Monday, April 23, 2012

pick on someone your own size

When I was in elementary school, I was pretty brazen and outgoing. Though kids can be harsh to each other, I always stood up for myself without hesitation and thus never endured any type of childhood kid-on-kid crime angst in my later years. I didn't bully and I wasn't bullied- it was a perfect childhood existence. My Sister was a little different. She wasn't a doormat by any stretch of the imagination but she was easily intimidated so any playground insults flung her direction easily left her unarmed and defeated.

One particularly uneventful week, my Sister and I were swinging at the neighborhood park after school. Jocie (my sis) started crying telling me about her classmate who had been pestering her for a long time. She'd been shoving her and making a point to intimidate her while she was out at recess. A true-blue Bully. Instantly, my Sister mode ignited. No one was going to make my Sister cry and get away with it.

While I was thinking about how I could help Jocie fend off the attacker when we were in different grades in school, my Sister pointed to the North side of the park: the bully was coming.

I looked across the field and laid eyes on my brand, spankin', new enemy as Jocie sniffled on the swings. The girl was big. REALLY BIG. And I was 10 (so can you see where this is going?) And this girl had spent the entire week attacking my Sister to the point of tears. GAME ON.

"BOOM!" I shouted as her right foot hit the ground. "BOOM!" I shouted again as the left foot hit the ground. As she continued towards us ready to validate herself by devaluing my Sister, I kept the comments coming. "BOOM". Right foot. "BOOM". Left foot. She finally stopped and realized the correlation between her leg hitting the ground and my "BOOMS". Yes girlfriend, I'm talking to YOU.

"Yeah, you're starting an earthquake just by walking towards us so can you please stop? And also, you better leave my Sister alone. I come to the park with her every day after school so I'll always be here if you try something again."

With that... the unarmed Bully turned around and headed back to her house, never to spew verbal venom at my undeserving Sister again.

I know this story has an obvious hypocrisy as I was disrespecting someone myself BUT, it was purely defensive. I understand now in my maturity why this girl likely bullied but that was neither here nor there because... when this happened, I was 10. So while I would deter any child in my care from insulting others, I still do not regret insulting the Bully at the park that day the way I did. After all, if you're going to threaten someone to the point of tears, you better be prepared to deal with her 10-year-old little Sister on the playground that night.

What's a Bully story of yours? Were you one or did you fight one off? Do tell.



Anonymous said...

When I was in kindergarden a little girl was bothering me - name calling, pulling hair, that kind of thing. I came home crying one day and my Dad immediately went into a "if someone does something to you you do it back worse to them" rant. So the next day I told her that. Didn't actually do it like my Dad said, just repeated his rant. My Mom got called cause I was threatening the kid apparently. Oops.

LoveT. said...

Nice Post :)

Wish you a great Day!

Kate Sparkles said...

I've always found this to be quite the conundrum but I really believe that some bullies will only respond to that kind of behavior. I wasn't a bully, or at least I didnt think I was, but I've had a lot of girls I went to primary school ( grades 1-6) tell me how intimidating they found me- I wasn't mean to them as such but I wouldn't talk to them either. A few girls from highschool say the same and I kind of woke up to myself by grade 9. I didn't go out of my way to be mean, but I would flat out ignore someone who was there if I didn't think they were cool enough. Which seems so pathetic now.

When I've worked with kids, I've always given the 'treat others as you'd like to be treated' line and luckily none of them have really been through anything to bad. But if I had a kid bullied to the point of tears day in day out, my tune would probably change.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was really brave of you to stand up for your sister, it was sweet of you to defend her.

Hanz, Fashionista Era Design said...

thats a nice story to share. bullying is such a sad situation and im like you i just cant put up. Luckily, my classmates were all peaceful ppl, they would try to ACT snobbish and when i joined they tried to make me feel apart coz i was 'rich kid' according tot hem..which didnt make any sense to me. Who cares abt that stuff when your a kid. So i would just ignore the snobbish looks. Lifes too short.

