HOW TO DEAL WITH BULLYING
When I was in 1st grade all the kids were using our names creatively to make fun of one another. Mine was Burn burn, burn, Bernadine. Everyone was the target so I didn’t feel picked upon. As a teenager who was determined to save herself for marriage in a country town that watched animals copulate (and felt that they could do the same), I was considered strange and therefore labelled a Lesbian. My reaction was one of bewilderment that they could come to such a ridiculous conclusion. My first husband told me I should not wear frilly clothes (which I love) because I was masculine. I told him that I loved feminine attire and did not consider myself manly at all. As the years wear on I have come to realise that I do see things objectively, am more assertive than most women and will not allow the world to identify who and what I am. I guess that is a male point of view and one of which I believe more women should attain. However, that does not change my sexual orientation. I am not at all interested in women other than as good friends. As I look back at all these misdirections from society, I would say that they were bullying statements. There were many other derogatory comments made to me since my family owned a hotel, they assumed that I slept with men. How the teenagers reasoned that I was a lesbian and a prostitute did not concern me. I knew who and what I was and I looked at them as a very strange population. What makes bullying is the continuation of insulting negative comments. The bullies of the world believe that s/he has the right to censor others with what s/he imagines is correct.
An eleven year old committed suicide the news says today, 4/15/09 because he had been bullied continually at school. The mother had complained to the school and they informed her they had an anti bullying policy. Yet, the young boy did not get help from the gay daggers that were projected at him. His mother had avoided discussing his sexual orientation with him. It would have helped if she had. Since the boy looked as if he had not gone beyond boyhood, it is doubtful that he had any feelings toward either sex as it is likely that his adult hormones were not processing yet. Avoiding discussing what he was accused of, left him with feeling that perhaps the negative attributes blasted at him were right, even if he didn’t know what they really meant. The mother said he was flamboyant. Stereotyping people who are artistic, flamboyant, or do so called feminine activities such as ballet are often put into the category of being homosexual. He needed to know that it did not necessarily mean he was. We will never know what he thought other than deeply wounded to take him own life. Perhaps, if his mother had spoken with him she could have let him know that whatever he was or did that she accepted and loved him. She could have let him know that these kids were going through a type of “right of passage” to create a fire through which each of us must pass to withstand the turmoils of adulthood. That these children are saying more about who and what they are than who and what he is. They are stating that they are competitive, immature, bigoted, prejudiced, and spiteful. I’ll bet that the mother could have pointed out to her son that he was kind, decent, and caring and would never act so indecently to others.
Moreover, his mother might have related an experience, such as I had, that when you return to the twenty-five year class reunions, the opinion of the former bullies has changed to” “You always were so caring. You were there for me when no one else would help me.”, and so forth. Yes they had grown up and shed their need to compete with me. I must say I did not expect the many compliments I received. I think that the towns children had learned life’s lessons. Too bad the classmates of the deceased boy had to feel the guilt of causing a suicide. That is a heavy burden to carry.