So, this isn't something I regularly put out there, but my entire school life, I was bullied.
From my earliest memory I was the smart kid and had no filter between brain and mouth to stop myself from proving it or wanting to prove it. My parents were well-educated and brought me up to appreciate intellectualism.
Yes, yes, I was Sheldon from Big Bang Theory! And that's probably one of the reasons I don't watch that show, very often at least, because I can identify with that character oh, so, well!
Fortunately, I grew out of that mindset, but not before ruining what little bit of popularity I might have had by showing up "The Jocks" in Freshman Algebra...
(That's another story for another time.)
Sadly, it took me years to install what I call my Dipo-Filter. Which is short for Diplomatic Filter, or, you know, that thing that stops those thoughts from making it all the way out of your mouth when you're confronted with stupid people?
It wasn't until I was in my mid-30's that I found it, installed it and have managed to keep it from breaking down in this day and age of connectivity through Social Media.
Anyway, back to my younger years. Because of my lack of a dipo-filter way back when, I was not very well liked. And it didn't help that I was not pretty either. I had the scraggly hair, the pop-bottle glasses, the braces and the zits! I was all the way at the very bottom of the social ladder in every grade in every school.
Now, I'd love to say that when I hit High School everything changed. But, it didn't. I was beaten, I was teased, I was everyone's punching bag through those years.
At school dances, I sat in the bleachers, crying most of the time, because no one would dance with me.
At Football games, I stayed behind the bleachers on the outskirts of the popular kids, hiding myself in the shadows to avoid being detected.
It wasn't until I got my driver's license that I could go off and do my own thing on Friday and Saturday night, that I felt remotely normal. Of course, this alienated me further from the popular crowd, but by then, I just didn't care.
When I turned 18, I left the small-town and the kids who had tortured me and never looked back...
My 20-year reunion rolled around.
I wanted to go, I did. I had this grand plan in mind to have my revenge on all those kids, now adults. And it would have been absolutely priceless -- at least in my mind because now-a-days, not only am I a writer and can kill them off in my books one, by, one in the most horrible ways imaginable, but in my real life...I work for one of the most feared government entities around.
But, I didn't. And here's why I didn't.
I thought about all those days of my past. All those times I wanted to stand up for myself and say, "Why? What did I ever do to you?" but hadn't. I thought about and wondered what their lives are like now and compared that to what I've made out of my life and I realized something.
I realized that, yes, I was beaten and teased and tortured, but *I* am the better person. I am stronger because they made me that way. I am faster on my feet, I'm more likely to stay calm when faced with confrontation and I'm not bitter about those years.
Ok, maybe I am just a little bit - and that's why some of my classmates end up as Antagonists and/or villain's in my books because I draw on those experiences - but I'm not a mass murderer nor will I ever become one.
My point is, for all of you out there, right now, being bullied and feeling like it's the end of the world...it's not.
I am living proof that just because you're different, or you're fat, or you've got bad eyesight, or you're smarter than the other kids, these years are just the beginning of your life!
It will get better! It will end!
And guess what, YOU will be stronger for it, if you hold on just a little bit longer...
I'm not saying, don't stand up for yourself now. Please, if you can, do so. I'm not saying don't get help. Go to your parents, go to your teachers or a trusted adult and tell them what's going on!
But, don't think the only way to end it, is suicide. It's not. Taking your own life will do nothing but start the proverbial clock over again and who knows, next time you might come back as a cockroach or something and then where would you be? Hmmm?
No where, except crawling around through the muck and mire to scrounge for food! Not a very appealing thought, is it! I didn't think so either, which is probably why I survived those years and came out on the other side, relatively intact!
I'm not totally intact though, I am an Author after all and completely nuts -- you have to be to do what I do -- but the point is, there is Life After Being Bullied! And I hope this little glimpse into my past can help one of you realize it too...
I'd love to know, though, from those of you out there, were you bullied back in the day? How did you, or do you, cope with it? Have you confronted your bully today and said, "Neener, Neener! You tried to keep me down and look at me now!"
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Until next time.