Today though, they look at me with admiration for who i am, not what i am. That makes me feel stronger. Its the character that is more important that wealth and status i always feel.

erika sorocco said...

Awww...seriously, you are the best sister, Caitlin. Also...I love the sisterly love between you and Jocie - you are such gorgeous girls!

I always tried to avoid bullies by being introverted when I was younger; but I could never stand seeing other people attacked, so I would always stick up for them on the playground, and, ultimately befriend the target. :P

Tina said...

ohhhh this story is the best! i love it! yes you checked the bully.. but you had to! so therefore, you are not bullying! i was bullied countless times in grade school! it was terrible... and though sometimes i took it, it got to the point where i decided not to anymore! one time in 7th grade girls gave me a letter at lunch saying they didnt want me to sit at their table anymore. i was sooooo hurt but stayed there the rest of the period. i didnt cry... i just sat there at the table with my head down thinking what to do next. the next day? i fucking came and sat at that table! i didnt give a shit! turns out it was only 2 girls who didnt "Want" me there and the rest of the table was glad i stayed. instead, they got the boot for being bullies. HA! lol thats always my favorite story :D i just didnt let the bullies win!

Unknown said...

Great story! We all could use a sister like you, it's so great to hear how much you love your sis and how you stood up for her.

I was bullied pretty relentlessly in elementary and for a bit in high-school. Elementary was a bit more abrasive though and it a bit more hurtful because I was targeted for my scoliosis. I was bullied for a good two years pretty harshly over it. After my first year in high-school (just after I had my correctional surgery) I decided that I didn't want to waste any more of my time being upset over what people did or said, and so I switched schools.

Seeing where all my bullies are now in their lives just shows that being a cruel person will only work in ones favour for so long. I didn't need to get back at them, they seemed to be able to dig their own hole.

The Urban Umbrella

Angela said...

You are such a great sis. I couldn't say I was bullied back in the days but for sure some girls could be quite mean but I always managed to protect my own right.

Lindsay said...

What a great sister! I really wasn't bullied much. However, in high school, a girl and I got in a fight over a guy. She always thought she was really tough, when in all actuality, we were the same size. She got up in my face and started yelling at me and I took it for a minute and then I got up the courage to just push her out of my face. She staggered back all stunned like and walked away. I was so proud of myself for standing up to her!

ff said...

I wasn't one. People tried to bully me when I was younger, but it just rolled off my back so I think it took a lot of fun out of it for them. Middle school sucked, though. I have yet to meet anyone who enjoyed it, so I'm not alone.

Bravoe Runway said...

I was mercilessly teased as a kid in school. I was one of very few minorities and people made fun of my name, the way my eyes looked, you name it they had something to say. Well the revenge is that many of them never really made anything of themselves...

drollgirl said...

oh the bully thing! it is so awful!

a girl gave me a tough time in 2nd grade. this is WEIRD, but i think she had a crush on me? i guess? she wanted to play with me, and she used to climb in the bathroom stall next to me, and peek over the top to watch me pee. i was HORRIFIED. i was confused. i didn't do anything to her, but she kept on after me. i think i just rebuffed her repeatedly and she eventually left me alone.

i can't really think of any true bullying stories that impacted me. i just tried to keep a low profile in school and in life so that i wouldn't have to deal with much. i guess it worked! lol. but the bullying thing is so awful and so hard to escape. it is just terrible and it has to be stopped one way or another! it is so unfair and so unpleasant.

Jax said...

Oh, I love how you defended your sister!!! What a great sister :) I know that it's probably not right to fight fire with fire, but that chick had it coming!!!

My best friend (Biff) got made fun of once in a while. The kids always teased him in study hall calling him names like fag. Horrible. Finally I had enough. I cut class and sat down right next to him in study hall. There was the chick that was making fun of him. She was ginormous. (What's with the big people picking on others? Must be their own insecurities...) She said, "Are you Biff's fag hag?" and snickered all evil. I said "No, I'm his girlfriend. But, what are you? You look like a cabbage patch doll!" She cried and I left. Like you, I know it was mean, but I don't regret it at all. You don't mess with other people and not expect to get messed back with. It's provoked!!!

