Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Normal"

What's normal? Is there such thing as a normal 16 year old or a normal family? How about having a normal house or a normal dinner? Isn't that kind of stuff all unique? But can everything be unique?

I started thinking about this because I'm watching a show called "Intervention". For those of you unfamiliar, it's about a person who has an addiction, usually drugs or alcohol that effects their friends and family. The particular one I'm watching is about a 21 year old girl who has been doing heroin for 5 years and lives on the streets. If you saw her, maybe you'd think she was weird or something, but you'd have no idea she was shooting coke or heroin in the bathroom. That's just like seeing a family out to eat and you'd have no idea the dad beats his wife or his wife is a hoarder. I mean those are extremes, but I still ask if my family is "normal". Is it normal that my dad's a pastor and both my brother and I are engineers? Is it normal that my parents don't have a flat screen TV or a car newer than 5-10 years old? Not because they don't have money, but because they're comfortable. Is it normal that we moved so much? Probably not, but we're not completely weird.

It's weird to think about what's normal or unique. Does it get you anywhere having a title of normal/unique anyways? Probably not, but it's interesting.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Bullied Berea: Part 2

I didn't end the last post very well. I've had several people ask me how I got through that part of my life or what would have helped. I want to say that my childhood made me who I am today, the good and the bad. It made me self conscious because I always felt like I was being judged, and I still do to this day. It made me stronger and more able to get through road blocks in my life. It helped me see into the future rather than dwell on the current hard time and know that I would get through. I am still learning that you SHOULD be nice to everyone, but NOT everyone will be a good friend.

I think the biggest disappointment of being bullied as a kid was the lack of responsibility from teachers. When I would tell a teacher what was going on they gave me the impression to "toughen up". Or they would ignore me for "tattling". Most of the bullying went on at recess and I feel like recess was a break for teachers to sit there and relax and not pay attention to what was going on. I can't believe the teachers were completely ignorant as to seeing me being bullied. As an adult I can see in a group of kids who's the leader and who is picked on. The least the teachers could have talked to the parents at parent teacher conferences about their kid showing bully like qualities. Granted some parents wouldn't care.
I think talking about it might have been therapeutic. I mean talking to someone outside of my family. That I could have seen it wasn't my fault or give me confidence.
I guess my biggest piece of mind would have come from the bullies feeling how I felt or getting in trouble.

So how did I get through it, you ask? My family, in one sense. Every time I had thoughts of hurting myself or others, I thought how disappoint my parents would be and how much they'd truly miss me. My brother was always perfect at everything in my eyes, and I didn't want to look bad compared to him.
My faith also helped me. As a kid it was hard realizing why I was going to Sunday School every Sunday, but I thank my parents for that. It's my dads career to know about the bible and God, so I came to understand religion very well. God was more or less an imaginary friend, in different respects. I don't know how many times I heard the words "God loves you". As a bullied kid, it was nice to hear anyone LOVED me, whether I would have admitted it back then or not. Love is a powerful word.
Deep down I knew I was better than those people that hurt me. I always thought; what comes around goes around. Some day I'd have a chance to prove myself.
Of course, I had different friends along the way that shared the same feelings as myself, or helped me get through, but not all the time.

So I hope this answers questions. :)

Hebrews 13:5- "Never will I leave you nor forsake you"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bullied Berea

If I wasn't going to an awesome college to get what I think is an awesome degree to have an awesome career, I would highly reconsider my future. I would spend time being an advocate for bullied kids. If I could save one kid from the torment I went through, I would in a heartbeat.
I am very passionate about the topic of bullied kids.....because I've been there. I've never talked about it in much detail because part of me believed it was all my fault and I've tried blocking the memories, but some things don't fade. Here's my story:

Until high school, I was the ugly duckling, the runt, the scapegoat. It started in kindergarten, from what I remember. I was 5-6 years old. I lived in a rural Oklahoma town of less than 1,500 people and 1 sq mile. I wasn't born there, so I was the new girl, a new face, competition. I was judged from the beginning by my 5 and 6 year old classmates.

The Spice Girls came out with their hit song "Wannabe" in 1996, my kindergarten year. My classmates idolized them. They began to pretend they were the Spice girls, the 5 popular girls that is. I wanted to be cool and fit in and be friends with these girls that were bratty little 5 year olds. So, I wanted to be a Spice Girl, but there was no one left to be. In consequence, they thought it would be a great idea for me to be their maid. They would pretend I was a sink, and spit on me and make me carry their things. They would call me the ugly one because I was the maid and couldn't be as pretty as them. I wouldn't get to play with them 'cause they said the maid couldn't do that. I would push them on the marry-go-round and be the last to go down the slide. Ya, stupid childish things, but at that point in my life, those were the important things. It continued through second grade and I somewhat got used to the agony. I would still cry most nights..
For the third grade, my dad took a job in Kansas. Another rural town, a step up from Oklahoma in the sense the population was 2,500 and a little over 3 sq. miles. I was excited to start new. New people that didn't know of my past being bullied or knew I was an easy target. It didn't take too long for them to catch on. It was mostly them making fun of my clothes or who I talked to. I had a little bit better of a reputation because my brother was loved by all and my mom worked in the school district. I gained a couple close friends that didn't make fun of me, but I was still vulnerable and got harassed. I remember multiple occasions wanting to move, crying after school, hating my classmates SO much. It was simple things like not getting invited to birthday parties or getting Christmas presents or sitting by certain people at lunch. Small things, but as a kid those are important in daily life. I would lie if I said I never wanted to kill one of them or kill myself so they wouldn't have to deal with me like I was a huge pain in their life. We slowly grew up and I could stand up for myself or talk back with the same nastiness they used on me. I realized those kids weren't my real friends but I always worried about what they thought of me. I became self conscious.

My freshman year of high school my dad took a job in Wisconsin. It tore me apart to know I'd have to start the process all over and leave some people that had really helped me grow up and stay strong. Sheboygan Falls, WI was about 7,000 people and right next to the much bigger town of Sheboygan. My freshman year was rough because I became friends with not the best crowd. The school was bigger and I had already missed half a year of sports so I didn't meet people through sports teams. The best thing was the kids going to high school there had come from a few different middle schools so even they didn't all know each other. I went through some road bumps of finding my friends and fitting in, but it all came together. Girls being girls, I still wasn't invited to all the fun sleepovers or shopping trips, but I had a closer group of friends I could do stuff with. I was happier. High school ended and I couldn't have been happier. I'd done a lot of growing. I had a great background of friends. Some people I'd never have to see again. I left with a boyfriend. I was seen as a young woman, not an ugly runt. No one knew my brother and still liked me for me. And I still am thankful for my best friend from high school, she gets me through a lot.

Point of the story: I was bullied and understand what the kids that have killed themselves went through. I HATE that the teachers stood around as if nothing was wrong. The kids that bully are the popular kids who never get in trouble. I hated school for the reason of knowing that each day would bring new criticism. I'm partly mad at my parents for seeing my struggle and not knowing what to do.

Moving might have been the best thing emotionally for me.