The Silent and the Not-So-Silent Bully

When I was in high school, every morning a group of guys gathered around their lockers conveniently located right by the front door of the school. As students walked through the door, their torment began. They weren’t too selective. Anyone could be their target. They made fun of shoes, bags, shirts, pants, faces, teeth, hair, anything.

It pains me to say that I was part of their group, not the part that made fun of people, but the quiet part. The group of kids who stood two feet away and did nothing. The silent bullies. The ones who didn’t stick up for the poor kid who couldn’t afford new pants, so his were too short. God forbid. And he never heard the end of it.

I sat at their table at lunch.  I even (gasp) dated one or two of them. *gags* Until one day, I walked into school with my best friend, and we watched these assclowns knocking a kid’s books out of his hands and then making fun of him and tripping him when he picked them up, classic movie bully stuff. My friend and I looked at each other and then went to help the kid with his stuff. As we were walking away amid the echoes of their lame jokes, I said to her, “I don’t need to be friends with them anymore,” She responded with a boss nod, and from that point on, we never looked back.

And then it began.

“Hey, Castle! New shirt?” I heard. Or, “New shoes?” or “New boyfriend?” Yeah, they were quite the cleverless put downers. Just a group of ugly assholes who picked on everyone who wasn’t part of their group, a gaggle of geese constantly giggling like dipshits.

I loathe the term bully and think that, as a society, we are highly over using it. But these guys were bullies, a mean spirited group of trolls, quite literally. Ironically, the meanest boys in school happened to also be some of the least attractive and the most popular.

I remained distant friends with some of that group, but I never sat at their table again. I never went to their parties again. And I cringed every time I saw their mean boy posse. Passing them in the hall and being hit with “Hey Castle” followed by a barrage of their inbred idiot assaults became my daily adventure.

You could say that I quickly went from totally chic to totally geek, and I was okay with that.

Before, I wanted so badly to be accepted that I ignored their bad behavior. I ignored their meanness. I ignored when they made other kids cry. For years. And I wasn’t alone. It was a defense mechanism. I knew if I defended their target-of-the-day, they would turn their mean on me. And I was right. They did.

But they didn’t ruin school for me. I luckily made friends with some of the most brilliant amazing kids who I probably would not have gotten to know had I remained “popular.” And those kids enriched my life. They made me better. They encouraged me and applauded me, and I will forever be grateful for seeing that before it was too late.

So let’s get to the point here.

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of The Donald. Confession, I actually used to like him. But then I saw the way he treated people, how someone’s looks were his first target. Or their intellect. And before you tell me not to listen to the fake news, I encourage you to scroll through his tweets. I now see the same pathetic qualities in him that I did of the douche-canoe guys standing in front of those lockers. A person who is so insecure that in order to make himself look better, he attacks other people.

The exact thing we try to teach our children not to do.

Now he’s president, and I am told over and over that I have to respect him.

But that puts me right back to where I was in high school: two feet away from the bully pretending nothing is wrong. A silent bully again.

And that’s not okay with me. I know the media hasn’t been nice to him and that (in his words) “no politician in history has been treated more unfairly.” Wah. Boo friggin hoo. Hey, man, you get what you give.

He ran a platform of being politically incorrect, and the masses fell at his angry feet. They cheered and chanted and promoted his bad behavior even when he (on multiple occasions) applauded and encouraged violence. And they continue to do so. Until someone is mean to him. Then “everybody should be nice.” Except for him. This is bully mentality y’all. Plain and simple.

Do as I say not as I do. Be nice to me but not to them. Laugh when I say laugh. Cry when I say cry. Cheer when I say cheer.  Make me feel good. Tell me how amazing I am. Listen to me when I cheer for myself. Tell me I’m the best. But by God, don’t you dare say anything negative about me, or I will retaliate.

(I just went to twitter to see if I could find a mean tweet to imbed in this, and THIS IS THE FIRST TWEET ON HIS FEED!!!!!)

 

I know he’s trying to appeal to a different audience. Maybe he’s even trying to be funny. So is every single bully out there. It’s pathetic, and it’s ignorant. It isn’t presidential. It isn’t modern day presidential. It is infantile, and it is a poor example for us, for our country, for humanity.

