This story is really depressing and brought back a lot of memories of my high school years. I’m sure you’ve heard by now about this Freshman that was bullied so harshly by fellow so-called classmates that taking his own life was the better choice. I can’t begin to understand what he went through as it seems the bullying in schools now is at least a few levels more intense than the worst of mine in four years of high school.
During my Freshman to Junior year, I was teased for what I wore, called names, and a host of other horrible pranks that don’t require detail here. Just know that for 10 months out of those three years I dreaded getting on the bus knowing what was awaiting me when I got to school. I wasn’t athletic (still not), I wasn’t the attractive “popular” kid, and I didn’t have a lot of friends. With a last name starting with W, I generally sat in the back of the room and stuck to myself a lot. I guess that made me a target, to this day I really don’t know for sure why I was singled out. The treatment I received in high school during this time launched me down the road to depression that lasted into the first few years of my marriage to G.
It wasn’t until my Senior year that I finally had enough of the treatment and I fought back physically at first, then with words. The singular event that was physical resulted in the other guy getting a broken nose and causing a nice dent in a locker door. In all but a few cases, I realized that I was smarter and quicker on my feet with a battle of words and generally would smack down insults and teases relatively quickly. The teasing eventually stopped only to be directed at some other poor soul.
What most don’t realize is that the pain from bullying often carries with a person long after the actual abuse stops. The torment from three years was at times excruciating to deal with and I would retreat into my own world of online chat, bulletin boards, and other Internet related stuff. I internalized the pain, anger, and “why me” thoughts until it became too much to handle and I broke down following a huge fight with G that I can no longer remember its subject. The point is that I could have easily gone down the same road as Jamey Rodemeyer. I personally did not, but so many others have. It started for me in high school, and it took almost a year of therapy for me to determine that.
Kids can be cruel, plain and simple. The slightest bit of weakness or difference is amplified in a group of kids and often targeted. The reasons vary, but they’re all senseless. I told myself for years that all those kids that targeted me were less mature and didn’t know themselves well enough to do anything different. Lemmings following the pied pipers. It needs to stop, there needs to be some form of discipline that is effective enough to make a would-be bully think twice before making fun of someone else.
I’ve made my peace with all of them, personally, within my own life. I had to, for my own sanity. What they did was cruel, terrible, horrible…. describe it anyway you want. The support from G and making a success of my life is what made me overcome my hang ups in the past and move past them completely. Jamey will never have that chance, and that is sad to think about. My mind often wanders at times thinking about all the people that don’t get the chance to live their lives completely and what are we all missing out on because of that?