Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't soak too long.

I was made fun of as a kid. I bet you were, too--at some point, maybe. Kids can be cruel. Heartless. Awful. Downright horrible. I can still remember just how awful it felt in that moment to feel like one mean kid could ruin my day so hardcore. To make me feel so alone. So ugly. So self-conscious. So insecure.

In elementary school, I remember being made fun of by one specific boy--of course I remember his name. His name was Shawn. I'll leave off his very-specific-last name because let's be honest, Google is a brutal thing. But he was the first person I remember specifically being a bully to me. Calling me ugly because of a very small birthmark I had on my upper left cheek.

He made specific comments about what I always thought was a "beauty mark" (as my momma so lovingly referred to it, as momma's should), and said things like, "Ewww look at that HUGE pimple on your cheek!" and everyone around him would point and laugh. He told me how ugly I was because of it.

It horrified me.

I was a bit on the shyer side as a kid. So being called out for something that required attention being brought to me? Was my version of elementary hell.

Do you know that I begged and pleaded with my mom to get it removed? And you know what? I did have it removed. Of course, you can still see it (if you look), but to me, it was the only option.

Kids can be cruel.

In middle school, it was the bus. The freakin' bus. Middle school years on the bus were awful. God-awful. I was friends with a girl who had a severe eating disorder. So, obviously, she was very, very thin. I was very, very normal. An older 8th grader, who was very overweight, and probably very insecure made it her life goal to make us feel awful about ourselves. For months and months she would taunt us, saying lots of comments about how fat I was (I wasn't fat, actually) and how skinny my friend was. Saying that I should loan her some of my "fat" so she wouldn't be so skinny anymore.

Honest to goodness. Just plain cruelty. One day, I remember that she crushed up cheez-it's onto the seat ledge and then BLEW them into our hair.

Fury. Rage. But yet I kept my cool (somehow), and it went as far as having the principal have to ride our bus, a video camera installed, and some of those bully-kids getting removed from bus privileges. It got that bad.

From what I can remember, all of my siblings dealt with bullying to some degree. Nothing was wrong with us by the worlds standards. Just some random butthead's standards at the time, who, probably? Was dealing with some sort of big-issue at home and brought out their best mean-kid-bully-jerk act at school.

But as a kid? As a teen, even? It's hard to see past that. It's hard to realize that, when in the face of being humiliated, it's really their problems showing through. Glaring, really. With a big, bold, light--and a neon sign over their head. Things like, "I hate myself", "I'm stupid", or maybe? Something you have or exude in your personality hits them in a spot that makes them jealous. Or taps on their insecurities.

Heck, it's hard as an adult to see past that when you're being bullied. Trust me on this, adult bullies exist. Especially in this world of blogging. We're not quite as bold as we were as kids. We bully behind computer screens.

The truth of the matter is this. We've probably all been bullied at one time or another. As a kid? It hurts. A lot. It does. As an adult? It hurts. But maybe a little less. Why? The turning point for me was when I chose not to internalize those words. Not to believe them. Not to let them soak in or penetrate my soul. Instead, I remember and hold onto the things I know are true of myself. Things my family and close friends can assure of me of. Can back me up on. Who I really am.

My sweet friend sent me this in an email yesterday...and it went along with this post, so I figured I'd share.

So. yea. You're gonna survive. We're gonna survive.

Because we're awesome like that.


  1. I had a beauty mark on my left cheek too. I hated it because people pointed it out ALL the freakin' time. Finally, one summer, my mom took me to get it removed. I had stitches in my cheek and I looked like I had whiskers. I was made fun of even more. :( Kids can be awful. You can see where it was and it even kind of came back. It doesn't bother me anymore. :)

    Good post and such a nice reminder!

    Happy Spring!

  2. Boo to sucky butthead kids. I still remember the name and face of my biggest tormentor. My cross to bear was my hair. It was huge. Everyone else had long, straight hair. Mine was curly. And poofy.

    I hate bullies.

    Ps. I bet your beauty mark was gorgeous. I always wanted a cute one on my face.

  3. What a great post!! I'm sure we can all relate to what you've shared!

  4. This post came at the right time for me...Thanks...I am being bullied right now by adults and I break down every day. But, it's true. As long as I know what is true and who I am and stop internalizing these awful remarks, I will survive...

    You don't know how good this post made me feel today! Thanks.

  5. Oh Man was I made fun of as a kid... Not just by a bully or two, but by e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. The effects definitely still linger. I always second (third, fourth) guess everything I say. I always think people are judging me or talking about me. It's actually caused really bad anxiety throughout my whole life. But, that's another story for another time... Or maybe a post, you've inspired/encouraged me to tell my story... Thanks for sharing yours! :)

  6. Love that print! Ugh totally feel you on the torture of being bullied and harassed in school. My biggest concern now, is how to protect my little one. I know I can't keep her in a bubble, but I just don't want her to have to deal with that.

  7. Good post! It sucks how much kids get bullied and that kids are feeling so bad about themselves that they need to lash out at others. Now we know that oftentimes, it's because the bullies feel bad about themselves too. (Like the overweight girl making fun of you and your friend about your weights) As adults, we can see that that girl was probably hurting just as much as she was hurting you, but as kids, we don't get any of that. It's harder being a kid than we remember sometimes.

