The Writings on the Bathroom Wall


It seems  like “bullying” is in the news again.  Every time you turn around there is yet another story about a young person who has been bullied.  Unfortunately many to the point where they can no longer stand it and take their own lives.  I watched Anderson Cooper (LOVE that man!!! And his giggle—how cute!) and he had some stories on about bullying and it made me think back to about 35 years ago…..

I was not always the self assured and suave person that I am today.   (If you really know me you know that that last statement is so untrue!!!)   Seriously—-I have always been a little bit hard on myself and as a teenager that was no exception.   I was skinny, had stringy long hair and horrible buck teeth and braces.  Thank goodness acne passed me by!   But regardless of my awkward outside appearance I still managed to do well and have friends!  That is a God thing.  Of course I am much harder on myself than anyone else but that is how I viewed myself back then.

Despite my own misgivings about my abilities and my identity I was always the one who stood up for the underdog.  Yep, that kid that the others made fun of—I was right there defending them.   That kid that did not fit in—was my friend.  I think it was partially because of the way my parents raised me but I also think I kind of identified with them at some level.  I had friends and lots of them —but I was in several different friendship groups which made it difficult at times to figure out where I really fit in.

But I digress— back to the bullying.  When I was around 16 I really, really, really liked this guy.  I mean really, really, really liked him.  He was the object of many young girls’ affection because he was

1. cute and

2. very nice and

3. had his own car.

Win win win!   I managed to get him to go to a formal with me and I was just over the moon.  We had a nice night and even though we never really “dated” it was quite an accomplishment for little ole me!   And evidently to some others.   I started getting phone calls where they would hang up.  I had no clue why.  And then it become pretty clear to me that someone out there did not like me.  How could that be?

One day I was at school and someone said I needed to go check out the bathroom.   Now my mom will tell you that that was one place I just avoided during the school day.   I would go all day without a visit there–not sure why but I just liked to do my business at home I guess.   But on this day I went in and much to my dismay there written in RED marker on the wall (I can still see it today!) was Beth Brown is a B****!   I will shield your tender eyes.   I was shocked.  I am pretty sure I cried.   Why me?   What did I ever do to deserve being written about on the walls?  I am pretty sure there was even an assembly to address this latest infraction and vandalism.  I have vague memories of that because I think I blocked it from my mind but hey—-it was traumatic.   I mean this was 35 years ago and things were a lot calmer in New Concord, Ohio than they probably are today.

Suffice it to say I had some bad days after that.  Thinking I had someone who hated me out there in high schoolville was hard.  Then one day I found a note slipped into my locker.  Typed in red ink (I guess so it could not be traced…too bad we didn’t have a CSI unit at John Glenn High School) and stuck in my locker.  It was an apology.  From an unknown person.  Apologizing for being mean to me and upsetting me.  Apologizing for writing about me on the bathroom wall.  Do I know who wrote it?  I have my suspicions though I never asked the person point blank.  I think she felt pretty horrible about how far it had gone and yes—it was all over that cute, nice boy with a car.  Did I get hit or punched or beaten up?  Nope but I sure felt like it.  I think bullying has always been around and will most likely stick around but if just one person stands up for someone else maybe it will turn the tide.

And yes….I still have that note tucked away in a memory box at  home.  It is part of my history.  But I am on the other side of that.   If you want a great place to look for info and support about bullying check out StopBullying.gov here.

Anyone else out there have a story to share?  I am a good listener!

Advertisements

Comments

  1. wow.. thanks for sharing…. How amazing was it that you received the appology….and sad too

    • Thanks Hilary! You know that in today’s world that incident is really rather insignificant but as a 16 year old very naive teen it was really hard to understand. I think we just don’t know how our actions can affect others. Hope you have a beachie day!!! 🙂

  2. So right, Beth Ann, there have always been bulies, and they are so confused about who they are…. That when they see someone who has/is something that they would like to have/be, but don’t really feel worthy (or are being deprived) of having, be it physical, material, tangilble or intangible, they take action in a vindictive fashion. If it wasn’t for the damage that they cause to the lives of other people, personally, and by extension, they would be the ones deserving of pity. Unfortunately, many, many young people today are much more intense and frankly, creative about their tactics, and as we have all said before.. I wouldn’t want to be growing up in this world today. That’s why we call them the good old days, I guess.

  3. You would not be surprised I imagine that every time I hear something about someone being bullied, I think of you. I was never bullied I guess because no one envied what I had or was.

  4. That’s something the girl apologized to you–even though it was anonymously.
    My husband was bullied all through school–you can read about his experience if you’d like: http://zemeks.blogspot.com/2010/10/fat-stutterer-writers-workshop.html

    • I know—I think she felt pretty terrible. So I accepted her apology. All over a boy!!! Sorry your husband had to suffer through all that—–it is not a fun thing, that is for sure!

  5. Christine Grote says:

    Important topic. Good for you for standing up against bullies. We all need to. I am amazed at how many people, in particular parents, look the other way.

  6. I never heard this story before! Wow, that was pretty traumatic! Comparable to my heartaches over the radio interview I did my senior year… which was misunderstood and misappropriated….. sigh. Kids are so mean to each other sometimes!

    • Really?? You never knew that??? It was pretty traumatic for a teenager. I imagine you were an old married woman by then and that is why you didn’ t know. Mother and Daddy were very supportive of me and wanted to just make things better!!! I vaguely remember the radio interview….kids are mean. Always were and most likely always will be!

I love your comments--each one makes me smile and makes a difference for Comments for a Cause! Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: