Don’t let others get you down shine in all your colours, your beauty, your kindness and be yourself.
I usually post my thoughts outside of advertising on a Sunday but as I will be attempting my first outing since my confinement of almost four months this Sabbath (for a pint) I am writing on Saturday. This is all about bullying in all it’s forms disguised or otherwise.
I was bullied at school, back then we didn’t have childline and if we went to our parents or our teachers, dread the thought, we would get a clip round the ear and told to man up. I can remember the fear so clearly. Wondering who would get me on the way to school and who would get me at school. I was punched, kicked, head butted, hair pulled, pushed over and slapped. It was the scariest time of my entire life. I loathed school and I hated my bullies, and no I do not forgive them for what they tried to do me.
Along with all the physical abuse came the name calling and to be honest they were the worst. Who ever came up with ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ is a moron. Bruises heal and if you can see your attacker from a distance you can hide or run and I did plenty of that. But words can be powerfully wicked and can shape you and your attitude to others and to life itself if you allow it to do so.
I was always creative at school, appeared in plays, excelled in art classes and loved to dance. I hated sports of any kind because I was useless at it and of course that’s where most of the bullies were. I was of course a prime candidate for terms like ‘Woofta, Pouff, (don’t even know if that’s how you spell it) Panzy, Cissy, Weakling …. and it wasn’t only my fellow pupils it was the teachers particularly the games masters. How wicked children can be to one another. I feel for all children having to go through this experience and it breaks my heart when I see a news item stating that yet another innocent child has committed suicide due directly to bullying but sadly it is a fact of life and I believe it will never go away. It’s how you deal with it that matters.
I managed somehow to get through the school years by building inner defences and laughing at myself. I found it easier to agree with the names I was being called and even to play up to it. I became a bore for the bullies because I started to react as if I agreed with them if they thought me a weakling, I simply played the part outwardly and they decided very quickly it was time to move on to some other poor sod and eventually I was left alone.
So why did I bring this up today. Yesterday I received a friend request on FB from one of my bullies from school, someone that I have not seen or heard from in over 40 years thank God. Another good friend told me that he wanted the opportunity to say sorry for all the hurt that he had caused me because his grandson was now being bullied at school. Well sad though that is for him and his family to deal with. I don’t forgive him for what he tried to do to me and no I will not accept his friend request I moved on a long time ago and if he can’t that’s his problem. If that sounds harsh well I couldn’t give a shit. These people need to know that it is wrong and not believe that one day their victims will turn around and say ‘oh it’s ok, we were only kids, of course it doesn’t bother me’ well it bloody well did. It bothered me when I stood at my bedroom window staring out and crying and thinking that I would be better off dead at aged only 12. So no I don’t forgive you and never will.
Bullying of course is not only contained in the school playground. I have witnessed bullying in the workplace and in my time as a business owner I have stepped in many times and quashed the bully as it offends me immensely and I will not accept it how ever disguised it might be.
Here is a simple example of something that I witnessed some years ago in my own company from one of my own managers. We had a lovely sales lady who was going out to see a very hot prospect it was the beginning of the week and she was nervous and excited, she had dressed smartly and was about to leave the office amid shouts of good luck and break a leg. Then I overheard her direct manager passing her on the stairs and as he passed her this is what he said ‘Morning Sue, oh I thought dress down day was on a Friday’
He thought it funny, I found that lady getting into her car and she had tears in her eyes. Fortunately I was able to bolster her and she went on her way. I obviously dealt with the manager concerned but this proves that bullies are not always obvious and it is our duty in business to ensure that we keep our ears and eyes open I certainly will never turn a blind eye to bullies, I will not tolerate them and I will not forgive them.