All throughout my childhood and adolescence-in school, Sunday School in church, and the Boy Scouts-I was, all day, every day, subjected to harassment, teasing, and bullying. I was mocked for being “fat,” like my body weight made me a terrible horrible person and less than human; that came up a LOT. I was also not to them a “man,” I cried easily, and I-like any normal person would-got angry and would lash back at what they did to me.
Often I would try to fight back, and then I, ME, would be sent to the principal’s office for causing fights. I would be the one lectured about not being violent and told to be peaceful, while THEY, the OTHER kids, boys and girls alike, were never told to leave me be.
(I have to confess-sometimes I would lash out at my tormentors, I would hit one of the girls, and then I, ME, would be the bad guy, the ogre, the terrible person-was that the plan? they enjoyed getting me in that kind of trouble- and the teasing I received was ignored; for that, I ask my women friends for forgiveness.)
When I did try to complain, I was mock, “You can’t fight your own battle, yo gotta have them stick up for you,” like it’s a bad thing. I was mocked for getting angry about it, what I couldn’t take it, and all I had to do was ignore the teasing and harassment, but they still kept at it.
A couple of faculty members told me that I like to be teased, that it made me the center of attention-was THAT the only way I could get recognition, be being everyone’s scapegoat? Often they mocked and belittled me like they were joining in on the fun at my expense. I had to put up with that crap all through to the start of my college career, and only by getting out of that small town full of small-minded people was I able to escape.
This is, I hope, a way to encourage anyone out there reading to never think you deserse that, because you don’t. You are worthy of love and respect as a human being. If you are a kid having to endure such harassment and bullying, I urge you to get out of that situation as soon as possible-it will be a tough adjustment, but remember, you are SO worth it.