Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Gets Better

This is all totally off topic, but I wanted to post this.

I was bullied a LOT as a kid. Look at this picture, and I'm sure it's easy to see why. And this picture doesn't even convey my disdain for washing/brushing my hair, my horrible, horrible skin, my inability to dress myself, the fact that I never tied my shoes, the fact that I LOVED animals and science, or the fact that I had the same size boobs in this picture as I did when I was 16. I mean, I was the epitome of typical nerd target. At 25, I still remember my arch nemesis from grammar school (CB) and the time she took my autographed Jonathan Taylor Thomas picture and ripped it up. She was the reason I had to leave private school, because she and other girls bullied me so horribly for 5 long, LONG years. I still remember sixth grade and a popular boy I had the biggest crush on calling me a "fucking loser". It was the first page (the first 7 pages, actually) of the first journal I ever kept. I still remember 9th grade, the boy's soccer team tying condoms to my front door and forking my lawn (looking back, this one was kind of funny). And I still remember getting a standing ovation senior year by a posse of pathetic losers who posed as popular kids (minus the good looks, hot bodies and actual popularity) because I fucked up the after party for a dance. I still remember getting teased so bad for wearing a padded bra and having small boobs that I went home "sick" to avoid crying in class. That shit sticks with you forever.

I also remember the first time I ever stuck up for anyone. I was in 11th grade, and I was "popular' in my group of friends. There were like, 13 of us all together, boys and girls. And my friend E, well for some reason, she was the odd man out that month. For some reason, the group all just turned on her and made fun of her and ostracized her and talked about her behind her back. So when Winter Wonderland came up (this dance that was like a mini prom that was always a good time), E was strategically left out of the limo. And was left with no limo to go in. When I realized that people in my group of friends were simply picking on E because she was the easiest target at the moment, that group mentality had turned into vicious bullying, I said "what the fuck is everyone's problem?" and grew up. The excuse for not letting E in the limo was that there simply "wasn't enough room". The reality of the situation was they just wanted to make her life hell. So to call them out on their bullshit, I offered up my spot in the limo.

"Brian and I will just drive," I offered. "E can have my spot."

"But Woogie (my nickname in HS), we all want you in the limo."

"I'm not doing it to E," I said. "If she's not in the limo, I'm not either."

They did not let E in the limo, regardless of the now open slot. So instead, E, her date, Brian and I all drove to the dance. We all had a great time. And that was when I grew up. And that's when I realized that bullying and group mentality and mob mentality and the idea of making someone "the other", it's all insecure bullshit. I mean, I knew that all along. I had gone through it year after year. And when it came down to having that ability, that chance to be the one who brought down the humiliation and cruelty, I had no interest. To all those who think that putting others down will make you feel better - trying lifting other people up. You will be shocked to see how much better it is to make someone's life better than it is to make someone's life hell.

Nearly ten years later, I look back at the people who bullied me. The asshole girls who once told me I looked like the boy from 7th Heaven because I cut my hair short, or the dick who told me he got me a frying pan for christmas for my pancakes, or the people who left mean notes on my locker, or the girl who spread rumors that I was a lesbian in the 6th grade. You know what? Must have been great to be cool in high school, but high school isn't forever. It's four years. And then the freshman 15 (and in most cases of the people who were assholes to me, freshman 40) set in for all those assholes who think they are invincible. And then you get confident because in the real world, being smart, it's cool. Being witty? It's cool. Being a fat bitch who happened to fall in with the right group in 6th grade that looks terrible in Lily Pulitzer and has a lot of money? Not winning anyone any popularity contests these days in the real world. At my five year reunion, I showed up in a 00 dress at 110 lbs, with straight teeth, clear skin, and a full 32 B bra, and a book idea in the works, after having just bagged the new alternate captain for an NHL team and graduating from Maryland. Those bitches showed up with 200 lbs of excess weight and humility they found over the last few years, and probably a BAD case of the herp. I would do high school all over again just for the pure satisfaction of walking into that banquet hall again. Because that's how much better it gets. If I had given up and accepted the bullying as fact and truth, I never would have gotten to do all of the really fucking cool things I've done in my life. I mean, outside of banging (mostly) hot athletes, and flying to Europe to do so, and going on crazy jersey chasing road trips....I would have missed out of graduating from college, and seeing my sister get married. I would have missed out on dates and relationships, introducing myself to people and making new friends. I would have missed out on my life as a writer, because I would have believed I was not worth the effort. Because that's what I was made to believe by assholes in grammar, middle, and high school. I would have missed out on life. And for who? People who in the grand scheme of things don't matter? Who are jealous and self conscious, so much so that the only way they feel satisfied about themselves is to put other people down? That's who I was going to allow to ruin my life and cause me to miss out on awesome shit? FUCK THAT!

