bully

Moths know the rapture

Of which I speak

The fixation

On an unattainable aesthete

She was above penance,

An insatiable tease

I fell upon her edicts,

Servile, naive

*

I understood

Humiliation,

It did not offend me

I wanted to expand

My isolating margins

To belong,

Even at the risk

Of acquiring a new self

I did not want

To become cruel

To become consumptive

In a defenseless rage

I avoided confrontation

By asserting humanity

In those hearts

Most craven

Good surely exists

The default

In us all

*

She coerced me into attendance

I took great pains

In preparation for the dance

Ecstatic and delusional

I miscalculated her savagery

A coven of histrionic harpies

Subdued me

My deepest insecurities

Slipping from greasy lips

Once presumed

Guileless

I understood humiliation

That night

It defined me

*

I hid in my room

Under the guise of illness

My mother was indulgent

But she was not deceived

*

It occurred to me

That my nemesis

Was just a little girl

Same as I

A hurting, vicious little girl

The external component

Of my internal war

I returned to school

Sat beside her as before

My life was not hers

To lead,

I moved forward

And lost track of her

Entirely

=

When I was in 4th grade I was being bullied by a girl in my class. The bullying didn’t bother me that much because as you know my social skills are very poor so I was incapable of fully understanding the situation. I knew she wasn’t nice but I saw no reason to be mean to her and in truth I was intrigued by her because she was my opposite in so many ways. When the school dance came around she invited me and I went. I brought another friend and we dressed up. I thought I looked quite nice and I was very excited (I was hoping a boy would ask me to dance). As soon as I arrived I was swarmed by a group of girls (she was the ring leader) and they started making fun of me. That was the first time she really hurt me, all the other petty stuff hadn’t bothered me too much. I stayed out of school for several days and my mom didn’t have the heart to force me because she saw how hurt I was. After my realization I felt much better. I went to school and when she realized she couldn’t get to me she left me alone or she didn’t but if she didn’t I didn’t notice anymore. After that if people teased me we would just end up joking and on friendly terms. I found out that I am actually pretty good at disarming people.

Okay now for different part of today’s post

My Advice: Don’t let another person define you

My solution/suggestion: This is not comprehensive and it is naive keep in mind I spend 95% of my time in my own world lol

Every school should have mandatory classes on communication and conflict resolution. In college my major required me to take such a course and it was absolutely invaluable, probably the most relevant course I have ever taken. Communication is essential in all areas of life, listening is part of communication, learning to express your feelings in a healthy way is part of communication.

There are two types of people (generally) those who internalize their feelings and turn their negative emotions inward and those who externalize their feelings and lash out at others. Both types can have difficulty expressing themselves in a healthy manner. All human beings have a fundamental need to express themselves. Children especially can lack the ability to communicate complex feelings. I have aย  5 year old daughter and I have found that just punishing her does not work. When she acts out it is often a result of stress or emotional struggles. While it takes time talking to her and asking her questions and giving her an opportunity to vent works wonders. After a good talk her behavior improves dramatically and she isn’t just behaving for fear of punishment, she is behaving because she feels good inside. There is a huge difference!!!!!! There are times when punishment is necessary of course but punishment without conversation is ineffective. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than punishment. Rarely do we acknowledge our children’s good behaviors both teachers and parents should be more mindful in that respect.

Speaking of outlets physical exercise is a healthy way of dealing with stress (PE should be fun and safe not violent and competitive the way I recall it). I also think art classes and creative writing are great ways for kids to express themselves. We need to talk more to our kids and if teachers to our students. All to often we get in this mind frame I am the adult what you have to say is not as important. We often think of children as fickle and so we think their feelings aren’t real. Their feelings are REAL and IMPORTANT!

Kids caught bullying should have to spend time with the school counselor I don’t mean just for a few minutes but for a couple of sessions. If at that time the counselor decides additional therapy is necessary the school needs to help with the arrangements or have a psychologist on staff to help children who may not have the financial resources for outside counseling. If during the counseling session abuse is suspected then the parents of the child need to be evaluated.

Teachers caught bullying and discriminating against a students based on race, sexuality, athletic prowess, academic performance, religion etc. should also have to undergo counseling and they should be punished. If the problem persists they need to be fired because it is completely unacceptable (depending on severity and if there was physical assault involved they may need to be fired right away). Likewise teachers who tolerate or encourage bullying in their classrooms should have to undergo counseling. Teachers will also be required to have communication courses and attend workshops.

