Before I go any further, I would like you all to know that this is NOT a sponsored post. This is going to be a very raw post and one that takes a lot for me to get out.
Early last year, I mentioned being in grade school and being the only black girl in my class from about fifth grade on. It was torture. Total and complete torture. I was in a gifted program and got bussed to school each and every day. It would have been slightly less irritating if only the bullying I had to endure would have been on the bus, I think that I may have been a bit better. We had a bus attendant who took no prisoners, and she would have nipped ALL of that in the bud! There were days that we couldn’t even speak on the bus, because she would be tired of hearing our voices. Ah the memories.
However, that wasn’t the case. There were a group of very mean boys in my class. The ring leader was a very short Asian boy named Eugene. He was relentless. I’m not sure if he was the one that gave me the nickname of “Pink Ass Baboon,” but it stuck, for years. It wasn’t foreign to me to come into the room to a rousing call of ape sounds, or have pictures of apes drawn crudely taped to my desk in the morning. They made fun of me daily, and it so happened that sometimes, if a couple of the girls that were in our class happened to be mad at me on a particular day, they would use the moniker as well. I was pretty lonely during my time there. No best friend in the class, no sleepovers, no invitations to birthday parties. Nothing.
Thinking back on it makes me completely upset. Not so much because it made me into a horrible person, because I don’t think that I am – I’m sure that other people would beg to differ, but it’s my blog, and I’m sticking to my story. It’s because it caused me to go into retreat mode and over analyze who I was for so long. It wasn’t until I was in the eight grade and met my future husband – yeah, Mr. Houseful and I met in eighth grade, that I kind of felt okay. I mean, he genuinely liked me, and I was being ME. He actually liked me for ME. The quick wit, the slight sarcasm – that was probably a little bit sharper than it should have been for a 13-year-old, and the lisp. I had a HUGE lisp, and he didn’t make fun of me for having it. He didn’t call me a monkey, he didn’t make ape noises behind my back when I walked. He didn’t PRETEND to like me to copy my answers from homework, and then deny befriending me in public. He was cool.
My mom and dad offered to come up to the school to “handle” the boys, but all I saw was a mess waiting to happen. These kids didn’t care. They made fun of adults to their faces. They were considered highly intelligent, yet the lack of respect that they had for other human beings made them less than the scum of the earth to me. One of them I happened to have a crush on in 5th grade. He was nice to me in private, and never really said anything about me in general, but he would always laugh whenever jokes about me were made. It wasn’t until I would look him directly in his eyes that he would quickly avert his gaze and look kind of embarrassed for me. Recently that person and I reconnected on Facebook, and I must say, that he’s turned into a pretty decent person. Enough so that when he requested my friendship, he even included an apology for the way that he treated me in grade school. This was 16 years ago people! I was appreciative and clicked on “accept.”
I know that people change. I welcome it. However, I do think that bullies should know early on how their actions may cause others to retreat into a HUGE void and want to hurt themselves, or even worse, the bullies that torture them on a daily basis. I don’t condone violence, but I can say that I can totally understand a switch going off in the head of a young person that would make them want to see their bully have to pay for what they’ve put them through. We don’t want that. Which is why this post has come about.
There’s currently a documentary that will be premiering in limited release on March 30th called “BULLY” It is a heart wrenching look at five families that director Lee Hirsh follows at various points in bullying. Two of the families are speaking out for their children who committed suicide and three other families who have children who are actively being bullied at their schools during the time of filming.
It’s heart wrenching. And it hit so close to home for me, that I couldn’t hold back the tears. Especially for Alex. Alex is a young man who I promise you will completely love by the end of the movie. Especially when he gives his wisdom about girls about halfway through the movie.
If I haven’t convinced you, here’s a clip. And while it is a bit disturbing, it’s the harsh reality that so many children wake up and face each day. I suggest that you do watch it with your school aged child and open the lines of communication. Ask them if they are being bullied. Ask them if they are treating others in a way that a bully would. It may be hard to hear, but stopping it early is key to stop all of this in its tracks. Go ahead and click play…
Unfortunately, the MPAA has decided to give this documentary an R rating citing that the situations are too adult for children under 17 to view. Ummm, HELLO, ALL of the children in the movie are under 17 and had to endure this on a daily basis!!!
After you are done watching, if you feel as strongly as I do about this, please go and sign THIS PETITION to the MPAA to get this changed to a PG-13 rating. This should be mandatory viewing in schools, and with an R rating, it won’t be able to be screened.
And even if you don’t have children, you may have nieces or nephews, or cousins that could be going through the very same thing. Let’s take a stand for these children.
