Where to start. I guess way back in time. 1st-grade Baudette MN 1978 ish. Ya, it was that long ago. I can recall one person in particular that always gave me a hard time. Dallas. Don’t recall his last name and its all not that important. Just remember he was much bigger than me in all aspects. He always gave me a difficult time in class and one the playground. But this would not be the only bullying I would experience in my life. My recent and more vivid in my memory is 7th grade HMS, Hastings MN 1986. Even better was 4th-period art with Mr. Vano, 2nd semester. It all started sometime around January 10th, 1986.
It started with two. JJ and JM. I’ll use initials to protect names, even though it doesn’t matter. For the 4th period, my lunch was in the middle of class. 20 min into the class we would break for lunch, and have 20 min then back for 20. Kind of a weird schedule, but it is what it is. It all started about the first day. The two aforementioned would single me out on the way to lunch. It was a long walk from class to the lunch room, pretty much through desolate halls. This would start with jabs to the kidneys and face. And it would usually continue on the way back. This went on for weeks. Then two more joined in. JW and SS. The found pleasure in my pain. I never told anyone. Why, pride maybe, ashamed. I don’t know. But I didn’t really let it affect me. At least I tried to not show it. I think I did a pretty good job. I probably should have said something, but I didn’t. One particular incident I remember is walking to my next class after art, and one of the individuals from behind me ran up and proceed to attempt a flying side kick squarely on my back. Knocking me off my feet, scattered my small load of books across the floor it took the wind from me. As I regained my composure, I thought to myself, this shit has to stop. As they walked, I could hear them chuckle softly. I pickup up my belongings and proceed to my next class.
The same year, last day of school. Mr. Wholpers speech class. I asked a classmate in front of me to sign my yearbook. Never really socialized with him, but we had talked. His name was DP. He signs my book and hands it back, it reads. ” Have a nice summer, hope you die.” Somewhere I still have that book. Why he ever wrote that I’ll never know. I never did anything to him. However the rest of our school years together everyone thought I was racist. As I mentioned before, I’m not a violent person, don’t really have a drop of hate in my body, but he managed to find it.
Why are these two scenarios relevant you ask? They showed me what I need to do. Well, I’m not condoning bullying, I learned some valuable lessons.
- Nobody tells me what to do, ever. Well, except those I trust to perform a duty.
- Nobody pushes me around. I’m nobody’s slave. We all have red blood and breath the same O2.
- Your words and actions however hurtful or demeaning, won’t dictate my life.
- Nobody can make me feel anything I don’t want to feel.
Throughout the years of school, the bullies that once tormented my life faded away into the bustle of life. Each of them went their own way. Some for good, some for the bad.
To be continued…