January 28, 2010


Bullying seems a fashionable word- and there are reasons behind the "fashion". Workplace bullying, school bullying, just to name few. Anti-bullying groups are appearing everywhere, especially in Facebook. Newspapers, websites frequently publish news of bullying. One schoolgirl recently published a list of names of the bullies, who she wanted to kill. Another school girl was being bullied and attacked by thugs at school, 20 or more people nearby and NO ONE did anything to help!
Now, more than 20 years has passed since I finished secondary school (isn't it amazing how time slips by?) but I still remember how I was bullied there by handful of boys and girls, who thought they are better than anyone else on the earth. And yes, because they thought I was a loser. Many times I have been tempted to publish their names somewhere in a very public place, but instead of doing that (not yet, at least), I thought I'd go visit my old school and talk to their students about bullying, and how it can be overcome, one day. I am still VERY tempted to publish their names... Name and shame, no boundaries, no constraints.. looking at the painful past.
TR, one of the bullies, was an unemployed fat drunk at some point.
TS, was spotted in a local pub, by one of my friends and told him off for being a bully. He had nothing to say.

Leena, Kimmo, Toni, Vesa, Harto, Mirva, bullies of my (old) life, here's to you:

I wonder if rest of the bullies have gone on and become flawless and successful in their lives. Somehow I doubt that, but come on bullies, come forward and tell me.

At school, there was bus transport just for us kids. To enter the bus, we had to form a queue, and I was ALWAYS the very last one. Journey home took about 20 minutes, but each of those minutes felt longer than an hour. I was forced to listen to threats, swear words of all kinds and shouting.
In the morning, bullies were the last ones to be collected from their part of the city, but they made some weaker kids book seats for THEM, kings and queens of the world. My friend was bullied too, but I think I got the worst of it. Inbetween classes, we spent some time outdoors. Once we managed to hide from the bullies, but next time they found us, threw snowballs at us, verbal threats and calling us names that I don't need to repeat here. In those days, if you weren't strong enough to stand up for yourself, it was all fighting a losing battle. For me, one of the contributing factors was my "odd" family name, that the clever bullies could play with. ML, one of the boys pointed out that I looked like a boy in the 3rd grade classroom photo! I regret that I can't find that photo right now, I'd have published here and sought for extra opinions. Well I can have a laugh about it now, but at the time when I was 9 years old, it was not funny.
Secondary school was bigger, but the unwanted bullies followed. They continued bullying in classroom, kicking me, whispering abuse, and once when teacher halfheartedly interfered, I sheepishly had to say "nothing was happening". This went on from 1979 to 1985, in various forms. It was mostly verbal abuse, mental game, emotional blackmail; I received couple of kicks from selected few, but thank God nothing more. Often I wondered if these people are human.
One incident is crystal clear in my mind: I was probably 13 years old, felt sick and vomited all over in school corridor! Shock horror! Everyone gathered around to witness the miracle: "that one" vomited! From then on, I was known as the One Who Vomited. Bullies used to make jokes begging me not to vomit on them. I think that's exactly what I SHOULD have done.
Bullies were left behind when I went to high school. Adios, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen.

I never met any of them again. They are probably buried up to their necks in something, screwed up. Somehow vanished off the face of the earth.
For little while I felt like an emotional cripple, unworthy and spaced out, but I've recovered. It may not feel same when you are 16 years old and going through this type of ordeal, but it is POSSIBLE to recover. It may not be possible to forget, but forgiveness is a virtue and it can be found. As for me, it is most fascinating to entertain thoughts of whereabouts of the bullies and what they have become in their lives. Most satisfactory answer would simply be a LOSER. Do they remember at some point of their lives what school did to them? Or was it the school- teachers, fellow pupils- what made them feel so angry that they had to take it out on someone else?
What I know about them is that they were gullible, insecure, non-human, deeply unhappy children- perhaps they were abused at home by their parents and siblings. I'll never know, I guess. I don't feel any compassion toward them, but it does not mean I can never forgive them. One day.

I'd not recognize them if they accidentally stepped on my foot in crowded train. Wherever they are, I know for sure, they are not living anywhere in my neighborhood. And if they read this, I can tell them know I am happy. I have a loving husband, family, nephew, friends and four gorgeous cousins back home. I have a horse, I have work and there no trace of cancer in my body! 2 years and 13 days cancer-free!

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