This is a re-post inspired by Dangerous Linda and a story she told, Underdog 2 Upperdog. It is a compelling story about Linda herself, but also a young girl who took her own life after relentless bullying. The subtext of the story also touches self worth, and finding the strength within to be yourself, heal and grow. It is not easy, but it is possible. I was inspired by Lindas' story. I hope you will read it and be inspired too. After posting this story I read a guest post on Bongo is Me. It is an deeply felt story from the perspective of a bullied child who was also a suicide survivor. This reading is not easy, but it is important!
School bullying is a hot topic in the news lately…as it should be. Creating unavoidable awareness of the problem and seriously putting it to end the best way possible is a very good idea.
To that end, I will tell you a bit about my experiences growing up. I was until mid-high school if not the biggest kid in my school, always big for my age. An advantage you might think…not so much. There were unlimited “smaller” people that saw beating up the big kid as a trophy. There were many who tried, but I have always detested violence and somehow managed in my entire life to have only been in two fights. Both fights started by an opponent; and both of them ending with that opponent having serious regrets about picking a fight with me. That’s all I will say about that. Most of the people who tried to pick on me were mouth-breathing Neanderthal morons and I was able to talk them out of the idea because I would use words and ideas they couldn’t even spell much less understand. I know I was lucky.
The first fight was with a little guy who wanted a trophy. I tried to talk him out of it but he had his eye on the prize and there was nowhere to go with it. Technically it wasn’t a fight because he took a swing at my face which I managed to duck and he planted his fist into the plate glass window of a bicycle shop and cut himself up pretty badly. I dragged him a block down the street to the Police Department who got him to the hospital for 30 some stitches and he never bothered me again.
The second fight was with a fella that was picking on a friend of mine essentially to steal the brand new bicycle my friend had gotten from his parents. I didn’t want to fight with him; I simply wanted to break up his attempt to steal the bike. He happened to be the son of our family dentist. The whole affair wound up with me sitting on his chest, my knees on his shoulders making him promise out loud to a small crowd that he would NEVER pick on anyone…ever again. He did.
Coincidentally I had an appointment with our dentist a week later. I protested with my father who had witnessed the fight but to no avail. With his hands and tools firmly planted in my mouth the dentist said, “I understand you had a fight with my son!” Desperately trying not to be put to death I exclaimed, “I idn’t ant who do it..he sharded it!” At that moment I was afraid the dentist would pull my tonsils out of my throat with hemostats and wrap them around the back of my head. He didn’t. He finished his exam and handed me a bag of candy saying, “I think you straightened him up a bit…and thank you.” I took the bag of candy [coming from a dentist] as a mixed message.
A third fight in my life never happened thanks to my big brother. My brother was always much larger than me and we were walking along a side street one day when one of the trophy seeking morons popped out trying to start a fight with me. I was told later that when he pushed me I started mumbling aloud, “Bad idea, bad idea.” My brother who was easily twice the size of the assailant put a hand on his shoulder and said, “This really is a bad idea. You see, my brother hasn’t taken his medication today…we have no idea what he is capable of…you see…frankly you wouldn’t be the first person he’s killed, and you might want to re-think this whole thing. Me…well I like to watch...and help hide the bodies!”.
The moron took a step back, blinked and moved on.
As a sidebar...the story my brother told the moron spread around and to this day no one has tried to pick on me...and if you will excuse me now...I have to take my medication...buwahahahaa...I mean...excuse me...bad idea...bad idea.
I was lucky…many people aren’t. Funny stories with an important point. Visit End The Bullying and support any effort to save lives and end bullying!
I’m just saying…and you should too!
At the outset I hope this post does not get too chaotic or long. Read what you can and come back or move on.
My father wound up being my biggest hero in life but life was not always like that. There were times when my father and I did not speak for long periods, teenage angst and all, but it was never really his doing. The story is its own paradox.
My father was always a very hard working person and absolutely devoted to family. He was a strict disciplinarian and that I am sure caused dissent between us at times. The irony is that among other values he instilled, independence and free thinking were among them. He taught us to think for ourselves, make our own decisions and live up to the consequences no matter what they were. Those values clashed with his role as a father. It was not his fault that he taught us too well.