Bullying should NOT be ignored and it should be talked about!

Well that is just some of my ideas on the subject.

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34 thoughts on “Bully

  1. Fantastic post MLM. Some years ago I worked in a school where to be mediocre was the norm. We tired a number of strategies to improve the tone of the school. One was to get students to participate in programs which put them in the limelight. Those kids copped a lot, one boy was almost a mess until we I said to him one day that if he believed in the things we were asking him to do then he could not allow others to dictate to him what he could or could not do.
    Thankfully that boy was courageous enough to stand up the next week on the school assembly and deliver his piece. You are right we cannot allow the ignorant to dictate the actions of everyone. All schools in Australia have anti bullying programs and teachers try very hard to combat it. Sadly it is a part of every society, or seems to be. I’m on your side about all this, yes bullying should not be ignored, for then it festers and more people are hurt.

    1. Thank you so much, I am glad to hear they are at least making the effort in Australia I am watching a documentary about bullying in the Southern USA and in this particular school system that don’t seem to be doing anything, in fact some of the teachers are bullies themselves. It is so upsetting. Kids are committing suicide because of the intense emotional pain and trauma they are enduring. I feel fortunate that despite being odd I didn’t experience bullying to severe degree (by high school it had ended). My husband was severely bullied, he was physically attacked on a regular basis.

  2. “I miscalculated her savagery”…this line was haunting to me.
    Fabulous advice ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I was the one who always stood up to those being bullied in school. I was friends with many and all “types”, so if I said something the mean ones stopped and walked away. We also need students AND teachers to stand up and say something immediately.
    I will say when I was in high school, I knew this boy since I was 5…so this was about 12 years later when I am about to tell you took place. I was walking to my car and the boy, Danny, had always stayed to himself. I would speak to him when I saw him but he never let anyone close. People would refer to him as potato head and I don’t know how many times I told them to shut it. Okay, back to the parking lot. I saw him by my car and I talked to him a bit. He was into art and wanted to share something he created. We spoke then I turned to walk away. I heard a boy scream so loudly, “Potato head you are a freak”….I turned and saw Sergio (one of the big football guys) come running with a baseball bat. Before I could move he hit Danny upside the head. Blood went everywhere including on me because I was right there. Danny was on the ground and all I could think to do was lay down on him. I did and teachers came and pulled Sergio away. Danny was seriously hurt and never returned to school. I went to his house and he would not let me in. It was about 5 years ago I received a letter telling me how hard his life had been since that moment. We reconnected but he barely leaves his house. Bullying is not a joke and not a rite of passage As a teacher I take it very seriously even with 5 year olds.
    I am sorry someone was cruel to you. Big hugs to you friend. You are such a beautiful person.

  3. I avoided confrontation
    By asserting humanity

    sometimes that is the only way…and the realization that they are no different than us….bullying is horrible…and destructive…i grew up in it…and i do most anything to stop it when i see it here at school….

  4. Great post! Communication in a positive way, as you say, is so important in any relationship, and can allow someone to retain their dignity and individuality. Your daughter will so benefit from you having experienced this, with you there to support, protect and guide. A wonderful anti-bullying site is: http://terkinn.wordpress.com/. Blessings to you…

  5. You expressed the turmoil a young child faces when subjected to bullying. I was a victim as well from K-3 until I finally told my father and he discussed it with the principal. Such a sad thing to have those memories growing up but in a lot of cases such experiences reinforce compassion. Marvelous poem, Candice.

  6. You inspire me to write a post about something similar. Bullying is quite common in my country (I’m not saying it’s acceptable), but recently my sister and some of her friends were bullied by their own school principal. It sounds strange, I know, but that’s what I think happened.

    This a great post, M. You have a profound understanding on this topic and also in parenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. hi mindlovemisery, this was a painful poem to read, and i’m so sorry that happened to you. our cruelty to one another never ceases to overwhelm me sometimes. i was bullied mercilessly in the 7th grade, it’s funny, the details of what i did yesterday might be blurred but i can remember the color shirt i wore then, how i never wanted to feel that way again, and how it made me realize that i could never be responsible for making someone else feel that way.

    i really admire your honesty and courage, and your willingness to be vulnerable.
    your poetry keeps me in the moment, and i thank you for that. have a wonderful night.

