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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Guest Post: The Dynamics of Bullying


Guest Post: The Dynamics of Bullying

When I see what young people have to deal with in these modern times, I fear for them. The Internet, designed initially for the rapid receipt of knowledge, has morphed into this uncontrolled gateway of inappropriate behavior. Bullying is at the top of this list.

Word of mouth that used to take days or weeks to get around now surfaces in a matter of seconds, with the click of a button. Attacks do not have to be physical—psychological warfare is modified to epic proportions. If and when there’s a beat down, there are no rules—everything is fair play. Weapons can be introduced at any given point, and usually it is the perpetrator of the taunting that does the dirt. The administration is scared to get involved, doesn’t take it as seriously as they should, or are wrapped up in so much bureaucratic red tape … that the alarm doesn’t get sounded until the worst possible thing happens—death.


The subject of bullying makes me think about some pieces in my poetry collection Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes. Although I didn’t go through as much as some of the stories I’ve read about, I can connect strongly with the feelings of those people who are victimized and have done nothing to deserve the pain. 



My first experience with bullying was around the age of nine. My development was awkward to say the least. Highly imperfect vision. Overweight. The perfect arsenal for a bully’s attack. When I had to get braces three years later, it was just more ammunition. However, because my family was dealing with other issues, I believed it was silly for me to come to them with what would be perceived as “small stuff”. As a result, I went inside myself, became less and less verbal. I substituted audible speak for written word, and made paper the gateway to talk about my torment.



Puberty
Two bubbles of fat
Sprouted from my chest
At the age of nine.

At the same time, I was fitted
With clear-rimmed glasses.
Diagnosis: nearsighted, somewhat blind.

Then, silver railroad tracks
Were glued in front of my teeth
At the age of twelve.

I’m officially in Adolescent Hell
With no one to fight
For my Soul’s salvation.


***


XII
It was a typical school day.

Teasing before class;
Whispering during class;
Telling myself the little mantra:
“Don’t say anything. Just let it pass.”

Sitting at lunch alone;
More teasing during class;
Hiding in the bathroom crying,
Telling myself the torture can’t last.

But one day,
When I emerged from the bathroom,
I felt different.

When the boy that walked by
Teased me about my glasses,
I said, “Thanks.”

When the girl that bumped into me
Screamed, “Fatso, watch where you’re going!”
I laughed.

When the popular kid
Sat in my favorite seat again,
I just smiled.

That day, I died,
And no one even noticed.

***

The bullying caused my self-esteem to decline even further. It was not that great to begin with because of my toxic relationship with my mom and the unspoken language that was being conveyed. I emphasize the “unspoken” because she did a great job at presenting herself in one way when she was really the opposite. Through her acts, I received many messages that I was not as pretty or popular. In other words, I wasn’t her.

All of the negative things haunted me to the daily, turning certain tangents of thoughts from “no”, to a strong “possibility”. One of those possibilities was hinted at in “Evening Snack”.

Evening Snack
One day—
A tough day,
A blue day,
I wanted something
To take the
Blue away.

I looked for
Some Häagen Dazs®
But remembered
My family couldn’t afford it.

I searched for
My favorite flavored Gatorade
But remembered
The sale hadn’t started.

So I settled
For some M & M’s-
The red and blue ones
Are my favorite!

But sadly enough,
All that was left
Were all of these dark orange ones …
Thought there weren’t going to be
Any more new colors.

Oh, well.

One down,
Two down,
Three down,
Four

Then I hear the keys
Jingle in the door.

And my eyes refocus.

I realized
The M & M’s
Are really
Advil in disguise

So I decided
My belly is full …

For now.

***

If there are any changes in behavior that are off in your child, don’t dismiss them right away. Pay attention to your instincts. Dare to ask what’s wrong. If your child isn’t forthright, you as an adult have the right to protect your child by any means.

I know there are plenty of parents out there that advocate for the right of children to have privacy. However, if something happens that could have been prevented if you dared to investigate, would you still hold fast to that child’s need? If there’s a choice between violating privacy to protect one from danger, then I’ll risk being hated for the rest of my life by the child … as long as I’ve done my duty.

Awareness is the preparation for correct action and possible prevention.

Thanks All Authors Blog for having me.