Barry said...

I grabbed a few minutes to read this before work this morning, as the subject of bullying is something I've become increasingly interested in. There's a lot made of how to handle bullying. My views aren't popular with everyone and maybe in time they'll change, but I think the best way for a child to deal with a bully is to stand up to them. I'd never advocate fighting for its own sake but anyone who lives in the real world has to realize that a child who chooses to intimidate others will not respond to words of kindness. Turn the other cheek and you're a coward, tell someone and you're a snitch. Either way you'll get your ass kicked. When you challenge a bully, even if you lose the fight, you're less likely to be picked on again. I feel you did exactly the right thing in standing up for your sister; you fended off an aggressor, protected her and probably strengthened the bond between the two of you.

I've been wanting to do my part to help raise awareness. I was bullied on and off all through school, although we never called it that at the time. It was just a normal part of growing up (or what was perceived as normal anyway). I remember having a couple 'enemies' back in my neighbourhood as a young boy. They would intimidate me, grab me etc.

In early high school there was a boy in the adjoining French school who would bully me. It's a really bad idea having two schools share the same property. One day I fought back and got the better of him, the next day he came back with a friend as a bodyguard and they both began picking on me. Not quite the result I had hoped for but the harassment was far less frequent. Later in high school there was a student who liked to push his weight around and harass me, and we got into a couple physical fights at school. One day in Chemistry class I'd had enough (he was blowing pieces of chewed up paper at me through a straw). I stood up, turned around and screamed at him as loudly as I could to fuck off. The teacher became angry with me and my response was, "You won't do anything so I will". She had turned a blind eye to the whole thing for months. Is it any wonder kids feel alone or snap when those who are supposed to represent authority don't protect them? We need to speak for kids who are too afraid to speak up; children can be cruel but just because it's common doesn't mean it's right.

Over the past couple years I've been running a series of posts on my blog called "A Greater Understanding". These features deal with pretty heavy subjects and whenever possible I've been presenting them through the words of people living these experiences, not just reiterating something I've read in a textbook. I've posted about depression, anorexia, sexuality, self-harm, living with an alcoholic parent,etc. I've been wanting to do a post about bullying and I've been speaking with someone close to me whose son is being intimidated in school. I'm hoping to post about the experience in his own words, as well as from her point of view as the mother of a child who's being bullied.

I was speaking with a friend in Texas whose son is also being bullied in school. In researching Texan anti-bullying legislation I came across this music video I thought you might like:

I also found another music video this morning, a flash mob filmed in Canada. I posted it on Facebook but since you won't be able to see it on my wall I'm including the link here:

I want to thank you for this post, for being socially aware and responsible in bringing it to your readers. That's one of the things I've always loved about your blog, the balance you bring to it. :)

Anonymous said...

Aw. I love that you took up for your sister. Y'all are so pretty!

I got picked on all.the.time. I guess the BEST story I have was when I was about 19. Is that too old? LOL!

I was driving to work after selling my textbooks back to the college bookstore. I was at a yield sign and this GIANT Chevy Caprice comes and sideswipes me and KEEPS DRIVING.

OMG. Well, I did what anyone would do and CHASED HER DOWN. I drove about two miles towards Baylor campus and finally she stopped. I pulled up behind her and stomped out of my car in my high heels. I start hollering "Why did you hit me and drive off?" over and over.

THEN, she and her friend get out of the car and I realize that the friend is really big and could probably whoop my ass.

I decided that I didn't care because it wasn't right to hit someone and keep driving. Turns out, she didn't have brakes. Crazy. So I didn't get an ass-whooping, but I did have to pay a $1000 deductible b/c she didn't have insurance. Yep.

P.S. Thanks for all the sweet comments on my blog. :)

happy hour 24/7 said...

i was a bully around 7th-8th grade, with a cause. you had to start something before i did anything. there was a group of us. we befriended a lot of underclassmen because we were the ones who stood of for them when some of our prissy wannabe batch mates always felt like they were lebron james, i mean king. LOL

| C AND C | Sarmin said...