OMG that made me so sad and mad for you! I wanted to go back in time and TEAR YOUR GRADE SCHOOL UP?! How dare they tease my fwiend, I love she *tear*. By the way you are awesome and it was there loss for never getting to know you because of preconcieved foolishness. I’ll take a look at the video & petition when I get home. *hugs*
Oh, I guess I’ll add my story. I was only mildly teased to my recollection. One guy name Kevin used to call me “mommy long legs” but it didn’t phase me much back then. Years later I was @ home in the Virgin Islands when a guy started hissing at me & cat calling from behind. I turned around and it was Kevin. He said “Roshini?!” and I said “Hi Kevin, oh you like these legs now huh?” and walked off. LOL
It was a road hard traveled, but I made it. Yep, your friend had to go through a lot, and writing that was actually kind of scary for me. Thanks for being a great friend!
My heart hurts for the pain you endured. I hope this movie gives voice to those who find themselves in the same position but don’t have an outlet for their thoughts. Big hugs.
Hyacynth – it’s a lot for someone to go through. And I feel so sad when I see that some children are not being shown their true worth or don’t KNOW their worth and feel that death is the best answer to this. >sigh< It's such a mess.
Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy says
I had a similar experience in grade school. HORRIBLE. However, I’ve learned there IS something worse than that feeling….knowing that your own child is feeling that! THAT is gut wrenching. I wish I knew how to end bullying for good.
Lisa – that’s coming up next week. The cellist (my oldest) went through a couple of years, and still some sporadic shouts of being called gay because of his choice not to play sports, but dance and play the cello. It’s definitely an issue that needs to just be eradicated, and we need all of the help that we can get. Thanks so much for stopping by.
I saw this on the news. I was aghaust that the kids in the movie (with the R rating) wouldn’t even be able to see it, and that’s who this movie is for.
Weinstein group ended up making it Not Rated and hopefully this will encourage more people to see it. Thank you for stopping by!
I don’t know…when you change the rating, it kind of moves the responsibility for showing it onto schools. Maybe with the R rating, parents will be more likely to attend with their kids; it seems to me that bullying often comes from home. I hate to give parents a reason not to watch it. I see your point, though.
I’m sorry you suffered like that as a kid. I’m also glad you found your loving future husband so young 🙂
I gave my 6th grade homeroom a talk this morning about bullying (in light of the story today about the Wisconsin boy whose “hitlist” was found, resulting in his getting caught and getting help. I encouraged them to tell someone if they see someone making scary comments on-line. It’s such a big topic–I try to make a point of addressing various aspects of bullying every week. I like to think I’m making at least a little difference.
I really want to see that movie. Really. I’ll watch for it.
Thanks for stopping through! I do think that changing the rating to PG-13 would have allowed more children with parents that aren’t as “available” to be able to go and see the movie, and maybe be moved to talk to their parents about any issues that may be happening in their schools or lives. It really does open up a great line of communication for ANYONE who will see it. If you go to their page BULLY on FB and check out the openings for your city, you’ll be the first to know.
Paula @ Frosted Fingers says
I encountered a lot of bullying in middle school and into high school on my bus. My mom ended up having to drive me to school every day because I couldn’t stand being on the bus anymore. I’m sorry that you had a bad experience as well.
I was thankful that high school after an unfortunate incident my first year, was great. Middle school was horrendous, and I literally got through on a wing and a prayer. Thanks for coming through and sharing with me.
Rae @ Rainbows and Dragonflies says
I signed the petition. I was teased and called names when I was young (even spat on by a guy I liked) but I never told anyone or thought it was bullying. I just buried it inside. Kids NEED to see this movie and adults need to stand up and protect those being bullied. Enough is enough with this “kids will be kids” crap.
OMGoshness! Spat on?! I remember someone spitting on me, it was gross. I had my mother throw the coat away. I almost forgot about that thought….BLECH! The movie is definitely necessary. Definitely!
Lisa - Hannemaniacs says
I am so sorry, so very sorry to hear about your painful memories. I had one person who bullied me in high school and I’ll never forget the way he made me feel.
My oldest is in preschool. I’m so hopeful that bullying will be handled better by the time he is in school. I think about it every day. What Lisa commented was correct: Being bullied is bad, but seeing your children being bullied must be incredibly painful.
I am sorry you went through that. I can’t say i was really bullied at school as I always had a quick wit and stood up for myself and others. But that said I know i’ve done my share of teasing (I don’t think it was to the extent that I would call it bullying) and it wasn’t very nice of me. I remember running into one young man years later and I apologized to him, he had no recollection of what I was talking about but I still felt that I should apologize for being mean.