Trying to navigate new situations is a tough part of being a kid. Feeling like you have two completely opposite emotions and not knowing really which one to trust or follow. Yet we all want the same thing at that point in life… to fit in.
I remember being on the playground one windy morning and being approached by another student. He asked me a question, didn’t like my answer, and pushed me! I was stunned. Only my siblings pushed me (while playing) and this was shocking to me. I asked him to stop. He pushed me again. He pushed me until I actually fell onto the pavement. Of course, I started crying, and he was standing proud because he had successfully leveled the new kid. Embarrassed, I ran to the teacher on duty who ignored my claims and told me to, “Forget it”. Feeling completely ignored and ashamed, I went home on the bus and straight to my room. His pushing behavior continued for days until finally, little Michelle decided to push back! Since the teachers at recess were not paying attention to my claims, I went straight into the principal’s office, without an appointment, and demanded to be heard! I explained to the school principal what that boy did to me, how I was ignored by teachers, and that I wanted him to be punished for it!!! To my surprise, the principal told me these exact words which, to this day, give me shivers up my spine.
“Michelle, that boy pushed you because he likes you.”
I immediately thought he was joking. But that is exactly what he said to me.
I remember telling him that he had it all wrong. “That’s not liking someone. That’s abuse! Look it up in the dictionary!” Let me remind you, I was only 9 at the time.
I went home sobbing and told my parents about the incident. The very next day my dad took me to school, sat me in the principal’s office next to him and went up one side, down the other, and through the middle of my principal, telling him that this is no example of how kids should be treated and that no one will ever touch his daughter again. My dad stood up for me and what was right! I never felt so loved. Why? Because my dad made me feel worthy! Worthiness is something we all should feel. Even the boy who hurt me. If he did, chances are he would not have acted that way in the first place.
So why is bullying so hard to stop? There are many reasons, but I will list a few. Frustration with not knowing how to express yourself, anger at a given situation at home, and the pressures of growing up without someone to guide you, can all be factors. Often enough, the person doing the bullying is not in a happy place to begin with. It turns out that the young boy who was pushing me was being beaten at home. Both he and his brother. Since it was not stopped at a young age and this is how he grew up, later in his life, he went on to abuse his wife and his own children. I often wonder if he and his brother had received help, would he have turned out completely different.
Hurt people, hurt people.
As for myself, learning that my dad thought I was worthy, and talking to my parents about what happened, allowed me to voice my opinion, share my feelings and be heard! It also taught me compassion and empathy for the boy who hurt me. Things are not always as they appear on the surface. Sometimes, we must stop and listen to those around us.
Michelle Lee is a published author of It’s OK to be Pink. She has been writing stories since the tender age of 8! As a young child, Michelle was bullied for many reasons. She penned her first book back in high school as part of a writing class. Her intention is to bring awareness to what the effects of being bullied can do to a child. If we can teach children acceptance at an earlier age, they will grow up being healthier adults. May Bob and his friends bring a smile to your face, as it has to hers, creating this book.