“Don’t mess with me”.

Have you ever been bullied?
Do you remember it to this day?
Are children more cruel now,
than they have ever been?
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hekatekris/2888437816/">Lisa monster</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
I personally do not think so.
I cannot accept,
that we are putting our heart and soul into our children,
resulting in the creation of more bullies than ever.

I think picking on weaker people,
and putting others down,
in order to raise ourselves up,
is and always will be a part of life.
Social media may have changed the methods,
but I think bullying is and always will be there.

As I look back to my childhood days,
I believe at times I could have been classed as a bully.
I was a strong minded individual,
who was only happy as the leader.
I had friends who were meeker,
who in a way towed the line.
It was how it worked!
I am not proud.

I asked a couple of them recently,
if this was true,
but they disagreed,
I am not so sure.
It was not vicious or intentional,
but I definitely pushed them my way.

However I too,
strong willed and opinionated as I was,
experienced bullying.

I can remember clearly one particular day.
I was about ten years old.
I had a bike of sorts,
but in reality it could not really be classed as such.
It would be better to describe it,
as a mongrel bike.
A collection of different bikes,
put together to make a single bike.

I had cycled to school,
and as I came out to collect my “bike”,
I saw four older girls gathered around it.
I could hear them giggling and mocking it,
“lets wait here to see who owns it”,
“look at the state of it”.

So as I looked at them,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikekrieger/3026518083/">mikekrieger</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>
and then saw my bike through their eyes,
I did the only thing I could think of,
I turned away, and walked home!
On arriving home,
my extremely irate mother,
asked me “Where is your bike?”.

Did I tell her what had happened?
Did I hell!
I said “Oh whoops I forgot it”,
and walked back to school to collect it.

Not too long after this happened,
I met these lovely girls again.

I was the third girl in my family.
Ten years younger than my eldest sister.
I often had the pleasure of wearing clothes,
that my older sisters had enjoyed,
many years earlier.
One such item of clothing,
was a cardigan.
I can clearly see it still.

It was a pale blue sailor style cardigan,
with a strange pattern.
But it’s most striking feature was it’s buttons.
They were about twelve in number,
and stuck out.
They were silver in color,
with an anchor printed on each one.
In other words they were in real terms,
social suicide!

One day whilst wearing this “beautiful” cardigan,
I was walking home from school,
when I met the same girls,
who had commented on my bike.
As they drew level with me,
I had to stop.

There was five of them,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/5244572860/">gareth1953 Got My Bus Pass Now</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
all at least one full year older than I.
And so began,
a relentless comment on my cardigan.

I cannot accurately recall,
what it was in fact they said,
until one of them said something like,
“you must be scarlet havin to wear that manky cardigan”
She then reached out and touched it,
with her nose wrinkled and a certain “look” on her face.

As they stood there, laughing at me,
I was filled with rage.
Without hesitating I looked the queen bee in the eye,
“What, this cardigan?”, I said,
mock bewilderment in my voice,
” I love this cardigan, it’s my favourite!”.

And with those few words,
I completely shut them all up.
They stared at me,
but were rendered speechless.

I turned and headed home.
My heart pounding,
but so thrilled I had shut them up.

I stomped in the back door of home,
and bypassed my mother.
Up the stairs I went,
and I took off that cardigan,
rolled it in a ball,
and shoved it with venom,
under the mattress!

I never again wore it.
Looking back I would assume my mother read the signs,
my face, the stomping, and the return to the kitchen,
minus a cardigan.
She never asked,
but it was removed from under the bed,
and I never saw it again.

Except in my minds eye,
where I can picture it today,
as freshly as if it were only yesterday.

I have over the years,
shared this story with my own children,
and others I have minded.
Because I do think bullying is part and parcel of human nature,
but as a parent the key is,
equipping our children to cope with it,
and effectively deal with it.
My mum must have somehow done her job well,
although I still think making me wear that cardigan was a mistake!

photo credit: Lisa monster via photopin cc
photo credit: mikekrieger via photopin cc
photo credit: gareth1953 Got My Bus Pass Now via photopin cc

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23 thoughts on ““Don’t mess with me”.

  1. Totally agree, Bullying was always there, it is no worse today than it was when I was going to school, the only thing that has changed is where it happens, once it was the school yard, the football field or the street outside your house, wherever there were kids there was bullying and now the kids are on the internet and that is where it happens.

      1. I think you are right that there is more kindness and acceptance toward “differently abled” kids. I think now the bullying is more directed toward the “different but ‘normal’ ” kid (the nerdy, awkward, shy, etc). I also don’t think the bullying itself has gotten worse, per se. It’s just the fact that now you can’t escape it. Before, you got bullied at school and sought sanctuary at home. Now you turn on your computer, your phone, your ipad, and it’s still there. 24/7. For the same reason, it’s also much more public than ever before (the whole world can see it at the click of a mouse, rather than just your gym class). For those reasons, I would say it has gotten worse.

        1. I really do agree that the public nature of the bullying is definitely new and makes it worse. It must have a major impact as even as an adult if I do something others then find out about it magnifies it. Thank goodness I’m an aul wan I wouldn’t want to go back.

  2. What honesty. And I agree that the social media of today makes it so much worse. I think it comes down to parents, still. No matter where your kids are, in person or on line, parents need to be THERE too.

    1. Yes and we are a bit behind our children in preparing them to cope with online bullying. Some do attract more bullying than others and I do think there are ways and means to help some children not be such obvious targets. If I hadn’t coped with these girls I suspect they would have had many more days enjoying making me uncomfortable.

      1. You are right about not preparing our children for the on line bullying. And honestly, I think that kind of snuck up on us.

        I think your tactic with your childhood bullies is what works in many situations….they aren’t expecting courage and people to stand up to them. They want to make others feel less, so that they may puff their chests. This was a great post.

  3. perhaps your mum was craftier than you give her credit for and the cardigan wasn’t a mistake but part of a deliberate plan to teach her children to be strong and stand up for themselves in the face of public ridicule?

    [the song ‘A boy called Sue’ springs to mind] 😆

    1. Ha ha it did for me too when I was writing this! I’m not sure my mum was that crafty or mean, I just think I share her genes!
      Great to see you back in the blogosphere. 🙂

        1. Actually guardually is a good word for it. Yes mmm, can I hear him saying “Beware of blogging”. Somehow I suspect he said “Lay off the booze, eat better and exercise more!” 🙂

  4. I remember bullies at my age, too. What I don’t seem to remember at my age is the number of teen suicides. That distresses me greatly. And raises lots of questions about we are and aren’t doing differently.

    1. Yes I do agree the increasing numbers who chose suicide as a way out is so sad and I agree very worrying, as for some it seems to be an impulsive act. But I wonder are there a host of other issues there and we only can understand bullying and so decide that was in fact the reason.

    1. I read this to my youngest (11) tonight and she said “oh I always loved that story” I hope it inspires her to be able for whatever comes her way.
      I am sure as we all did your kids will be fine.

  5. I tell my kids to fight back with words, not fists, and it seems to work as they’ve all got sharp tongues on them 🙂 I only decided to intervene once, when Bigfoot was physically assaulted by a gang of youths who has already threatened him and pushed him around once before. I’m ready and waiting for the if they ever decide to come back: I’ll be on their doorstepss every night with a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary and a hand-held electric beater 🙂

    1. I too intervened just once. I doorstepped a brat, who was out of control and parents and teachers were having no effect on him. I told him very calmly face to face,(very close up) that he would definitely not like to meet me again as I could get mad, very mad and he would not like to see me mad, or my sons Dad who was furious. Then I walked away.
      It worked!

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