Pride of the Bullied
Tony E Dillon-Hansen
If you have not been bullied, you will never truly know what the bottom of a foot looks like. If you have not been bullied, you will never know what it feels to be completely alone in agony and torment. If you have not been bullied consider yourself lucky to not have the learning opportunities that those of us who have been bullied. If you have not been bullied, consider yourself lucky to not need the armor to protect against what life will throw. If you have been bullied, consider how far you have traveled under so much duress and how much you have moved above the ugly of life. Consider that you survived and learned from those experiences.
We are the non-athletic, spectacle-faced, different-looking, 4-eyes, retarded, non-cliched, non-Christian, not-rich, fat, geeky, fag and queer. We, the bullied, were The Scarlet Letter every day at recess, in the locker room, on the way home, and even at home in many cases. There would be no reason given. Even more ironic, when we could excel, we were still being ridiculed and persecuted. We wanted to just be. Yet, our achievements and dreams were fodder for the taunts just the same.
More than anything, we challenge the teachings of Jesus to love our enemies or to turn the other cheek one more time. We know in our hearts that we would like to at least have done to them what they have done to us. We may find ourselves shaking fists at God for the apparent disparity of experiences. Further, the people that were supposed to be there for us were no-where to console or to support. They offered to us jerky idioms about sticks and stones, but we know, for certain, that words can cut painfully deep. We have been forced to sit on the sidelines of what it feels like to be a person because of irrational hatred.
Those bullies grow up and are surprised at how we feel about them. Unfortunately, they may go on bullying people as well as their own children while we find more ways to build more courage to work another day without much fanfare. We may applaud for the underdogs, comeback kids and may even consider that we finally escaped if we are able to leave the torment of schoolyards, churches, or even our families.
When you grow older, you find there are different sorts of bullies in the world. They call you names behind their hypocritical religious views. They taunt you for living outside their 1950s TV sitcom of normal. They defile your picture, your ideas, and very being. They beat you into submission and force you to fall in line. We cannot be frightened of Hell when Earth has been the definition of horror.
These bullies, they will never know what sensations will overcome you when people rip your child away because of some test of religion or supposed lifestyle. They will not know the betrayal felt when family members are willing to hurt your spouse and kids because they are not what they envisioned. They will never know the defeat you have when you are kicked out of the house for simply being who you are. They will not know the awful torment of knowing that your family will be the focus of the many attacks from around the community because your family does not conform.
Fortunately for us, we, the bullied, have learned to not live in the pretense of the past or stale sitcoms. We realize there is such a thing as real respect and real compassion. Some of us, instead, become empowered by bitterness; some by pride of finally feeling untouchable by the bullies. We can question why we could not enjoy days without harassment, torment or physical torture. We do not want to watch sinister fingers scheme to hurt us again.
Still, bitterness is an attachment that should be released otherwise it may evolve into more senseless hatred and violence. Maybe, this is why many want to drown out those memories and experiences through alcohol and drugs to escape that haunting history. Yet, we “made it” this far.
We have outlasted the taunts and teasing. We learn to laugh at the ridiculousness of those taunts. We learned the price of intolerance and the grace of loving fully. We found refuge in places that they cannot touch like music, writing, religion, sports and even our own families.
That is why we like personalities that push beyond those taunts and hateful remarks. This is why people seek refuge in religion because that realm is supposed to be exempt from perpetual torture on Earth. Yet, there are those that want to turn that idea into an exclusive arena that is more indicative of the gladiator trials we faced at recess instead of the place of solace mentioned in the scriptures.
The bullied are not alone and will see better days. We, the bullied, have learned and will continue to learn. We, the bullied, will march with other souls because we, too, have a place and we, too, are part of loving families. We, the bullied, will show how compassion works because we know what real compassion is rather than simply looks like. We will build better families despite the ridicule. We will embody that which Jesus taught because we have already suffered Hell. Maybe, the bullies will never learn, and maybe, they will always find reasons to scorn people. We, the bullied, will come to the aid of our brothers and sisters like soldiers because like soldiers, they should never be forgotten. We will be shining examples of good people, even if the bullies are blind to the facts. We, the bullied, have pride because we are better than bullies.