I was bullied in Junior High: pantsed, laughed at, mocked, knocked around, chased, tormented…
I was fast, though, and, when I could, I would run. I’d run away from my tormentors, run away from my bullies, run away from the pain… Sometimes I managed to get away clean. Sometimes I didn’t.
Regardless. I could never outrun the shame and humiliation.
I often wished I had the courage to stand and fight, to take the punches and kicks, and lash out with my feet and hands, returning blow for blow. I wished I had the strength to turn my shame into channeled fury. I wished I had the fortitude to turn my fear off, to not worry about what they would do to me if I stood to fight, to not worry about what it would mean for my school career, the suspension, the possible expulsion. I wished I could inflict the kind of pain on them that they had inflicted upon me.
Would that make me as bad as them? If I hurt them as they had been hurting me would I too be a bully? Where was the line between defending myself and taking it too far? Would I have known that line? Would I have ever even come close to the line… me, against all of them…
Would I be a different person now if I had?
Because I like who I am now. I like where I am now. I love the people in my life and I wouldn’t give them up for anything. Did those terrible experiences in junior high set me on this path? Did I have to go through those trials and tribulations to make it here, to appreciate what I have now?
As much as I wonder how my life back then would have been different if I had chosen fight over flight, I wouldn’t go back and change anything.
However, if my little prince is ever bullied, I will let him know it is okay to stand and fight, it is okay to set aside the fear of the consequences and give as good as he gets, because if the time comes we will face the aftermath together.