After running the post “Stiffy” a few days ago, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, writing it was a mistake. Or maybe it simply didn’t go far enough.
Like many topics in this blog, I wrote it to yank another skeleton out of the closet and acknowledge that as a teenager, while I was getting bullied and should have related to others who were bullied, I just turned around and kicked around someone I thought was weaker than me.
It’s not the first regret that I’ve mentioned here. In another post, “One of my Biggest Regrets,” I wrote about a New Hampshire reporter from my Eagle-Tribune days who I was terrible to. I called her early one morning to chew her out over a story that didn’t get done, knowing full well her husband was due to have heart surgery that very morning.
It’s a recurring theme here. I tell you about someone I was a awful to, and it’s like I’m making an amends to that person.
But I’m not, really. Amends can only be made face-to-face. In that regard, I’m stuck in neutral.
This all occurred to me after a friend with her own experience in being bullied sent me this message:
I remember being picked on from as early on as 2nd grade all the way through senior year of high school (alternative school, you know “short bus”, “the troubled kids”) I got there by trying to kill myself. I still remember what one of the intake workers said about my overdose: “Hey, you know that could get ya killed…hahaha”… trying to relate to the poor depressed girl. I replied, “Yeah, that’s the point.
Being tormented by my peers in one of the hardest things I have tried to let go of in my life. There is a pile of abuse material, neglect, alcohol and drug addiction (of my family), homelessness, being a foster child, being locked up in psyche…etc., that I could talk about…but, somehow being alienated by the people ( your peers), perhaps even those that could of helped you in that situation, hurt, and still does.
If you remember me from “around the neighborhood”, Bill, its probably because I was the scapegoat for a lot of other kids’ nastiness, including my own sister. So, am I crying in my tea (sorry, I don’t drink), here? I hope not. I’m doing the best to let you know how your “friend” probably felt: useless, self-hating, desperate, and alone.
I hope he was stronger than I was, I hope for you that he is doing well, and can laugh it all off.
My personal opinion is that you are making amends to make yourself feel better. If you want this person to know how you feel, that you are sorry, that you wish you had not done the things you did…..don’t write a blog about it, don’t say: ” hey if you happen to see so and so let him know I wrote a blog about him, cuz I’m so fucking cool … hire your own private detective, find the guy, meet him face to face, and make your amends. That’s being a man. Abuse creates monsters, and what children do to each other while growing up is abuse, sometimes with fatal consequences. I wonder if Columbine would of even happened if adults had a “no tolerance” reaction to any abuse, because they know, and they let it happen all the time.
The line that really cut me to the core was the suggestion that I wrote that post to make myself feel better.
Because in hindsight, it’s true.
Coming clean here is an important step. But I’m really not making my amends unless I’m doing it directly to the person who needs to hear it.
It’s time for me to put the process in motion.
There are many people I need to make peace with.