Do better, Donald Trump. Do better, America. Don’t be the kids two feet from the bully. Stick up for what is right. We cannot stand back and tolerate something that we wouldn’t allow our children to do.

PS: He did a couple of pretty good things this week in regards to ISIS (hopefully) and veterans, but the media isn’t covering it because Donald Trump is too busy attacking CNN and a couple of journalists, which of course, is getting lots of coverage. Bully mentality y’all. Ego ego ego.

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Why Moms Yell

I’ve often said that every day is Groundhog day when you’re a mom. One thing, in particular, that remains an ever present constant in my house is the struggle for my son to put on his shoes. Every single morning, we do the same thing. Wake up, get dressed, comb hair, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and the last thing is to put shoes on before we leave the house. Yet, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, it goes something like this….

 

 

The fabulous Deva from MyLifeSuckers let me collaborate on this one which was inspired by this meme:

Apparently, it’s not just my kids. Do your kids do the same thing? Are we being punked? Is it Groundhog day? (Of course it is. We’re parents.)

Mom, I’m Scared to Go to School

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night. We had kind of a rough evening. After a strenuous two hour math homework marathon with my son,  I ordered a pizza, and the kids and I sat around the table discussing our highs and our lows of the day as we do every night at dinner, but I wasn’t engaged. I was irritable, the weight of the world heavy on my shoulders. I was short with both kids, not at my parenting best.

Rushed showers and stories and prayers, and the kids were off to bed. I poured a glass of wine and sat on the couch to lose myself in the lives of the Orange County housewives, watched the news, and then went to bed. Pretty uneventful.

Around eleven, my daughter came into my room half in a sleep walk haze and said she was scared. After the normal “Everything is okay. You’re safe here,” she fell back asleep.

This happened two more times in the night. I know it’s normal. I know kids go through times when they can’t sleep, and I know it will pass. I’ve been through all of this before, but I woke up tired and cranky, and when I went into her room to help her start getting ready for school, I forced myself not to show the irritation I felt.

I sat on the end of her bed helping her pick out a hat for “hats off” day, when she said it.

“Mom, I’m scared to go to school.”

I furrowed my brow at her. “Why, baby?” I asked with confusion thinking she was going to tell me about some kid being a bully and preparing myself to go all Debbie from This is Forty on him and hope that he too looked like Tom Petty. (Movie reference)

“I’m scared of the lock down drill.” Flashbacks to dinner last night when my head was far away from the conversation, and she mentioned something about it. Shame on me for not addressing it then.

My baby who is five years old, in her first year of school, a kindergartner, is scared to go to school because of a drill where fake bad guys come in and try to get into her classroom.

This is the world in which we live, friends, and it scares the hell out of me.

We spent the rest of the morning discussing the details and what she knew about the drill so far. Thankfully, my fourth grade son was around to help calm her nerves and told her it’s his favorite drill of all the drills (fire, tornado, BAD GUYS COMING INTO YOUR SCHOOL TO HARM YOU!)

She told me that if she’s in the bathroom and hears the alarm, she’s supposed to stop what she’s doing and stand on the toilet but keep her head down so nobody can see her over the top of the stall. “We can’t even flush, Mom. Do you think it’s okay to wipe?,” she asked, big blue eyes wide with worry. I shrugged my shoulders. How would I know? I never had lock down drills.

If someone tries to come into her classroom, the teacher will lock the door, and the students are supposed to find their hiding places.Kids are being taught to hide from bad guys in school.

As we walked to school, I told her that she need not worry, that we live in a safe place and that her focus today should be learning and enjoying time with her friends, and then I promised her a fun weekend. I walked away after kissing her goodbye knowing that I hadn’t been truthful.

Sure, we live in a safe place. We are in the heart of the suburbs where our biggest fear is a bobcat that likes to roam around our neighborhood.

But Columbine High School was safe. Sandy Hook Elementary was safe. Virginia Tech was safe.

Until they weren’t.

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night because this world simply isn’t safe anymore. Not even for a sweet little girl with a heart of gold in kindergarten.

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Be brave. Stay safe. It’s only school after all.