  8. It's crazy just how prominent a bully's face and name can stay in your memory. I really like that Somee Card :)

  9. I adore this post.
    My brother was the target of bullies. They called him names, usually that he was fat (even though he wasn't). They would kick him to the ground. The worst part? He couldn't physically defend himself, because they were girls. BIG girls. It sounds funny to say he got beat up by girls, but at the time it was awful. The teachers wouldn't do anything. And this was in a Christian school. Bullying happens everywhere. It still hurts my heart for him. He's been carrying around a lot of baggage since then.
    I bet you were gorgeous with that beauty mark. :)

  10. I wouldn't say that I was bullied per say, but I had my own experiences with pretty severe insecurity...I was 5'10" by fourth grade! It was awful! I remember HATING that I'd always be assigned to be the "boy" part when we learned ballroom dancing.

  11. Great post Kate! Something many of us can relate to. It's sad how much joy we let those kids rob us of. Thankful for a better perspective on it now at an older age. And you are totally awesome!

  12. I was bullied some, though not a lot, and I vividly remember it. I'm a successful lawyer now, but a couple of years ago I had a case against an ex-bully and I was a WRECK. I'm certain he didn't remember the bullying and I didn't bring it up. It's crazy I'm in my 30's and still beign affected by things that happened as a child!

    Thanks for this post and for sharing the awesome quote! ha ha ha, love it!

  13. Bullying is something I feel really passionate about--especially now that kids are taking their own lives because they are being bullied so cruelly.

    I was bullied too and ended up making a lot of stupid mistakes.

    When is it going to end?

    Have you seen the new Bully trailer? Powerful stuff.

  14. Great post! I agree that we've all been bullied a time or two.

    It's so cruel and hurtful and painful and...

    I can't imagine seeing it as a Mother. I'm sure it will hurt my heart tremendously. Let's just hope it doesn't happen. Reality is, it likely will. :(

  15. This is a really great post name twin! It is sad that these experiences are something we all seem to have to deal with at some time and sadder still that it still happens in this adult life.

  16. I swear you could have stolen this from my drafts folder! I swear sometimes I think Internet bullying is worse than face to face bullying. It's just so...cowardly. Hate it!

  17. I was a chubby little kid and I remember (and will forever) riding my bike in the driveway of the middle school across from our house and a boy sitting on the curb saying "Oh look, there goes the bus!"


    I was crushed and rode back home crying. I just hope and pray my children are never that mean to anyone. I don't think they will because of the way they are being raised but you just never know what they hear from other kids, etc.

    And of course I also hope and pray that no one is that mean to them. It's just awful the way kids treat each other sometimes...

  18. You know full well that I can really relate to this post. But I have been bullied my whole life too, mainly because of my thin-ness. It all comes from self-consciousness, I'm sure. In my current being-bullied situation, I KNOW this to be true.

  19. Great, great post. I actually have a very similar one in my drafts. What I wish I could tell every kid, is that bullying is GOING to happen. In a perfect world, it will stop. But it won't. Ever. What I wish they could all know is that it does get better. And one day they'll grow up and look back and realize that they are completely okay. And they are actually completely perfect just how they are.

  20. 1. I saw the comment on the one post. Full of hateration. Unfortunately, as your blog grows, so does the the number of haters. It sucks. Big time. I mean, who has time to sit around and do that? People who comment on popular blogs, news sites (I don't understand why there are comments on news articles anyway), and YouTube.

    What is creepy is that the person who posted that comment? She's probably insanely jealous of you and waited for you to crack so she could jump in with her knife and try to hurt you.

    2. When Adam and I got married, we had a small, inexpensive, thrown together wedding. We were more focused on our marriage and Disney honeymoon to go all out for our wedding. And it worked for us. But some people on message boards decided that our wedding should be made fun on in every possible cruel way they could think of. I didn't read the thread, but I heard some of the stuff second hand. Truly awful. Who sits around trashing people's weddings?

    3. I don't know if I was bullied in school? Maybe I was. I was called "ironing board chest" and "horse nose." I remember in home ec., one of the girls going behind my back and getting the teacher to switch me to another group because she didn't want me her the group even though it was mostly my friends.

    This is nothing like what you encountered, though. Bullying is serious business and no one tells you that it never ends. It goes on and on and on. And it's sad.

  21. As others have said, very good post. I was bullied a bit as most people are, and I'm ashamed to say that I remember one specific incident when I was the bully. So not proud of it. But you know what they say is right. At the time I was in a really horrible place away from family and just generally in a bad spot. Doesn't excuse it, and thankfully it only lasted less than a week. The "good" news? I try to keep that in my brain. Every time I'm feeling crappy and find myself tempted to lash out I remember where that can lead. I remind myself to be the bigger person.

    the interwebs are the worst for the adult bullying I think. At the end of the day you can only do what's best for you adn your family and to heck with the rest of them.

  22. What a great post. So glad I caught it just now! My sister suffered from bullying (terribly) in middle school and I will never forget the damaging ramifications.

    I am sure you have seen this floating around, but your post made me think of the doc. coming out on 3/30 called "Bully." If you don't know what I'm talking about you can watch it here:

    PS: Also LOVE the E-Card. I am def. going to steal it;o) Hilarious!

  23. Love this, Katie!! Not the bullying part, that's just plain crappy, but the last part was pure awesomeness!

  24. Thanks for posting! Haters will always be there, won't they? We were born with too much awesomeness:)