Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't Tease Me Bro

I've discussed before how much I love blogging, but sometimes I am lacking the motivation or topic to do so. My friend Mandy sent me to an awesome group where they suggest topics for you to blog about. Genius! Well, yesterday's topic really hits home with me as I ran into an old "bully" this weekend, so I'm jumping on the Reverb Broads band wagon. 

What did people tease you about growing up? 

This one is kind of a doozie for me. I was teased a lot, through most of my childhood. And as I have grown older, I've become so much more aware of what a huge issue it is. It's one of many reasons that I am so committed and passionate about the DWC's work with Finding Kind. And while this cause really focuses on girl vs. girl bullying, I didn't encounter teasing or bullying from girls until I entered high school. 

But let's back up a bit, because in an effort to keep this inevitably long post from entering 'novel' territory, I'm going to talk about the first two really strong memories of teasing that I have.

The first time I remember being teased to the point of daily tears was in 2nd grade. I would rather not use people's real names, so I'm just going to use the first letter. In 2nd grade, a boy named S was the first person who I remember being just plain mean to me. I went through my "chubby" phase in the 2nd grade. I was always taller than most kids my age, but this was the first time I was "chubby". S made that known. He called me "whale" every day. (Which was always weird to me, because he was not thin himself.) And then somehow he found out that my dad, who's given name is Richard, went by the nickname "Dick". I'd known that was my dad's name my entire speaking life, and it meant nothing to me other than a name. S knew it was a slang term for a certain part of his anatomy, and boy did he let me know it. He would dance around me chanting things about my dad's name. Well, being a tried and true "Daddy's Girl", this was earth shattering. My dad handled it with grace, as I explained the reason for my tears. He laughed and said it didn't hurt HIS feelings, but that if it continued to hurt MINE that I should look S right in the face and say "Well, in my house, we call it a S." The very next day, as soon as he started up with his remarks, I shot that comeback right at him - and shut right up. Permanently. 

The next one that really stands out was in middle school. Three boys, J, A and M, decided I'd make a great target. By the 6th grade, I was a good 4-5 inches taller than most of the boys my age (I'm 5'10 now and was probably 5'6/5'7 in 6th grade) and skinny as a rail, which lead to lots of pointing and laughing. 

In case you weren't sure, I'm the one in the back, towering over my friends.
That's how it started with these three. J and M were much shorter than me, and A was close to my height. M's locker was right below mine in the 6th grade hallway and every day the three would meet between classes and before and after school at M's locker. It started with just "light heckling" about my height. "How's the weather up there?" type of stuff. Harmless, but annoying and hurtful when you are 12 and trying to gain some sort of self-confidence. Then, a few weeks into the school year, I got a new pair of tennis shoes. Being 5'6/5'7 at 12 also means you are wearing more grown up sizes than most of your peers. The same was true for shoes. So, when shoe shopping, I was already very self-conscious. I'd picked out a pair of black, white and pink Nike basketball shoes - all the "cool kids" were wearing them.
They looked kind of like this, but Black and Pink in place of Blue and Red, and leather instead of suede.

I wore them to school the next day, for the first and only time. J, M and A gave me so much grief for my shoes ("Are you joining the WNBA?" "Is that the only shoe that comes in giant size?") that I never wore them again - in fact I'm pretty sure I returned them for a pair of plain white low-top KSwiss. But that was nothing compared to what was to come. As the year went on, so did their teasing. I was finally getting to a point where I could carry as many books as possible to limit locker visits and when I did have to go to my locker, I'd just act like they weren't there. That didn't set well, apparently, because soon they started waiting for me and as soon as I'd open my locker, one of them would reach over and slam it shut. M was the most ruthless to me and one day, I didn't get my hand out of the way quite fast enough, because the door shut on my finger. "Don't let them see you cry" was the only thought I had in that moment. Once my finger was free from the locker, I walked to the nurse's office (where I then bawled like a baby). She called my Mom and the Principal. It didn't look good and I needed to see a doctor - it turned out to be broken. The next morning, my parents and I sat in the Principal's office and went through the details. He moved me to a new locker and punished J, M and A. 

And somehow, whether it be interference from my Mom that I never knew about, or whether it be the Universe looking out for me, I went through all of middle and high school with those three and not once did I have a single class with any of them nor did I have a locker within eye-shot. In fact, I have little memory of seeing any of them much around the high school, or after...until Friday when J and I were at the same concert and made awkward, extended eye contact. Its amazing how quickly all those feelings from so long ago come rushing back. I wonder what kind of people all four of those boys grew up to be...

No comments:

Post a Comment