The point of all of this is that it gets better. People get bullied and high school blows sometimes. I missed 91 days of AP Psych senior year because I HATED being there. But I promise, it gets better. Gay, straight. Fat, skinny. Flat chested or DD, science nerd or cheer captain. Anorexia or obesity, student body president or emo kid who likes Sum 41 (that's me revealing my age here). It gets better. Ten years ago I was getting hammered from all sides for the way I looked and dressed. I got to fuck Dan Casey multiple times in the last year. Want to talk about getting the last laugh?

My best friend is gay. And in high school, he wasn't out. He was a bit chunky, nerdy, glasses. He was very unhappy with himself. And then in college, or right when we graduated, he came out. And while it's been a long journey for him, he is more himself than he has ever been in our 16 years of friendship. I love him more than words can ever say. And his life, it's gotten better. He is still figuring it out like we all are - dating, jobs, friendships. But he is figuring it out with honesty and truth about who he is. He is living proofthat life gets better, and it can be great, if you are brave enough to embrace it. If some poor soul decides to marry this crazy bitch, he will be the one to walk me down the aisle (and probably be the best dressed person there to boot). When people are mean to him, I threaten to kick their ass. I look back on my life, and there are moments I would not have survived without him. Things I went through that I don't know if I could have gotten through had he not been there to hold my hand or hug me or call me or let me cry, or pick me up and remind me I have things worth living for and being proud of. He saved my life in so many instances. And while whoever is reading this might be young, if you are getting bullied, and life is hard right now, just remember - someone out there loves you very much. And if they don't now, they will. Maybe it's your parents, or your siblings. Maybe it's your boyfriend or your girlfriend, or your best friend. Maybe it's your dog. Maybe you haven't met them yet. But you will change SOMEONE's life. You will be that important piece in SOMEONE's life. Don't miss out. And don't deny that person the unique love and friendship that only you could give. Don't give up. It gets better. I promise.

3 comments:

  1. If you were bullied as a kid and, as you said in the comments of another post, you now have "respect for all people" because of that - why are you bashing other people on the internet? Some of whom I'm sure have barely uttered a word to you, let alone bullied you. I get that you would harbor a resentment towards those who actually called you names, were mean to you, etc. but why in this blog post (against bullying) are you making fun of other people for their weight or looks? Isn't that exactly what happened to you? Just seems unnecessarily mean and slightly hypocritical. The only way things are really going to "get better" is if people would just accept others as they are instead of putting yourself on a pedestal for being a size 00 with straight teeth.

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  2. First off, the day I bash a kid, you can come at me and call me an asshole. I don't bash kids. There is a vast difference between adults who put themselves out (like the majority of folks I talk about on this site) there and kids who don't have a choice. So let's start with that. Huge age gap between 15 and 25, believe it or not.

    Second, pointing out karma is what it is. You get what you put out in the world. I don't care if someone is 300 lbs or 30 lbs, has glasses or perfect vision, is a size 00 or a size 32 - it's about how you treat people. Acknowledging that the people who made fun of me for certain things got their come uppance isn't making fun of them - it's pointing out that you shouldn't think yourself perfect enough to rag on others. We all have flaws. Those girls (and guys) have flaws too, now a little more noticeable.

    My point in this post is that things get better. And that the people who think it's cool to be mean at 15, get a hard lesson in adulthood.

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