Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bullying 101

Bullying sucks. Here is why it should stop:
My disclaimer: I realize that I am naturally a sensitive person. That is who I am. I care deeply about others. This is the way God made me. If I try and 'toughen up', I will not be me. If you don't like seeing me hurt, then stop saying and doing hurtful things to me. Or apologize to me if and when you do. I am not alone. They are many creatively gifted, intensely sensitive people in this world. And we are ready to be heard.

Every time someone does something hurtful to me, it speaks to the Middle School girl who:
1. Was barked at in the halls
2. Had a party to which no one showed up
3. Was beat up after school
4. Was called 'diving board', 'pizza face', 'dog collar'
5. Was fake invited to a dance
More importantly, it speaks to the rape survivor in me, who trusted a person with a sugar-dipped tongue who told me that I was beautiful and amazing...right before he destroyed me and said I needed to walk around with a bag over my head.

These are things that scar a person. FOR LIFE. These are tapes that play over
and over
and over
when I enter a new situation or am trying to fit in with a new group of people.
And, ON SOME LEVEL, I know that I am an amazing woman, because every day I leave my cave of insecurity and rejoin the world and share myself. Because I know there are great things within me.

Not fully confident. Never again fully confident.

Fast forward:

I'm the crazy woman who is fascinated by other cultures. It's simply WHO I AM. I love the smells, the sounds, the tastes, the sights. I fell so in love with Punjab, India. The people. I loved the gurdwara, the whole Sikh faith. And I realize it's not the whole culture that betrayed me, but today, in the light of day, I don't know who to trust.
Last night, I was that stupid, trusting Middle School girl again, standing in front of a group of people in my ridiculous outfit, thinking I fit in. When, in fact, I was simply the brunt of a joke. Imagine if I'd done that to them, invited them to come to a German cultural festival, dressed them up in Lederhosen - telling them, in German that they were going to be doing something to help me with the program (which is what I thought was happening). I don't understand the language enough. I honestly thought I was helping out. I am so hurt. Devastated.

Cathy Before: (disclaimer: none of the people in this picture have done anything to hurt me, nor would they ever.)
I have a Punjabi love story to finish writing. How many of them are actually laughing at me behind my back? Is the whole thing a lie?

I'm sharing this because I deal with bullying every day as a teacher. And I want people to know that it lasts a lifetime. And that I firmly believe we're losing something important in this country. We're losing compassion and respect. Please don't tell me to be less trusting. Because the fact that I trusted at all was nothing short of a miracle. That's all I wanted to say.