.” You’re a grown-up now. Call her a maladjusted brat and tell your friends you pity the parents who have to deal with that deranged child.
Now I will try to bully you into clicking on the banner below to cast a vote for my blog at Top Mommy Blogs. You wouldn't like me when you aren't clicky.