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The Bullied and The Bullier

Words. The saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.", but that saying is far from true. In fact, sometimes words can hurt much more then the physical blow, because those wounds heal; wounds from words, from the heartbreaks, betrayal, ridicule, or violations that people can give you through words, sometimes those emotional wounds never heal, and you can't forgive. It's worse when you see the hurt your own words can cause to someone, then it's hard to forgive yourself.

We all have those people. Those people that we're only "friends" with because they're friends of friends. I had an acquaintence like that. In these past years of middle school, I've walked home with the same group of friends, give or take a few. In sixth grade, and through part of seventh, we went home with this boy Zeke. Zeke, had the tendency to just get under my skin. I think it may have been the fact that he was loud, and reminded me of my brother, who, like Zeke, could be quite annoying. But whatever it was, it got under my skin. He was also very sarcastic about making joking insults to everyone. And I was probably the only one that made them back. It irked me that he could get away with these rude comments.

But I started to take it overboard. To be fair, he did sometimes too. He would say things sometimes that cut into me, like that I was an "annoying no life who only has school, but isn't even smart." I would says things back like, "well at least I have good grades and am making a future for myself. And on top of that I can even balance having friends." These statements became less and less joking, and increasingly serious. It vexed me when he made a comment, so I would release my lethal scorn on him as he would on me. Slowly, the friendship we had was withering, and a bitter, degrading foe relationship was forming.

We would just bicker the entire way home, spitting out words as they were venom that could infect the other one if they were foul enough. Some of the insults stung. But what I didn't realize was that my words were battering him just as much, if not more, then his words were battering me.

Zeke and I were in the same class. In seventh grade, we started a participated in a program called power writing. It was a program that enabled us to share our stories, and our deepest feelings safely with those around us. It helped me share a lot of my personal problems, and after you would share them, it almost felt like there was this weight being lifted from your shoulders. Anyways, one day Zeke got up to share a piece. He had shared before, but most of his pieces had been comedy. He cleared his throat and began. He told the story of how his friends sometimes insulted him, and how at first it started as jokes and then progressed into something more vicious. As he was sharing, guilt and regret washed over me. When he described that at times, it got so painful he cried, I teared up. I was speechless. Minutes, before he shared his piece, I thought I was the victim to his bullying. I realized that I was just as guilty. More guilty maybe, because not only had I picked on him; everyone else in the group had too, following my lead, and my insults had been the worst.

I was such a coward. I didn't approach him after class and apologize, to tell him I didn't realize what a bully I had been. A bully, yea me, I had bullied him. Me, after all the anti-bullying work I'd done; I felt like such a hypocrite. I sulked around to the rest of my classes that day. That afternoon I ditched my dance class, and I went home, layed down in my bed, curled up into a ball, and wanted to cry. How could I have been so oblivious to my actions? I layed in my bed the entire evening and didn't come out. I was ashamed of myself, of my actions. I felt so stupid. So cruel; he had never done anything that deserved the disdain I had thrown at him, all he had done was irritate me sometimes. I layed there thinking of myself as a heartless person.

It took me a while to forgive myself. I still look back at what happened now, almost a year after he shared that piece, and still feel regret. But now, I try to stop bullying and conflicts and I tell my friends when they're taking things out of hand. I even break fights up in the hallways. I'm trying to make a difference, trying to show people and trying to show myself I'm a better person then than one that bullied Zeke. And I never did get the proper chance to apologize to Zeke. So if he ever does read this story, although his name has been changed, he'll know it's him, and Zeke, I just want to say, I'm sorry.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Rachel B. said...
Feb. 1 at 10:08 pm:
I love your perspective, its so unusal. Most artciles on bullying are talking about the bullied, not the bully. I've got a big mouth and tend to speak without thinking sometimes too. Anyone can be a bully.
 
Xizzio replied...
Feb. 2 at 9:07 am :
Aw thanks so much that's exactly what I was trying to do
 
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