    1. I am sorry to hear that you went through something like that. In truth I feel lucky because while I do recall it I do not feel any anger or pain for myself. I know I did feel a lot of pain at the time but it does not haunt me the way some of my memories do. I feel pain when I hear of others stories and I recently watched a bullying documentary that left me in tears. Other people’s pain is always so much more unbearable because you can work through your own stuff but I never feel I can do enough for others who are suffering. My husband was severely bullied, beat regularly and he hates himself so much now as a man. It wasn’t just the bullying he had other hardships as well.I am sorry you went through that.

      Thank you so much and you as well having a great day or night depending on where you are in the world =)

  8. ty, i’m in Chicago, CST and i feel as you do;
    ‘Other peopleโ€™s pain is always so much more unbearable because you can work through your own stuff but I never feel I can do enough for others who are suffering.’

    and it was this empathy that near the end of that school year, i was able to change my victimization by standing up for another boy who was being bullied as well. something, from somewhere so deep within just took over and i stepped in, quite forcefully which was not my nature at the time. neither me or that other boy were bullied again, it taught me a very valuable lesson, one that i was able to convey to my daughter a few years ago when it started happening to her. she didn’t need to be quite as demonstrative, a few very well chosen sentences were all it took, thankfully.

    1. Sweden (I am from the US originally)

      That is amazing way to go you! It takes courage to stand up to bullies and to stand up for someone else is amazing =) I am so glad to hear that your daughter was able to resolve things peacefully and that all is well now. My own daughter has just started school and already there is a girl who says mean things about everyone else in class.

      1. well, ty but if i had thought about it beforehand, i doubt i would have done it; this came from a subconscious place but it worked and learned early how to deal with bullying.

        as for my daughter, it was a process and a collective effort. her mom, my partner and i reassured and spoke with her for a few weeks and formulated a plan. it was a body image issue, and at the very tender age of 11, a very sensitive subject. she has my genes, i’m 6’2″ so i knew it was only a matter of time before she grew into her body but she needed to know that.

        we contacted her teacher too to monitor the situation, but we thought it would best if she said what needed to be said…and she did. we were very proud of her, and she of herself. it was a great moment for her and one that is still paying benefits.

      2. You must have been so proud of her =) Way to be a supportive parents, all of you. I read your other post with your daughter so touching. I have some anxieties about dealing with a teenage daughter when the time comes lol I learned early on as well, because after that experience I had a much easier time dealing with that sort of thing. My first crush relationship (12) was stalkerish and unhealthy (he was the stalkerish one) and after that I learned what to avoid and only went for nice guys I married a nice guy.

      3. yes, we really were, i mean it could have gone either way but and think we prepared and reassured her enough, so when that day came she just resolved to make it right.

        oh and teenager anxiety, i’ve been one once LOL!, and i’ve ben warned by every parent..oh just you wait, you’ll see… so yes i have it and she’s getting a little ‘teenagery’ these days. but we talk, i’ve always talked with her as a peer, even when she was very young. we shared being a kid together too, but she tells me stuff now without me having to ask, important stuff like her first crush. so i’m knocking on every piece of wood in the house that it continues! LOL!

        i’m happy for you that you found someone nice, it really makes all the difference.

      4. That is so beautiful! I hope it continues as well =) Right now Isadora (daughter) has trouble expressing her feelings and so I do ask her questions because she can get quite upset but not quite know why. It takes a while to work out what is bugging her sometimes but we do. Sometimes it’s me! I am the one at home most so I get the pleasure of saying no and reinforcing the rules so sometimes I just plain suck lol I understand that though. I was such a strange teenager no drinking, no drugs, no smoking, no sex, no sneaking out, no parties, no stealing, no running away. I did well in school, read a lot, I did spend a lot of time in my room though. I am totally unprepared for the real deal! It does makes a a huge difference.

  9. I loved every line of this poem and I agree with the message 100%. I came up against my fair share of bullies at school (kids), but I was always confrontational and stood up for myself so they left me alone. Teachers, on the other hand, were a different story.
    I agree. Bullying is intolerable and it should be talked about.

    “I wanted to expand
    My isolating margins”

    “I miscalculated her savagery”

    These lines say so much, so eloquently. xoxo

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