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REPOSTING FOR BULLYING AWARENESS

Hi. I am Cheryl. I also answer to “Cherie” and “Bunny”

Me, at 16

I was 16. Notice my dad had me wearing a Massachusetts Marksman Assoc. T shirt.

After decades of ups and downs, (really bad downs, at that) living in Massachusetts I decided I needed a change. I moved to Kentucky for reasons that will become clear in future blogs.

Today, I am thinking of “bullying.” I grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts. At the time, it was viewed as sort of the bastard child of Lexington and Concord as it was in the middle and not as historically significant. Now, of course, most of us who grew up there can’t afford to live there. But, back in the ‘day,” it was a fairly respectable place in which to grow up. 

We lived in the poorer section of town. My dad was a cop, which made my twin sister and I even more conspicuous than twins usually are in a small town. He stopped people speeding and emptied out their beers at the boat landing. We were called “pigs” from the time we were in 4th grade. That made our lives hard.

If that wasn’t enough, girls hated us because we were blonde, identical  and somewhat pretty and “developed”early. A girl in sixth grade called me ugly and I believed her. At the time I thought I was a troll. A jilted “boyfriend” of my sister’s who was a year ahead of us spread rumors all over  John Glenn Junior High that we were “easy.”  This made the girls happy to hate us before even meeting us. I remember all of their names. I wish I didn’t. 

Boys liked us because we looked a lot older than we were. This made the girls loathe us even more. One girl actually accused me of “stuffing my bra” and finally one day I took it off under my shirt to prove it wasn’t stuffed after she and the other girls she hung with cornered me in the bathroom in sixth grade. I remember everyone who was there. They seem to have hoped I forgot. Some are Facebook friends. I have forgiven them. 

My mother told me not to sink to their level. My Aunt told me they were jealous. Jealous of what?? I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t look like any of Charlie’s Angels so I thought myself a beast.

Then there was the boy who liked me so much he punched me in the face when I said I liked his friend better. He cracked my cheekbone. It did wonders for my self esteem. His dad was high up in town government so nothing was done. My dad was a policeman. It made no difference.

Junior high was more of the same. Being called a ‘slut” before you know what one is was horrible. Seeing your name on the bathroom wall is something you never forget. I remember who did it and why. It made me very intimidated and withdrawn for a while.

One of the people who did this to me actually laughed about it at our 10th high school reunion. She said it was because I ‘got all of the cute boys” and that is why they gave me a hard time. I asked her if she would like to chip in for my therapy bills. She thought I was ‘SO FUNNY!” I was only half joking.

I have no idea why, but by ninth grade I was my own person and thought didn’t care about these girls anymore. I made friends with boys and briefly had one boyfriend. After that ended, I just hung with my “boy” friends and worked on cars with them. First theirs then my own. I learned about computers because in shop class, the teacher thought my time would be better spent learning how to create a database than to rebuild a lawnmower engine. I joined that class to be away from the girls who hated me. And hate, they did.

One girl put the word out that she was going to “kick my ass.” One day after school, she approached me and two friends of mine. Bullygirl decided to pick on my friend first. She grabbed her by her face and dug her nails in to her flesh. Too bad for Bullygirl that I was born with a sparring partner (my twin) and my Dad taught me how to fight. After I told her to leave my friend alone, she turned on me. She went to punch me, I ducked and proceeded to kick the living crap out of her. She went away bleeding and saying she was going to sue me.  For reasons I will never understand, she wanted to be my friend a year after that. She will be getting her own blog. 

Ironically, the person who I was sticking up for turned on me, too. She turned into Bullygirl 2 and smashed my sister’s head into a locker. Why did they never just go at me first? I lost it and mopped the floor with her, earning a suspension from high school. This girl and her older sister never let up. They keyed my car which I had just painted myself with the help of my “boy friends” and they chased us all over town in their cars.

Their mom was a local prostitute who hung out in the local hotel lounge and was crazy so she let the BullySisters do whatever they wanted. It got so bad that I had to take them to court to get a protective order. The court granted me the order and told them to stay away from me. I didn’t want anymore fights or suspensions. I just wanted to live in peace. My family was falling apart but that is a story for another blog.

My point is, that “bullying” has been around since the beginning of time and will continue if parents and teachers don’t do anything. My parents tried to help but no teachers or administrators took it seriously.

They slashed our tires. They constantly called me a slut, usually across a parking lot or hallway. One day, one of the BG‘s had her brother loosen the lug nuts on my old Camaro’s brand new rims. My “boy” friends worked at a garage and had them put on with a hydraulic thingamagig so they were definitely loosened on purpose.  After my tire fell off, thankfully I was only going 30 miles per hour, I took my Dad, the cop, to the BG’s.

When confronted, they laughed and said they did it but I couldn’t prove it.  My father was never predisposed to be on my side so he really didn’t do much. So, feeling completely alone, I got out of Bedford. It held nothing but bad memories for me. I lived with my Aunt so I could attend another school. I had one friend in Bedford and I missed her, but I needed to get away from the craziness.

Lexington was the next town over and was a much bigger place. I loved it there. The Bedford Bullygirls drove a big truck (her boyfriend’s)  over to Lexington High to key my car.  They did damage the car but thankfully, I saw them at it from my computer class and contacted the police.

They were supposed to be in school then so they got in trouble. A policeman who was friendly with my Uncle, a detective, put a stop to the nonsense. They finally left me alone. I made good friends that I still have today at Lexington High and graduated on time. How I was able to concentrate on my studies is anyone’s guess. I still have nightmares about not graduating on time.

If I had it to do over again, I would have gone to the principal and NOT engaged in fights. I hope girls today have more sympathetic teachers.

Epilogue:

The kid who punched me: Lots of arrests. Total loser.

The girls who harassed me in elementary school? Let’s just say they have led interesting lives. Most are okay now. 

Bullygirl 1–Dead of drug overdose after several abortions and two children, one born addicted.

Bullygirl 2-Pregnant at 17. Gave birth sometime after graduation. Whereabouts unknown.

Bullygirl3/Brother: Both did jail time for drug charges. In and out of trouble with the law

Bullygirl4-who ran me off the road–dead in a wrong way crash, while driving drunk that killed an innocent man. What a legacy.

Me? I went to school after my son passed away and it took almost a decade but I got my Bachelor’s in English from UMASS Boston. Working my way through most of the time and raised lots of money for my son’s charity.  I got As for the first time in my life. I could concentrate and actually loved my classes. I relearned all of the skills I missed while being constantly anxious and harassed in high school. 

I am happily married. 

The lesson I learned is to be true to myself and God will sort out those who are evil.

And He will. That is his job, not mine.


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