Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Bully

When I was younger, I had a "best friend" who was a taller girl that I'd known since grade school, but she and I didn't become friends until 6th grade. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to change her name, and call her "Kathy".

While we shared many fun times and happy memories together through middle and high school, it wasn't until a few years ago did I realize she was a pretty big bully-type figure in my life all those years. (We didn't hangout as much after high school since she went to a college in a different city. We haven't been in contact for 2 years now). She would do things to me that would physically hurt or embarrass me, and also pull mean pranks on me that would hurt my feelings. For whatever reason, I just put up with her antics because I always considered her my best friend.

I will tell you just a few of the top stories about the things she did to me that were rather cruel, but I experienced a lot of various forms of bullying from her throughout our years of friendship.

Story #1: One time at a sleepover at her house, she and another girl secretly rubbed IcyHot cream all over my pillow and sheets, and sat there and laughed at me while I was bewildered at why my bedding smelled like strong chemicals and affected my skin. They didn't tell me what they had done until the next day. I was really upset by that prank. Another time at a sleepover, she tried to get me to wet my bed by putting my hand in a bowl of warm water. Thankfully it didn't work on me. And again at yet another sleepover at her house, she took photos of me while I was sleeping with my underwear exposed, and she took the photos to school and showed them around to everyone and the boys I liked to embarrass me. She seemed to enjoy humiliating me.

Story #2: One time in 8th grade Honor's Reading class, we had to read this whole book over our Spring Break, because our evil teacher was going to give us a test on it the day we returned from Spring Break. (Way to ruin our holiday week!). I had a trip I was going on with family, and I managed to read the whole book while on the airplane. Upon return to class after our Spring Break, I was actually looking forward to the test, because I felt like I would ace it! My assigned seat was in the back corner of the classroom, and I was the first person to finish the test. When I got up and proudly started to walk to the front of the class to turn in my test, Kathy stuck her longass leg out in front of me, and tripped me in front of the whole silent class, and I totally wiped out and tumbled loudly to the floor. My skirt flew up and exposed my underwear to everyone, and the whole class roared in laughter at me. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life, and all caused by my supposed "best friend".

Story #3: One time I had my birthday party at my house, and we were all playing some sort of game in the front yard. Without warning, Kathy pulled both of my ankles out from under me, and I crashed to the ground and started crying from both the pain and embarrassment. My Mom says she'll always remember that particular one because she was witness to it.

Unless you have awareness of it, you may not even realize you're being bullied. Sometimes it depends who is doing it and what place they have in your life. It's not just kids at school who suffer from bullies, a lot of adults deal with it too. For some people, it's a parent, sibling, boss, or even their romantic partner. My Dad was a bully to me also, big time. (Read my blog "Conditioning: The Ultimate Mind-F*ck"). I had a waitress job that I only lasted about 2 months at a few years ago, because the "boss" was a young female who treated everyone so cruelly, no one could stand her. She was especially mean to me and this other girl really bad every single shift, and the other waiters noticed her targeted attacks on us. I quit in grand style, leaving her a nasty note (which was all I could muster to stand up for myself at the time). I know an adult man who is a family friend, who was physically and verbally abused by his bully wife for 22 years (they finally divorced a recently). Male-targeted spousal abuse is actually a little-talked about problem that many men suffer from. Many people say that you have to stand up to the bully. That can definitely be good and work in many situations, but for some it can be dangerous. Regardless of any bullying situation, there is help available, and I encourage those who suffer from it to seek out counsel and help from trusted sources.

Anti-Bullying is a cause that I strongly support, which is why I'm a proud sponsor of Kid's Resource, which was founded by my friend Gerry Orz, an 11-year old activist who has made films to address the issue in schools and even got the California Senate to recognize December 12th of every year as Bullying Prevention Awareness Day.
With Gerry Orz, founder of Kids Resource and Lisa Mae, founder of Equality TV

May more people become aware of this issue and work to reduce it. Spread kindness and help others.
~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

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