by Kathy Foust
To begin with, you have to understand that I have yet to develop any fiction skills. Sure, I have stories in my mind, but I have yet to put them on paper. That's something to keep in mind when you read my posts because I only write factual information. Sometimes it's not so pretty, but it's honest. The other thing that I need to make clear is that I am sometimes brutally honest, even with myself. I am all about constant self improvement and that means that I don't always see rainbows and lollipops when I look in the mirror. In fact, there have been time when a bully has stared back at me. Let me tell you a bit about that.
Being a bully doesn't always mean that you are an evil person. If you've ever yelled or intimidated someone in some way, then you bullied them. One of the biggest regrets of my life stems from such situations. I didn't yell at the girl, but I did bully her. I didn't like her because she was exactly the type of gal I didn't understand.
I was in a residential program as a teen and she was on her way there as well. I couldn't stand her, but I hardly knew her. My influence on my peers was so strong that by the time she got there, most of them wouldn't even give her a chance. Once I realized what I had done and how it had affected her, I tried to rectify the situation. Thankfully, my friends saw the error of my ways and did give her a chance, but what if I hadn't noticed? What if I didn't care? What if this girl came to a new state where she knew no one but me and has to live in the isolation of her own mind because of what I had said?
A bully is a sad and lonely child inside. No one has ever showed them how to love properly. They associate social connections with pain, if even for a moment. That pain has to come out and the result is often seen in situations of bullicide, something that's becoming more and more popular. A bully does what he or she does because they feel the need to make up for their own inadequacies. The really interesting thing is that they are intimidated by something in the person they are bullying. Often, they are simply afraid of the unknown. It's not a matter of gay bashing or racism. It's a matter of nontolerance in our children.
Who gave anyone else the right to try to make others conform? Who gets to make the rules about who is "different"? I revel in my uniqueness of self, but it took me years to get there. It also took a lot of strength and effort. After all, even in 2010, a single mother/college student/writer isn't exactly sitting at the height of popularity in small town Indiana!
It doesn't matter who you are, it's possible for you to bully someone else. It doesn't matter who you are, it's possible to be bullied and live a lifetime in the shadow of those who keep you in fear. If you don't think you're a bully, why not pay attention to what you say. If you have to intimidate anyone, even indirectly (yes, gossip counts), then you are a bully. Just remember what someone's mother said: "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all!"
In fact, as an effort to fight bullying, why not compliment someone unexpectedly today!