I come from a long line of folks who are tall, thin and wear glasses. For boys this can be deleterious; for girls–at least this one–it was calamitous. My nicknames were Skinny Mini and Bony Maroni. Four Eyes. Beanpole. There were longer phrases like, “You must need rocks in your pockets to keep you from blowing away in the breeze” and “She turns sideways and you can’t see her any more.” There were probably others, just as uncreative but always stinging, that I’ve been able to forget. That was many years and almost a hundred pounds ago, but I still feel kind of ugly because, although my body has aged, my mind is still back in high school.
So here’s what I want to know: Was I bullied?
There’s a new documentary out that purports to talk about bullying in all its faces and phases. The documentary is said to use the f-word so much that it was given an R-rating by what must be the most narrow-minded, anal-retentive people in the world. Not just one, but four such f-spouts were used! My goodness! These folks ought to come to my street. There are only a few kids on the block, but that one word constitutes at least a quarter of their vocabulary. And believe me, they speak many more than 16 words! While listening to all the make-the-film-PG13-ers, however, they say bullying can be just a word. A simple word. I haven’t seen the documentary, so can someone please tell me, is “skinny” one of those words? Bony? Beanpole? Four Eyes? If so, then I guess I was bullied too.
My dilemma about that is this: If I was bullied as a kid, is my lack of self-confidence partly to be blamed on those childish taunts, and can I therefore continue to blame shy little me on those jerks of my kidhood? Or did I grow up to be less than self-confident because of a genetic gene? Was I bullied, or are we carrying this “poor baby” thing too far? Does everything negative impact a person negatively, or does some of it just help a person to grow up and learn to forget the snarky kids and become better prepared for the other negative things in life? Is there a line to cross? Is it all either black or white and nothing gray?
Now please, people, don’t come after me with your horror stories of physical beatings and suicides. I understand there really is a problem with bullying these days, and I think something should be done about it. I just don’t know where to draw a line. Of course, I also stand on the side of a little butt spanking once in a while so maybe I’m just of the wrong generation. Or perhaps I’m just tired of writing mush and gush and humor.
So, yes or no?