Cows, Unlikely Kings, and Other Lessons in Bullying

School

Bullies are plentiful in the sixth grade. At the age of twelve, most girls learn to exist among cruel whispers and pointing that may or may not be about them. Paranoia is at its peak, but there’s at least some comfort in humiliation that is shared among the majority.

There was one girl in particular who ruled as queen bully between the sixth and eighth grade for me; a tiny thing who wasn’t the prettiest or most popular girl. Just the meanest. She seemed to exist in constant disgust of those around her, with our inappropriate eye makeup and misguided fashion sense. Really, anything from 1988 could be interpreted as misguided. But she didn’t know that yet.

She had no idea how much we all hated her. Or maybe she did. She was a universal villain, and somehow that made her tolerable. She was the kind of classic bully we see in movies; a shared experience we can bond over. But sometimes there is bullying that singles out just one person. Have you ever been the one person? Continue reading

Mean Kids

Teghan School Bus

 

For the first few years of my life no one was mean to me. I had siblings, but they were old enough to find me charming for at least the first four years. I was used to older kids being helpful, so the first time I was treated badly by one was very upsetting.

The first memory I have of this kind happened when I was about four years old. It was my one and only visit to any kind of jail. It didn’t seem strange to me that we were there. We were visiting a relative who I knew and loved, and I had no conflicting thoughts about it. I think sometimes as grownups we are unaware of how children take things at face value. I had consequences for my actions all the time as a way to teach me how to behave as an adult- so I would learn, and never have to experience serious adult consequences like jail.

In my four-year old mind, my relative must surely have been sorry and wouldn’t make that mistake again. I held no judgment. I couldn’t wait to visit, and was extremely thrilled to be patted down and searched by guards. Also, I had been promised another child my age would be there, and we would be outside by a play area.

And it all came true. There was a nice little boy my age, and we did have fun on the playground….until some bigger kids came.  Continue reading