I grew up in the shadow of New York City, on Long Island, where in the late seventies and early eighties, front doors were not locked all day long. Even on the weekends when swimming went from dawn to dusk.
Although it was a safer era, bullying was still prevalent.
Whether it was due to my religion or that I wore glasses my whole life, or puberty: and the weight came before the height and pimples became an everyday battle. Bullying was around.
Bullying is a war on the human soul and it happens everyday, around the world. I myself, was at the center of many bullying attacks all through my early high school career. Whether it was by an individual or a group of my peers, it hurt like Hell every time. I sometimes reflect back on the tumultuous times and wonder how I stayed the path and didn’t go Postal or commit suicide. Both of those thoughts definitely were in my conscious stream of thought. I still remember being chased down the block by a couple of school bullies, only to ride my bike as fast as I could, feeling the winds of heaven guide me with my escape. School for me may not have been as it is for the kids these days due to social media. We didn’t grow up with cell phones or social media. That didn’t make the bullying any less effective.
I can still recount one day in the seventh grade trying to leave gym class and not wanting to take a shower because I was shy of my excess weight. I started to leave the locker room and a group of five surrounded me at my locker as I was changing. I did my best to ignore them, and that almost did the trick. Until I opened up my mouth and cursed them as I was getting ready to leave. They came at me from all angles, and I ran and hid in the corner of the gym praying for them not to find me. I didn’t want to be seen, so I slipped out the back of the locker room, to the winter outside without my jacket, gloves or hat and walked home in the snow, sweaty, scarred, and freezing.
Another time when I was trying to involve myself in a band, playing the drums. One of the school’s worst bullies, for no apparent reason, chose me as his victim for the next few weeks. He liked to look at me straight in the eyes and then kick me with his black combat steel-toe boots. It hurt like Hell and left bruises for weeks. For a few days he would turn around in band class while the teacher wasn’t looking and kick me in the shins. I remember wanting to take my drum sticks forcibly in my hands and shove them into his eyes.
Events like these leave scars on your shins and your soul for a lifetime. I truly believe that events like these for me made me a stronger person and a better friend especially to those people like me, that weren’t in the popular crowd. Whether it was the jocks, academic team, key club, choir, chess club, heavy metal or the Goth kids, we are all still children at heart.
Bullying today has been proven to be more effective due to the constant connection to social media, and the endorphins that are released like a drug in your system. Research on this matter has just began and it is unsettling in its preliminary findings.
I chose to write this book to illustrate part of my life as a young boy being bullied. I truly believe that without the strength and love of my parents, my friends, and Mrs. Culligan, I might not have survived.
Although the story revolves around bullying, I chose to enwind the plot around a year in my life and one of the best friendships I ever had with my old friend, Mrs. Culligan.
Bullying is a Global Epidemic that will not be resolved anytime soon. I hope that through reading my children’s story, it will empower the youth to fight back. Stand up!
Stand up against bullying is my theme for the youth. Tell someone that bullying is going on, don’t be silent or ashamed. Trust me I have lived through it and have come out a stronger man for it.