Thursday, May 22, 2014

That Missing Chapter in Parenting Books...AKA Bullying Sucks

When you become a parent, there are several things you can prepare for. Hell, there is an entire section in the book store dedicated to books on how to parent. However, there are several things that books cannot prepare you for.

My friend posted a photo of a text from her daughter the other day. Her daughter is being bullied. I hate it. It's like being a kid isn't hard enough, then you have to add this. The whole situation caused me to pause and reflect. I wish I could honestly say bullying ends in school, but let's be honest, it doesn't.

I was a gawky child. Seriously. I was a size zero and 5'9" when I was in junior high. I also had (and let's be honest, still have) a very prominent nose and a bird like body. I was the epitome of awkward preteen. I also thought shiny shirts were totally cool, but it was the 90's, so I feel like I should get a pass for that.

I grew into myself throughout high school and gained more confidence. I definitely attribute a lot of that to band and the retreat I went on my senior year. But in the end, at least in my mind, I was still that gawky awkward preteen. And let's be honest, that nose of mine was not exactly getting smaller. In fact, it is my strong belief that Polish noses get larger with age.

Of course throughout the years comments were made. I looked like a stick. I must not eat. I had to have an eating disorder. You know, awesome things like that. My weight was not the only thing, remember that awesome Polish nose of mine? It was always brought up. You know, like I didn't know I had a big nose.

The thing with bullies though is that you have to remember they pick on people because they are hurting inside. They are saying these things to you to make themselves feel better. At some point in your life you have to realize this and remember it when you are in the crappiest of situations. I know it is easier said than done, trust me, at 31 I still have my moments. But what it comes down to is the idea that you cannot let their words, their pain, have power over you.

Trust me, I understand that advice is more for the older crew here and not so much for the preteens. But we as adults need to remember this so we can help our children through these times. We need to be the example. We need to not bully each other. We need to be strong. We need to stand up for them.

So remember my Polish nose? Well, Jill busted that a while back and I had to have it repaired. When I was in my consultation to have my septum undeviated, my ENT offered to unPolish (his words) my nose. I said sure. I mean, why not? Maybe then I won't be called things like "big nose" and such. When push came to shove, the insurance basically laughed and said, "no" and Lord knows I was not going to shell out 3K on this. So Polish it stayed, and I'm glad it did. What kind of example would that be for Jill or Aaron? My nose isn't awful, it's part of who I am. It's part of where I come from. I have to accept myself.

We face bullies every day. The bully may be the voice inside our head or some a-hole at school/work/playground/PTO, but we have to rise above. We have to stay strong. We have to put our big Polish nose forward and be proud of who we are.

Finally, we have to think of the bully. You do not know what is going on in their life. You do not know what their home is like. Trust me, I am not saying bullying is okay, but we do have to remember it is a cry for themselves. Something in their life is making them act this way. Be compassionate, but don't take any crap.

And not to sound like a PSA, but if you see bullying or know that bullying is happening, do something to stop it. Not saying or doing anything is just as bad.

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