Bullying Really Isn’t So Bad
By Connor Pattinson
In 2011, Jessica Samakow changed my life. It might seem funny how as a nine-year old, overweight, nerdy little piss goblin I could say a journalist at the Huffington Post changed my life, but maybe you missed the part where I said I was nerdy. You see, in 2011, Jessica Samakow’s article “Dealing With Bullying: Why It Isn’t All Bad” was published in the Huffington Post.
I wish I could tell you that I discovered this article after doing research for a Slant article, pretending that whatever rambling nonsense I write is relevant (like the Huffington Post does), or that this article was something I learned about in one of my classes and I am just making up this story to gain sympathy, but no. This was an article I found online when I googled “why is bullying happening to me?” Thanks Google. She taught me that I was capable of being the change I wanted to see and that it wasn’t anyone else’s job to help me. I was a reasonably smart kid, I should be able to find the answer to my own problems and solve them.
You see, I was not always the pseudo-lovable, relatively tall, passably attractive in a cute-but-definitely-not-hot kind of way that I am now. In the fourth grade, I was medically classified as obese. I didn’t know how to wear clothes that weren’t elastic or graphic tees. I had a haircut so bad that my mom should have been ashamed of herself for letting me out of the house. And on top of it all, after losing a bet, I was forced to wear a Cat In The Hat tie every day for three years. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was the prime target for school bullies.
And bullied I was.
I was the transfer kid going into the third grade, so by the time fourth grade rolled around, I had not really spent a great deal of time solidifying myself as the baddest bitch to ever walk the halls of Taylor Mill Elementary. Between that “appearance,” and tending to be the bitch that finished math work early to play Pokemon White on his DS rather than help his fellow classmates, I was less than popular.
But ya know what? For all the shoulder checks, name calling, acts of aggression and, at times, physical violence I can say now I am very glad I was bullied. Sure, were a few of the knuckle sandwiches a little hard on that beautiful head of hair? Yes. Was I a little tired of having to hang out by the teachers at recess instead of the playground with the other kids? Of course. But I learned more from my peers than I ever did from my teachers. No teacher was ever going to tell me that I was one sugar cone away from looking like the entire ice cream truck. No teacher was ever going to tell me that being a dismissive ass was a bad character trait. Now I may have preferred if they used their mouth rather than their hands to convey this message, but at least the message stuck.
I think that the right amount of hazing is a good way to teach kids what is and isn’t okay in society, as long as it is done in the right way. Bullying anyone, especially kids, is not okay for matters of race, sexuality, appearance, or other things that are out of their control. And I do believe that violence in any form, especially against kids, is not okay and it never fucking will be.
…but at the same time, if there’s a kid who is kinda acting like a piece of shit so he can play video games in the corner rather than contribute to the classroom or help his fellow students, I am kind of okay with him getting shit for it. Or if he’s actively wearing a Dr. Seuss tie over a fucking Lego Star Wars t-shirt: let him fucking have it. Purely from an evolutionary standpoint, growth and development is supposed to happen in groups, not in seclusion. This is how creatures such as “children” develop social skills and learn the difference between kosher and catastrophe. I needed a little bit of course correction and I am eternally grateful I got it. Sure, that course correction could have been in the form of a comb and a mother who respected me enough to not let me do… whatever the fuck that was, but I got what I needed. I learned how to interact with my peers, my world, and myself in an appropriate way.
If it weren’t for the intervention of my bullies in elementary school, who knows how my life would have turned out. Maybe I would still be good at math like a loser? Maybe I would have only been attracted to anime girls? Or feet? Or anime girls’ feet? All I know is when I said “damn shawty kinda bad” referring to a female character in a video game, I got a swirly. And I think that’s okay. I am glad that inhibitor was in place to remind me to touch grass and talk to pretty girls every once in a while.
So next time your kid comes home from school and talks about getting bullied, be like Jessica. Be like me. Rather than jump to defend their honor for whatever weird bullshit they proudly told the entire class they enjoyed, or fight against the hundreds of voices telling your failed abortion, “no!” just take a moment to ask your little spermling if maybe they fucking deserved it.