I don't remember being bullied in grade school, or JR. I wasn't popular, but I knew everyone...In HS, freshmen year, I worked for my dad's friend, This girl in my Eng class didn't like me, idk why, but whatever, long story short, I left backpack in the class room, when I got back, my money form my wallet was missing. It wasn't alot, but still. I didn't tell the teacher, I just waited until Sophomore year to get my pay back which she got expelled for. Karma is bitch!

& very awesome, protecting sister, go 10 year old Caitlin! My sister & I are 10 years apart, & her getting married young, I so feel like an only child.

Social Exposure Media said...

Very nice post, C. And nice pictures. I applaud you for what you did.

As for me (and the person behind Charlie) I was not necesarily buillied. But now that I'm an adult, sort of, I am the one doing the bullying here at work.


Charlie D :P

Kim Axani said...

Cute story. I have bullying and always have. I always stuck up for myself too, so wasn't a target. My mom used to tell me stories growing up, she was picked on majorly all through school so one day she'd had enough and punched the bully in the face. Same as you, the bully ran away with it's tail between it's legs. Bullys are cowards underneath is why :)

Kim Axani said...

I hate* bullying and always have :)

this free bird said...

omg girl i was bullied BEYOND. been talking about this on my private facebook page for 2 weeks and thinking about a post. i'm tagging you if it ever comes to fruition. that sh*t scars for life. TRUTH. came face to face with an adult version last week and put her in her place after dealing with her for a month. it was clear she's been like this her entire life and she was not quite sure what to do with me after i ripped her one.

Unknown said...

nawww Jocie is so lucky to have such a supportive sister!
i just got in a fight with mine trying to get her to take photos and pose for my latest blog post (you'll notice she doesnt appear) haha.
but yes, id have her back against anyone! thats what sisters are for.

Julie Ann Lozada said...

i haven't experience being bullied by other kids back then, because i studied in a christian school where students are religious and so kind!

It’s a GIRL Thing

Elle Sees said...

Always about my nose or being ugly. See my post On Body Issues.

Lindsey @ The Hill House said...

I thankfully did not have to deal with bullies when I was in school. As my sister-in-law likes to tell me, I guess I put out some kind of "I'm a Bi***, don't F--- with me" vibe so people didn't bother me. But now my son has been picked on a time or two, and you better believe that I will absolutely not stand for it. Absolutely will not. Good for you for standing up for your sister.

Claire Kiefer said...

Interesting story! You were very brave for a 10 year old. :) I'm sure your sister was so grateful for you. I was the older sister, too, so I know what it's like to feel protective. My sister was quite a little pistol, though, so I never had to stand up for her, ha.

I'm a high school teacher now, and I'm really proud to report that our school is so safe that we don't have much of a bullying issue. We even have kids transferred to us after being bullied at other schools in the San Francisco school district. I'm sure it happens, but I rarely see it (and never in my classes), and I think our kids have basically been taught that bullying is absolutely unacceptable in our school community.

So glad you're talking about this issue, Caitlin!!

Raven said...

Um you HAVE to hear my bully story. ok, so in high school, I was friends with this girl Monica. Not sure why, but we soon became enemies (she HATED me) and just basically would badger and bully me, but I always gave it right back at her. It never went further than that because Im sure she scared I would kick her face in if she tried anything with me. Well, I left that school in 11th grade and went to a private school. Well, my two younger sisters were started freshman and for some reason, Monica decided to pick on my littlest sister Rachel. I guess because she was my sister and because she thought she would bully her more easily. (So since I was gone, she figured she would go after my sister. Keep in mind my sister had NEVER met her before) anyway, one day my sister just had enough of her walking by and saying eff you and pushing her around in the halls, so she told Monica to meet her in the park after school. They met (along with like 50 other students) and long story short, Rachel beat her ass. Hard. Bish never bothered us again.

Sisters are the best :)