Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey Bully!

Oh I don't think I could ever forget what I looked like in middle school. I was a fairly breathtaking figure with eye brows that could rival any Russian man's, hair that's geometric shape was taken from the Egyptian pyramids and clothes that hung away from my lank little frame as if it rejecting any association with my body. I was a vision of awkwardness.

I took this little saunter down the rather-not- remember lane during a certain conversation in math class. My friend was discussing the latest episode of the Tyra Show (the stimulator of all intellectual conversations) which concerned the hazing between popular and unpopular girls at high school. I asked her "So were you a bully when you were younger?" Her affirmative response triggered me to questioned a variety of people about their browbeating past. Their responses certainly surprised me for they lied at extreme ends of the spectrum. It seemed like it was either bully or be bullied. Now I'm not referring to the take your lunch money type of bullying but moreover the let's make fun of your magic school bus sweatshirt type of bullying. I wondered what triggered these reformed aggressors. Traits like popularity, wealth and domineering physique are the commonly accepted notions . Obviously these stereotypes are superficial but they do hold clout in certain analysis since their is a certain confidence that is associated with these traits and a certain confidence is needed for bullying. But what exactly makes someone a bully? As someone who was on the other side of the predator-prey relationship I have made some of my own theories:

1. It's genetic: Is it just me or does popularity/bully-esquenss run in the family? As someone who has an older sister who went to the same exact schools as I did it seems as if the younger sibling filled the place of their older predecessor. It's as if popularity is some sex lined gene that is passed on through a lineage line. Well at least popularity is a better trait to pass on then hemophilia, just ask Queen Victoria's kids.
2. They've got the goods: You know who 'm talking about. It was those kids that got exactly what you wanted. Maybe it was that barbie dream car that you desperately wanted (or still want if you're like me) that they had. Or maybe it was the trampoline that they got as an early birthday present. But it certainly seemed like some kids had everything you and everyone else wanted. Maybe all those material acquisitions made them have a sense of entitlement, a right to rule so to speak.
3. They just watched too much Angelica Pickles as a kid: if someone was a bully in 7th grade doesn't mean they are Hitler's right hand man. Because everyone's mean sometimes. Maybe they were just confused or maybe it was for laughs. In 8th grade someone wrote in my yearbook "Start being mean, it's much more fun that way." Well one thing is for sure, being called hairy four eyes certainly wasn't.

I guess it's pretty irrelevant whether you were the oppressor or the oppressi in the day's of finger paint and first junior high dances. Since it doesn't so much represent the person you are as the person you've become. But even though their isn't a line separating those who bullied and those who were bullied I still think you can see the stripe in people's character. Because when someone is bullied it's not just the magenta magic school bus sweatshirt that is being made fun of it's the most weakest part of them that is being exploited. Targeting someone on their looks, or their possessions, or simply their personality is attacking their most vulnerable side because it is something that is specific to them, something that makes them an individual, something they are helpless to change. Even though being bullied wasn't one of my most shining moments I think it has been solidified as an integral bone in my body. Being bullied makes you more sensitive, more insightful and more perceptive to other people's weaknesses. When we're in the boardroom there isn't going to be a scarlet letter attached to the former bullies since it doesn't represent who they are now. But I like to think that part of us will be able to tell who was bullied, that something in their antibodies will trigger a self recognition in their fellow underdogs. If not, a bad reaction to magenta sweatshirts and frizzy hair will certainly tip us off.

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