Survival. There are many ways that we each try to survive. Most us of don’t recognize that
in many cases survival is a way of life not just something that happens in circumstances surrounding war, famine, or in a desert somewhere. For me, survival is looking back on my childhood and remembering a time when I was bullied.
I can still remember what it was like to walk home each day from school with my younger brother. Each day, we walked home and had to face our bully who knew that we had to
pass by his house in order to get to ours. ‘John’ would wait for us to approach the walkway leading to a set of stairs and then he would call us a few unkind names before delivering a punch to each of our stomachs. He would then run quickly to his house. This went on for a few weeks. My mother eventually put an end to it by visiting with his mother. I was so happy and relieved but still was very cautious when going home after school.
Fast forward 25 years later and my brother, who lives in Toronto, ended up running into our bully. They were both surprised and my brother mentioned how small and vulnerable the bully seemed. They spoke for some time, although my brother never mentioned what used to take place after school. For several weeks he felt that ‘John’ recalled exactly what he used to do to us. My brother said it was weird because we never know how each person’s life will turn out later on. John had some pretty painful issues growing up and my brother and I realized that it was most likely the cause of his bullying us.
Will Bowen has a saying that has become quite popular that, “Hurt people hurt people.” Nothing could be truer. Even with the rise of social media and cyber bullies, the fact remains that most people who bully are those facing hurtful issues.
Talking to my brother about this individual has made me realize that nothing stays the same and that most of us will survive bullying. It won’t be fun or even easy but, in time, our resilience will shine through and we will grow from our experiences. Hopefully in time bullies will learn from the error of their ways and make the choice to empower others instead of tearing down and hurting others.
~ Golda Pinnock