[Error: unknown template qotd]lol Ohyes, I was bullied. Behold, the stereotypical nerd: the scrawny 7th grade girl with pigtails, a mouthful of braces, pink bell-bottom pants, sweater-vest and wing-collared shirt. Bad enough in the 1970s, but try 1989.I missed the memo when we went from grade school to middle school and you were supposed to stop being a kid and act like a miniature adult. I brought My Little Ponies on the bus the first day of middle school. It didn't help that I was a year ahead of where I was supposed to be, and still FELT like a kid. My locker didn't have pictures of hot actors in it (lol it does NOW *ahemdavidtennantahem*), it had my drawings and stories taped up inside. I carried ALL my books from class to class because I couldn't figure out how to get to my locker and still manage to be the first one to arrive in my classrooms to say hello to the teacher like a COMPLETE TOOL!
So, what happened to me that year, when everyone else was cool and I was the biggest nerd the rich side of town's middle school had EVER SEEN? Oh lord. I got slapped, punched, slammed into walls, spit on, somebody came up behind me and wrenched my neck so badly I had to go home for the day because I couldn't turn my head. People would walk by me and spit in my lunch and, worst of all, even some of the teachers singled me out and made fun of me.
Now, at first I cried. Oh woe is me, I would come home from school and hide in my room and sob. That lasted all of a month, and finally my parents said enough is enough. They sat me down and told me something that parents would probably go to jail for telling their kids nowadays: "We don't care if you get suspended from school. If the teachers won't help you, you help yourself and you fight back as hard as you can." They didn't help me to fit in, they didn't tell me to change who I was. They gave me permission to be me, and to tell anyone who didn't like it to piss off.
And so I did.
It didn't hurt that my father called the principal and told him that I was either going to be allowed to fight back against bullies, or he was going to follow me from class to class with a baseball bat to make sure I didn't come home with gobs of spit on my shirt and another bloody nose. (again, probably would have been jailed for that phone call these days). I remember the first glorious moment I fought back. This snotty girl was throwing french fries at me from across the lunch table. Now, previously I just sat their and took it, sniffling and quietly asking her to stop. I let her throw three of them, and warned her every time that she'd better not do it again. When the fourth french fry (this one dredged through some jell-o for added fun) bounced off my shirt, I leapt across the lunch table and knocked her to the ground and belted her a good one. And went straight to the principal's office. Sure, I was in trouble, but it was worth it.
The next time? A girl wouldn't stop kicking my desk in Social Studies. I mentioned it to the teacher and she said it wasn't her problem. So, I made it my problem. The girl's stuff went flying across the room and I screamed in her face to knock it the *expletive* off. Off I went to the principal's office. He sent me right back to class with a warning. And on it went, fighting back every chance I got, until I went from being known as the nerd, to being known as "Crazy Jan" - Stay away from her, they'd say. There's something wrong with her. Damn right there was something wrong with me - I wasn't going to take being bullied lying down, and they didn't know how to deal with that. By the time I reached high school, the popular kids and I had arrived at detente, and anyway I found theatre and music and left all those bozos behind.
Looking back, it's not the most politically-correct solution to the problem. Today I'd probably be labeled a risk for school violence and have to go into some sort of counseling program or whatnot, but back in those days the teachers did not care for the most part. At least the ones at Dwight Eisenhower Middle School in Rockford, Illinois didn't give a damn. Would I tell kids of today to do that sort of thing? No way. Because there are protocols in place now that will help kids that are being bullied. Now it's actually seen as a problem that needs addressing, and I would tell kids today to go through the appropriate channels to get the help they needed. Of course, failing that, I might just pick up the phone and call a principal and make mention of my prowess with a baseball bat....