My father grew up just after the end of World War One and was 13 when the depression hit full swing. From a poor family, he hitched a ride on a freight train and headed to western Canada to find work. His first job was at a grist mill working for $1 per week plus room and board. $1 per week! $52 per year! He did it and managed to save money to send home and help the family. Every penny of his income was accounted for with a purpose. When I was 13, I too worked on a farm for $50 per week plus room and board and every penny of my income was disposable…I was 13 and had no worries.
My father faced multiple near death accidents in his life and after everyone, every time and against all odds he picked up and moved on. Aside from stitches and a couple of broken bones, I have experienced little or no physical pain in my life. I don’t envy my father that pain; I just know his row was harder to hoe.
I was in my 30’s the first time my father looked me in the eyes and said “I love you”. I have never had a conversation with my son in his entire life that did not start with, contain or end with “I love you.” The difference is that I never doubted my father’s love even if not spoken. I doubt sometimes if the words to my son are backed with action.
My father survived many deep hardships, picked up and made a place and legacy for himself of value and content. I suppose I have added value to the lives of others as I have tried to, but not with the grace and ease that my father did. He was the most honest and unassuming human I have ever known.
My father was loyal to an annoyance. If he thought of you as a friend there was nothing he wouldn’t do for you. He would not pause; he would not second guess; he was just there no matter what, and he never failed. I have tried to be that person in my life and for the most part I have helped pass his legacy. It is a very difficult if not impossible standard to live up to.
I recently lost something that is/was one of the most precious things to ever enter my life. I lost it because I am not my father. I did not know what to do and I spoiled it by unraveling emotionally under pressure. I spoiled it because I forgot a lesson my father taught me and I am sorry for that. I hope to be a better person and be everything my father taught me to be.
I wish I was My Father.
I’m just saying.
Yesterday I posted a story about the suicide of a close friend. It was in part intended to address how well we know people and perceptions about others. The post included a rant about character attacks and I lashed out about it. That rant made the post its own contradiction. I did precisely what I was complaining about…making my anger public. For that, I apologize. Someone copied and pasted the post elsewhere...please don't do that.
I don’t expect everyone to like me and everyone is entitled to an opinion…it doesn’t have to be mine. I let my emotions get the better of me. The context of the post rings true…it just didn’t need to be angry. Don’t write on 2 hours of sleep. I apologize.
I’m just saying.
Yesterday someone in my life took his own life. I was devastated by the news…but only worried about what brought him there…not anger because he did it. No one can know the last thought of anyone who dies…by disease or by their own doing. To think otherwise is selfish and self-serving.
I have had thoughts of suicide in my life…many of us have. I don’t condone it and I hope that anyone who does have these thoughts finds a way by whatever means to get to the next moment and see hope as an option.
I have recently been the subject an indictment of my character in a way that essentially renders my life invalid and a lie. What inspired this is beyond my ability to explain or even care. It did however raise questions with me.
If you are or ever have been in a relationship, does [did] your significant other know every detail of your life? The answer is NO. I remember stories my father who lived 91 years told me. I heard many of them many times and something new was added to each version. I relished the stories and admired my father for having lived them and never once thought he was lying because the story was not the same verbatim every time. Any story that is told is told in the moment and if it is exactly the same every time it is rehearsed or memorized…an alibi.
I can honestly say that I have never done anything in my life that required an alibi. I have lived my life and always felt fortunate for the experiences I have enjoyed and openly share them because I have always hoped that my fortune might inspire and encourage others.
If anyone asks you to repeat a story in your life ten times…they will hear ten versions and that is fine. It has to do with the time, circumstance and question.
Have you omitted pieces of your life from friends? The answer is YES. NO ONE ever gets to know everything. That doesn’t make you bad…it makes you human. If you question everything someone tells you it is because you don’t trust them, not because you love them. Your distrust is your issue…not theirs. Not believing someone does not make them a liar.
If you don’t like someone because you don’t believe them it is because they were never a friend and nothing can change that. Your beliefs will never invalidate another human being.
Until you have lived another person's life, you can never know the whole story. I only wish I knew my friend's life better...and last thought...so I could understand better. He will be missed.
I’m just saying.