September 02, 2016

Whatever happened to the schoolyard bullies?

I was reading a local newspaper webpage and in it there was a story about a girl, who had been bullies at school. Just because she was different. Listened to different kind of music, wore her own style of clothing and had a skin disease. It was something that couldn't be covered and when the bullies saw this, they had more ammunition in their pockets. The girl ended up attempting suicide and woke up in a psychiatric unit.
My story started almost the same way, but thankfully did not end exactly the same.
I wonder what happened to the two girls, LM and MO, and five boys, TS, TR, ML, HP and VR, who bullied me?
What became of them? Would they still remember what they did to me and would they be surprised that sometimes I feel I could get a baseball bat and give them what they deserve? Well, obviously I am far away and I wouldn't even know how to find them. Kind of, because I've been looking for them. Facebook, Twitter, Google, name it and I did finally find one of them: she works as a "salesperson" and supports some of them local teams, has 20 friends, watches mediocre TV programs and listens to all the popular local bands. There are no family photos and to me she looks like a loner, who has had one too many drinks, in a one black and white photo. Something in her face looks the same though.  She most certainly looks old, older than I do and we were classmates after all, but we have aged differently, as we all do. I would even go that far as to say I am the one who is more successful and probably sleep my nights better than her. Now, the next question is: what do I do now? Leave it? Leave it. Yes. Maybe.
I remember her green eyes, freckles on her face and that reddish hair. I remember her yelling at me, calling me by all imaginable names, throwing me and my bag at the end of the queue for the school bus. Remember those Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf? Disney characters? She thought I resembled one of those pigs. I think the tables have turned now.

Bullying continued from primary school to secondary school, but at least those dreadful bus journeys came to an end. It's only if one of the bullies was off sick or incapacitated in another way, the journeys were more peaceful. Did the bus driver have a clue what was going on? It was not just me being bullied, there were other targets too. We were just 12 years old at the time. I wonder why I didn't speak up and tell one of the teachers or my parents what was going on. I probably would have achieved more at school, had I not been so scared all the time. In all honesty, what could they have done to me? Just empty threats, verbal abuse, loud voices etc, but how can a 10-12 year old be reassured that it won't turn into a physical abuse?

In some ways the secondary school was easier, but bullying went on during classes and during breaks, if they managed to find me. One of the teachers, Lisa, asked me once during class if I was ok. Once again I could not speak up and "everything was just fine", but I couldn't, not in front of everyone. Once my friends and I were hiding from the bullies and did not go out during the break. One of the teachers found us and forced us to get out, and stay after classes to explain why we were hiding. I don't any of us spoke up. Again. We should have.

Bullying ended at the time when I started high school. I colored my hair bright red, wore black, listened to loud music and had a bad attitude. I never finished high school, but went to college instead. I got in, because I was determined to get into the program and become a nurse. I was 17 and had no clue if this was the right thing to do, but it was the best I could do.

The bullies? I don't know what became of them. No one of them are known world wide as a successful scientist, politician, president or anything else for that matter. Rumors have been circulating about one of two of the boys, who are either unemployed or been arrested. Who knows, if these rumors are true or not, but if they are, then I am glad justice has been served and I don't need to take the matters into my own hands. Well, if I saw one of them one day, I might be tempted to think of something smart to say to them. Sending a message to this green eyed monster, whom I just found this afternoon, is very very tempting right now. Would I remind her who I am, when she clearly has forgotten? Would I tell her to take a hike? What would I say that would leave a lasting impression?

"Silence can't be misquoted" said someone once. Stay silent and say nothing that can be used against you.

Forget, forgive and move on. Forgive, ok. Forget, never.

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