I came across this video on youtube a couple of weeks ago. By now you've probably already seen it. In case you haven't I've included it below. In case you can't get it to play (I'm having technically difficulties) click here to see the video.
For fear that you won't watch I'll recap it for you. Bullying sucks. It's a crisis. It needs to stop.
I'm going to let you in on bullying from my point of view. I definitely was the victim of bullying in some way shape or form in middle school and high school both. I remember it starting in middle school. Girls formed groups and they would change from one day to the next. You had better hope that you were taken into the good group or you'd be subjected to ridicule and just down right meanness. I'm pretty sure the movie Mean Girls was based off of some of the girls at my middle school.
Now don't think I am all sweet and innocent. Once you were in the "in" crowd it was hard not to become one of the means girls yourself. In middle school, it seemed, I just wanted to fit in. I felt like I was on the outs more than I was "in" but maybe it just felt that way. Even though I don't remember directly bullying anyone in middle school I definitely wasn't as nice as I could have been.
Moving on to high school. I was the "new" girl moving to my high school as a Junior. It seemed everyone there actually hated me for just showing up. Let me tell you it sucks to be the new girl. Sure I made friends, a lot of good friends, but it seems some girls were just determined to make my life a living hell. In fact, I actually got "beat up" in high school. I remember the girl that beat me up telling me to "go back to where I came from." I spent a lot of time in high school terrified; afraid to walk down the halls, afraid to be taunted and afraid to stand up for myself. I tried to go to the principal and I didn't get any help. (Things weren't taken as seriously back then.) So what did I do? I decided to find someone of my own to pick on. This girl didn't do anything terrible to me. I think her mom pulled out in front of my car one time. I gave them a tongue lashing that day and every day from then on out (as far as I can remember). I really don't know how long it went on but even one day was too long. I picked on this girl to make myself feel better because of what was being done to me, but really it only made me feel worse. As an adult I still think of what I did and feel ashamed. I actually found my victim on Facebook and wrote her an apology. I hope she knows that I was sincere and I regret my actions. It's hard for me to admit that I too was a mean girl. I was a good kid, graduated with honors and I was a bully. That is VERY hard to admit.
Today, 18 years later, I'm starting to think about my children being the victim of bullying. Nicholas, my seven year old, is a very sweet innocent little boy. He's not exposed to much older outside influences as he is our oldest and doesn't hang around any older kids. Guess what? He likes Buzz Lightyear and as far as I'm concerned that's okay. He's seven for goodness sake.
I've always been big on themes for Halloween. Sometimes it works out for me; sometimes it doesn't.
This year I talked everyone into a Toy Story theme. Nicholas was very excited about being Buzz Lightyear. His wings have lights on them and he was stoked about his costume. He asked to try it on every day. He stopped asking but I thought the novelty had just worn off. It wasn't until another mother told me Nicholas wasn't too keen on being Buzz that I had any clue.
When Nicholas got home from school that day I asked him about why he didn't want to be Buzz anymore. All he could tell me was he was afraid he would trick or treat at a house with teenagers and they would make fun of him. I poked and prodded to get more information out of him but that's all he would give me. I told him it was ok to be Buzz; ok to like what he likes but some how, some way someone had taken the fun out of Buzz for Nicholas. Nicholas agreed to be Buzz for Halloween if I let him wear a different costume to the Character book parade at school.
Enter Harry Potter
I don't know if I did the right thing. I don't want Nicholas to feel uncomfortable at school but I also want him to stick to being true to himself and his own likes and dislikes.
I really can't provide any solutions but I chose to talk about the subject because I think it's important to be aware. I want to raise happy, confident children who don't find the need to put down others because they don't feel good about themselves. .
By the way, I did a complete body workout class at the gym today. I won't be walking or moving my arms tomorrow. My instructor was an animal. Truly, I don't think she was human! Damn mean girls!