I remember now, a shame that lingers in the back of my mind. Something I have tried desperately to ignore and overcome but the feelings are still there and they never go away completely. It happened when my parents uprooted the family and moved to a new town when I was in the third grade. The town was filled with rich kids and although my family wasn’t poor, we weren’t rich.
For a four year period I was bullied at school nearly every day, maybe partially because I wasn’t well to do and partially because I was pretty smart. I started out with the best grades in school, handwriting like calligraphy and all the desire in the world to get A+’s forever. I won every math contest, every spelling bee, anything academic. I loved school. This didn’t go over too well in the new town with the new kids. I became for lack of a better word, the target. Many; and I mean fifty or so, other children through those years decided to bully me. I pleaded so often not to be hurt, but reason incensed them.
Full nelsons were the main method of terrorization. The act didn’t leave marks but I felt my neck about to break hundreds of times. I gave away lunch money and belongings the bullies decided were theirs nearly every day I went to school. I had my head put down in manure maybe a dozen times while in the headlock of death. I was tickled often while in the full nelson where moving seemed like it might kill me, but my uncontrolled laughter wasn’t funny to me as I always felt I would pass out or die. One day in art class the instructor left for a few minutes and one of the gang decided to start throwing clay at my head. He urged the other students to pitch in and they all began throwing whatever they could; clay, pencils, books, etc… Even my “friends” felt they needed to join the fray. That experience left a deep impression; the howling giggles of boys and girls making me endure real physical and psychic pain.
I couldn’t bring myself to lift a fist or fight back, (I will never physically hurt another person, something my parents taught me that I can’t shake), but I couldn’t bring myself to tell my family. I felt there was something wrong with me and I was ashamed. I started skipping school quite often to avoid that scary place where I felt I might die any day. I lost my top grades and my handwriting lost any semblance of a steady hand, (I used to marvel at my previous writing, it’s like a different person existed in my body).
My family finally moved again and the nightmare was over. A new school was heaven to me. I treaded very lightly around the other students at this new place. I learned to be more humble so I could get along with people. The healing began. My life began again, but I’ll always react badly to bullies in any walk of life.
I have noticed recently there is something out there in this world that resembles the bullies I had to endure as a child. I really mean this because I recognize their kind so well, they have brought all my childhood nightmares to mind again. It’s called the Republican “Tea” Party. They won’t listen to reason and they’ll bludgeon anyone who disagrees with them by spewing idiotic hateful rhetoric and lies. They’ve got the money to win the Presidential and Senatorial elections too because of the worst law ever passed in history; Citizens United. Watch out America, the Republican “T’s” are here for your lunch money and belongings, they believe it’s theirs. Goodbye social security, Medicare, Medicaid and affordable health care. The middle class might become a memory as the wealthy take everything they can. I hope America makes the right choices this election cycle because once the Tea Party wins all three branches of government we cannot move to a new school to end the horror show that starts day one. This might really happen, god help us.