But anyway, that work was a bit of an anomaly, so our schedule should hopefully not be too jam-packed going forward. I mean, I really hope not, because it's the holidays!
Other than that, I guess I don't have a whole lot to talk about. I've been thinking about doing a post...well, I mean, the subject of bullying has been on my mind lately, so I've been thinking of doing a post about that, because I have some experience in that arena. And it's even worse than you think, because I was the bully! Of course I like to think it wasn't too serious, but you never know how things are going to effect people. I can say definitively that I never sent anybody to the hospital.
It was in fourth or fifth grade. I wasn't really into introspection back then, so I couldn't tell you now why I did it. I think mostly it was just a power trip. Mom and Dad used to fight a lot, so maybe I was under some stress from that and I wanted to let off steam, but I still think it was mostly just the power trip. Power is addicting, even if you haven't felt powerless for a long period of time (perhaps especially then).
I never hit anybody, except maybe once. I'm not confident enough in my athletic abilities to say that I managed to land a punch, but I did take a swing at a kid once. He was being mean to Athena and I snapped. Maybe that's what started it, or maybe I was already putting boys in headlocks before then. That's what it was mostly--just finding a boy and putting him in a headlock to prove that I could. And I got away with it most of the time, too, probably because the school faculty couldn't tell us apart so they didn't know who to discipline. And it was only me doing it, so they couldn't get us both.
I can't say for sure what criteria I had for selecting my victims. The kid I was worst to was my friend's cousin, so I think familiarity had something to do with it. There were three other kids I remember as victims. One was a little overweight and one had kind of a funny voice, but that wasn't my reason for picking them. I think I picked them because they looked like easy targets. I have this theory that bullies have a kind of sixth sense for people who lack confidence for whatever reason, and they choose them because if you can't beat someone, how does that make you feel powerful?
Then there was the Chinese kid. I don't remember bullying him so much as antagonizing him... I'm not sure if there's a difference, but I just don't think it was the same kind of thing with him. We didn't get along. We were all "smart kids," and maybe we felt threatened by each other. And of course, he would have felt threatened by me because he would have heard I was violent (he transferred in in the middle of the year, I think). There was one time in PE when we were running laps, and either I just wanted to get it over with or I decided it was a competition and I wanted to beat him. He was ahead of me and I started running super fast to pass him. He saw me coming and used his martial arts skills to kick me in the chest. So based on that memory, I probably didn't pick on him the same way I did the other kids, because I don't remember any more fighting back than that.
But it wasn't because he was Chinese that I didn't like him. It was because this kid that we didn't like was Chinese that we didn't like China. We got over it, though. I think we were on friendly terms by the time we moved on to middle school, or at least we weren't as hostile.
I stopped picking on boys either before or during sixth grade, and it wasn't any amount of lecturing that got me to do it. I mean, you can bet our friend's mom was constantly calling our parents to get them to make me stop bullying her nephew, and our parents would lecture me every time: There's no excuse for violence. That did not work.
What did work is the little sister of that one kid I actually took a swing at. I don't even remember why I cared; I think I thought we were friends, or I wanted to be friends or something. But one day I found out she was scared of me because of what I did to her brother, and I guess at that point I was ready to face the truth, because it really hit me then. I can imagine that, if I had been in a different frame of mind, I would have been like, "Well, that's your problem!" But this time, it hit me that I'd actually been hurting people--I think that was part of it, was that I didn't think headlocks were hurting anybody. It was all just a game. And now I knew it wasn't just a game, and I realized wow, that's not cool. So I stopped picking on people, and by the end of sixth grade, we were actually pretty popular. We invented Tiny Toons Tag and Animaniacs Tag and welcomed anyone who wanted to play. Thinking back, I'm kind of surprised so many kids did.
And there you have it. It's not something I'm proud of, but it was a learning experience, I think.
Today I'm thankful for getting cookies from the Relief Society, managing to finish our work yesterday (mostly), Page being back in her cat bed after we had to clean it out, getting good use out of our snuggly Chip and Dale blankets, and repentance.