Month: July 2012
It was 1981. I’d just arrived in Australia from England and was having a pretty rough time of it. I was in Grade 6 (as opposed to Junior IV) and the excitement and nervousness I’d initially felt at a new school in a new country was rapidly turning to fear and outright terror.
One burly strapping young turd….oops sorry I mean boy bullied me relentlessly. “Go home pommie b******” he told me regularly interspersed with “You’re ugly” and “You stink” and of course to top it all off he would sometimes stick his leg out as our desks were next to each other and I would go flying.
What a charmer.
After a couple of weeks of this I told my Dad about it. I asked him what I should do to stop it from happening. After much thought and eventually tearing himself away from the TV he said “Ask him about the chain marks on his legs.”
I have to admit I didn’t really understand what he meant at first but it dawned on me just before I drifted off to sleep. I fell asleep with a smile on my face and wolfed down breakfast eager to get to school and try out my new weapon.
After seeing me respond to the teachers questions and getting all the answers right he pulled out the little chestnut for me “Go home Pommie b***ard” with a sneer on his face.
“Hey Jason what’s that on your leg?”
He looked down and when he couldn’t see anything I said. “Wash it off quick!”
He looked up at me with a blank look and I said “Oh it’s OK. It’s just the chain mark on your leg.”
The look of anger on his face was priceless.
Of course he tried dobbing me in to the teacher who laughed and immediately launched into a history lesson of convicts and transportation to Australia.
But the bullying didn’t stop there of course.
The better I did in class the worse Jason the bully got.
Until finally he followed me home from school one day. Why is he doing this I thought? Does he like me or what?
Eventually as we got to my front gate with a look of hatred on his face he spat on my skirt with a huge globule at close range.
I ran inside hysterical.
I told my parents and screamed and stuttered out what had happened. In a hysterical panic I refused to ever go to school again. The rest was a bit of a blur but I distinctly remember Dad calling the school.
Over the next two days Mum and I had a chance to talk.
She told me “Rise above it. Don’t lower yourself to their level.”
“Yeah right Mum” I thought. “Like THAT’S gonna help!”
But I decided to give it a go. After all, antagonising the bully obviously hadn’t worked.
So I did. Of course I went through the painful process of being interviewed by the principal and teacher, and witnessed Jason’s agonising apology in front of the class.
But the class accepted me after that. Even the cool people! They realised I was smart, funny and although I wore those strange English clothes and had a different haircut I was actually OK to hang around with.
I went from strength to strength, getting excellent grades and even beat the bully without meaning to – in the worst way possible.
I’m pretty uncoordinated at sport still but about four days after “the incident’ we were playing cricket. I’d missed catches before. Jason the bully of course, was a sports star. But on this fine sunny day he whacked the ball clear up into the air and straight into my hands.
I caught it clear and true. After a split second of shock I smiled triumphantly and the class roared cheered and laughed!
From there I never looked back. And I still haven’t.
After having a business for 13 years I sold it last year and went back to the corporate world for six months. It was an interesting experience and definitely worthwhile but unfortunately the odd bully is still out there, if not more subtle.
But I didn’t respond unless I really had to. And I realised that bullies are just miserable souls wearing a slim veneer and mask of social happiness. I feel sorry for them more than anything else.
And in response, I’m flourishing and prospering.
I realise how smart, intelligent, beautiful, happy (most of the time) and amazing I am to be around. My motives are pure and true and I love to help and in fact have gone out of my way countless times to help strangers.
I have three beautiful children and a gorgeous husband I love and who loves me in abundance.
I am imaginative and now have lots of ways I can help others with my marketing, writing and technical expertise. So bring it on I say!
Life is fine and I savour every minute of it. I will be rich (not just comfortable) if I keep persisting on this given course, and that is totally fine with me. No longer do I feel undeserving. Those days are long gone.
And I’m now encouraging the creative streak in my son who is writing his third book. I told him his latest story was a fantastic idea if he didn’t write the book soon I’d steal it and make a mountain of money!
All with a view to encouraging his creative imagination and to downplay a couple of issues he’s been having lately.
And it’s working. Funny that hey?
Have you been bullied or have your children? What have you done about it? What made the difference for you?……