But frankly, I don’t really give a rat’s ass why they’re like that — I just want them to stop. And I want every adult who has ever minimized the impact of bullying, who has ever made excuses for a bully instead of standing up for a victim, who has ever described a child known to viciously torment other children as “a good kid, really!” to know this: You are a total fucking asshole.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. I’m not sure… I fit the profile. I was a “jock”. I was in the “in”crowd but just barely… by the skin of my teeth. I always went for the quick laugh. I might have been a bully. I’m scared to ask you what you remember… I’m scared of your answer. Which also makes me fit the profile… afraid to look at the truth.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. I don’t really remember — selectively I’m sure. I remember laughing at people. I remember ignoring people. I remember avoiding people. Does that make me a “use to be” bully? I remember feeling completely isolated from my friends who were “popular”. I remember walking in the hallway at school hoping no one noticed me. I remember desperately wanting to be invited to “that” party.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. I have a good friend who went through a horrific situation with her daughter — she kept me informed… my heart broke often. Maybe I was the one in the classroom who laughed too quickly. Maybe I was the teacher who looked the other way. Maybe I was the friend who walked away so I wouldn’t be bullied too.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. I could have been the one to keep you off the swing set. I could have been the one who ripped your paper when you weren’t looking. I could have been the one who laughed at your new hair cut. I could have been the one who never saved you a seat. I could have been the one who made sure you hated coming to school.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. Maybe I was the one who called you a loser in front of a cafeteria full of kids. Maybe I was the one who called you gay when you walked down the hall carrying your French horn. Maybe I was the one who called you scum when you showed up to school in your hand me down clothes. Maybe I was the one who reached in to the arsenal of my mind and pulled out razor-sharp words that I flung at you with the precision of a knife throwing side-show act at the carnival.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. Maybe I’m the one who caused you to know these names: Billy Lucas (15), Cody J. Barker (17), Seth Walsh (13), Tyler Clementi (18), Asher Brown (13), Harrison Chase Brown (15), Raymond Chase (19), Felix Sacco (17), Caleb Nolt (14), Phoebe Prince (15), Christian Taylor (16), Jon Carmichael (13). All kids who decided that not breathing was a better option than feeling the pain of isolation and ridicule.
I’m scared… maybe I was a bully. So what’s the solution? Education? Training? Hiring more adults in our schools? Zero tolerance? Early intervention programs? Preschool programs? Everyone to just stop and to take a breath and to think and to feel and to do — and to be kind? I guess, now… looking back as an adult — the perspective is different. We do the best we can with what we have at the moment — sometimes what we have is far below par.
And I’m scared… maybe I was a bully.
Are you scared?
Maybe you were a bully too.