Ending the Bully Chain

In Something to Dream On, Lizetta still struggles to drown the voice of Laura, the former schoolmate who bullied her in high school. I know how Lizetta feels. I’ve been up against my fair share of bullies who have harassed me about my unchangeable height and the weight issues that I have since (mostly) overcome.

One of the people who talked down to me the most was basically the same height that I was. For years I could not understand why she had not been sympathetic, because the boats we were in were nearly identical. But instead, she insulted me in every way she could—be it her insisting she was tougher or by blasting the things I loved. It took a while, but eventually I came to understand why she did it. And in an odd way, I now feel for her.

Even though we were close in height, she was a little thinner. This gave her an edge on me. Since her friends were not so nice to me either, one of the reasons she lashed out was likely that she did what was expected. But interestingly enough, her friends were also somewhat short. So decades later, I’m seeing the light. It could very well be that they were sick of being bullied, so they found a target to make them feel better about what they had going on physically. As we often say, misery loves company.

Years later, I think about this sad situation in a broader light. I wish those girls could have found a happier way to spend their time. They could have ended the chain by just ignoring the insults thrown at them and banding together to do greater things. That is what my friends and I did. We were drama geeks, and instead of talking smack about others, we talked about movies, TV, and the upcoming plays we were in. When the bullies attacked, we hurt, but we didn’t pass that pain on to another victim.

I encourage people to celebrate who they are, no matter what others think. In my experience, those who knock you are either jealous or are escaping from their own issues. Take pride in you.

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