Yes, strange title for a blog, but I'll get to that.
I've been pondering things to write about on here. My intention when I started blogging was to reach both writers and teens because :-) I write for teens. Makes sense. And I've been thrilled to no end to discover how many teen writers are out there! Awesome. That makes me feel like I'm not boring my readers to death when I write about writing.
Still, can't make that everything that comes out of my mouth (fingertips?) and I want to hit on some other subjects. I believe whole-heartedly in the old saying, "Write what you know." And when I was e-chatting with a blog reader of mine and she brought up the topic of bullies, well that filled my head with all kinds of memories.
When a writer's head is full, you know a story is going to have to come out :).
So...on to the day that Missy the Mountain said she was going to kick my (rear).
I was in eighth grade. I'd never been bullied before. Not true bullying, anyway. Good-natured teasing for sure--can't avoid that when you're the "smart kid" and the "tall kid" and have glasses thick as coke bottles. Actually, it was probably the "tall kid" part that kept me from being really bullied. Even nerdy kids can be intimidating when they're a full head taller than the rest of the class.
One day, a friend (let's call her Cara) and I went into the girl's bathroom. The distinct odor of cigarette smoke tinted the already stale air. A girl stepped out of the stall and saw Cara and me. I knew this girl. We had a class together. She hated me. And her best friend, Missy, made me look like a tiny china doll by comparison.
I grabbed Cara and dragged her out of the bathroom, my heart pounding in my chest, and sweat beading on my forehead.
"I'm telling," Cara said.
What a dilemma. I agreed that the girl needed to be told on. But I did NOT want to be the one--or be associated with the one--who told on her. Telling on her was the equivalent of telling on Missy. Telling on Missy was the equivalent of standing in front of a speeding bus.
I honestly can't remember if I argued with Cara, nodded agreement, or just went numb from fear and let her walk away. Probably the third choice. Either way, she did go to the office and tell on the girl.
And Missy the Mountain got wind of it. She knew I hadn't done the deed, but she knew there was someone else who had, and she knew I knew who that person was. (That is an atrociously written sentence, but you get it, right?) The pressure was on. I was told, through the girl in my class who'd been busted smoking, that if I didn't give up my friend's name Missy was going to...well, you know.
I called my best friend (we'll call her Sandy) and told her what had happened. She had experience with stuff like this. I'd been brought up in a Christian home, and was known as being a "good girl." (This is NOT a bad thing, btw.) Sandy, however, was from the other side of the tracks. How we ended up best friends I'll never know, but having that kind of background would surely come in handy in this situation.
Her response--"It was nice knowing you."
Oh, yeah, thanks.
"But, you've been in fights. You know what to do. Can't you give me some advice?"
She laughed. "Are you kidding me? Missy is HUGE. She's going to squash you. I love you, but you're going to die."
The time from this conversation to the moment I stood facing Missy out on the PE field is still a blur. I'm sure I cried. I'm sure I prayed. I'm sure I didn't eat for days. But I don't remember any of it.
Neither do I remember what I said to Missy that day. It was hot--well, it's Florida, so it's always hot. I know people were around us. I know the only thing I could think was, "Please, if you hit me, hit me in the stomach." You see, I had scoliosis, and under my clothes was a back brace with a thick metal bar running down the front. And no one but my closest friends knew about the brace.
I had hated that brace from the day I'd found out I needed to wear one. But on that day, I thanked God for it. If Missy had hit me in the stomach, she probably would have broken all of her fingers.
She didn't hit me though. I wish I knew why, what I said to stop her. Maybe just knowing I had something to back me up (the brace with the metal bar) was enough to give me confidence. But I doubt that. I'm sure God was there by my side, as He always is at times like that.
I have no idea what to tell you to glean from this--I just know it was a story I felt the need to tell. Bullies are a part of life, but they don't have to be feared. It's the strength in us that they don't see that will ultimately win out.
Maybe, if we let that strength show, bullies will leave us alone in the first place.