Not just a one day event, I'm blogging every day about what I'm thankful for

Bullying

I haven’t blogged in ages. Guess I haven’t had much to say. But something happened today and I really need to talk about it. I actually posted something on facebook and realized it would sound insensitive and cruel so I deleted it. 

Here’s what happened:

I got a text from a high school classmate that one of the girls in my elementary school had died. Her name was Ellen. Not sure what happened but I understand she has had some heart issues and collapsed in a parking lot. When she got to the hospital, she was brain dead. The family turned off the machines yesterday. 

Just hearing her name brought forth a rush of childhood memories. None of them pleasant. Ellen was a bully. She teased me mercilessly, tormented me and even punched me. She was the biggest girl in 5th grade and I was the littlest. I was also fairly new to the town and school. I remember when I started wearing a training bra (not sure what I was training for though). She was constantly snapping the back and making fun of me. I went home from school crying on a regular basis. Back then you would say she was picking on me. Today, she would be labeled a bully. 

I will never forget the time she took my clothes and hid them in gym class. Seriously, I was in the shower and my clothes were gone. What does a tiny little 10 year old girl do (one who already feels insecure and shy) when she has no clothes to put on. She stands in the shower room and bawls her heart out until a teacher comes to find her. 

I never hated Ellen. I was afraid of her and did everything I could to hide from her. A friend of mine told me today that Ellen and her friends beat her up in high school over some boy. She was not a nice person back then. I hear she has changed but all I know of Ellen is that she was a bully. 

I heard the news of her passing today and I can’t quit crying. It is sad that she died so young. I’m sure it will be hard on her family. But it brought a rush of bad feelings to me. I cried because of the way the memories made me feel. I cried because I remembered being felt to feel like I was nobody. I cried because I remembered what it was like to be scared. I cried because I can’t feel bad that someone died because they were so hateful to me. 

Bullying has long lasting effects. Even the fairly mild bullying I experienced. I’m sorry for the loss of someone so young. But I’m more sorry for all the things this brought to mind today. 

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Comments on: "Bullying" (10)

  1. It is good to get them out. Thanks for sharing

  2. Yes, I can completely understand how you feel. A lot of people do grow more compassionate as they get older, and that might be what happened to her–especially when she started having health problems. But you are not obligated to mourn her–only to mourn the little girl she bullied and to then to put it to rest as well as can be, knowing how things change so dramatically in life–for her and for you.

  3. georgiakevin said:

    Your post is poignant to say the least. You ma’am have a very big heart. There needs to be more ladies like you in the world. Your comment “Bullying has long lasting effects” is very true. I write this both as a victim of bullying and a teacher who tries to stop bullying as I see it. As someone who calls/has parent meetings to address bullying, more often than not the parents claim that their children are really victims of bullying and that their children could NEVER be bullies.. As often as not those same parents try to intimidate me as a teacher by trying to bully me. This can’t be done now at my age and having 19 years of teaching experience. By the way I had a principal for 10 years who took great pride in bullying his staff.

  4. Well written. The scars from bullying are for life. By sharing you let others know that speaking out loud helps the healing process.

  5. Thank you for sharing these powerful glimpses into your past, present, and spirit, Pam. I’m proud to call you my friend. Considering how terrible she made you feel, I wonder what tormented her so that could drive her to do such things to you and others. I hope she found peace and began to make amends before she died. May your tears at the news of her passing bring healing. I’m glad you never hated her as hatred can be a heavy burden for the one who choose to carry it.

  6. I’m glad you shared this. Your feelings are very understandable. Even if she might have changed, you didn’t get to witness the change. You’re left with these awful memories. Perhaps the greatest loss is that there is no way to resolve how she made you feel. it’s all you’re left with. I don’t know if your feelings would be different if you had somehow kept in touch and you had seen her grow out of her bullying ways. She did some serious damage to you and others. We can only hope that somehow, some way she owned her responsibilities and tried to be a better person.

  7. Pamela, I was saddened that this girl did such intensely mean things to you. I have helped a few bullies in my teaching experiences and also saw one I thought would someday end up on a Most Wanted list. My teacher friends thought he would be on the post office wall.
    A boy named Christopher came into my 6th grade class with a mean reputation. When he was mouthy the first day to me, I knew this was a “broken” character. I asked him if he liked to doodle or draw. When I saw a sincere grin on his face I gave him the year long “project” of being in charge of a bulletin board which I told him he would stay in once a month and put together profiles on his classmates and decorate it with a monthly theme.
    On the down side, his parents came to comferences and used derogatory language, described him as “always” being selfish, dirty and lazy. My mouth fell open. Neither expressed any pride or a sense that the class project was a positive one. In other years since that year, parents shook my hand and thanked me for giving their son or daughter a “chance.” Our monthly talks and his bulletin boards changed us both. I heard from him for a few years through one page letters.
    It is too bad someone who witnessed this mean girl’s actions; who took your clothes and hurt others didn’t take the time to figure her out and prevent her getting away with hurtful behaviors. Hugs, Robin

    • I’ve always thought it was more of a reflection on the bully that they had something lacking in their lives. So good of you to try and inspire something in these kids’ lives. Most just want to feel needed and important.

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