Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bullies, Limps, and Living Life This Side of Heaven

Now, stop, this isn't going to be a sad sob story. I know you read the title and clicked to read it because you thought, "Aw, poor Ms. Springer." Okay, stop your thinking NOW. I have a review of the movie BULLY and a short bully story of my own to share. By the end of this post, you'll understand why I want you to stop thinking the WORST happened to me right now. *grin*

I will admit, I have wanted to see the movie BULLY since I heard about it. I wanted to see it for two main reasons. First, I wanted to see it out of curiosity. I wanted to see how they would cover such a broad topic in film form and see if it was covered tastefully. Second, I wanted to see it because I have been bullied in different times in my life, and I know I have some responsibilities for the students in my care regarding bullies. I take that very seriously because I have walked in those shoes. Life can be rough, no matter how old you are and what stage of life you find yourself in, so I want to make sure I do all I can to assist the students He entrusts me with each year.

The movie was well done, and I was really impressed at how they shared different sides to all the different real-life stories. It was in documentary form, which is NOT my typical film, but it was one that was easy to follow and to connect with those sharing their real-life stories.

It's human nature to watch a movie and compare it to our own life experiences. I found myself constantly doing that as I watched the movie. Honestly, I was bullied, but not like the kids in this film, and I never wanted to take my life because of it. So, my story is VERY different from those in the film. In fact, I NEVER wanted harm on those who bullied me. Of course, there is a vast difference between those in the film, and what happened to me. Mine was (for the most part) hurtful words. I wasn't locked in a locker, punched, choked, or anything of that sort. (I did have someone destroy my books at one point, but they didn't hurt me physically. I was sad though that someone would do that.)

What I did have in common (for the most part) with the movie was that most of the kids were picked on due to things beyond their control. For example, one child was picked on due to his looks, just as I was picked on due to my limp. I didn't choose the limp any more than the kid chose to have a lip that looked different than most. However, something I learned EARLY on in life is that people make fun of things they don't understand.

When I moved in fourth grade, I started a new school. I had a girl who didn't like the limp and thought I was stupid due to the limp. That's a common idea, people think the limp means I have cognitive deficits. In reality, my IQ is in NORMAL range. *grin* Anyway, this girl started calling me names in fourth grade at recess. I just took it. This is something I tend to do (not proud of it, but it's true, I just take it and bottle emotions up) and this went on for quite a while in fourth grade. I hated recess. Up until one day...

I remember the girl was picking on me, and I turned and started chasing her. Now, with the limp, do you think I thought I would catch her? NO. So we were running and she ran into the building. Why? I have NO IDEA. So, she ran into the restroom and into a stall. I ran in and kicked the door, which hit her head, and she fell backward. I remember having a moment of, "Did I kill her?" Okay, well, to a fourth grader, that was a real thought. She didn't die, obviously. She got up, opened the stall and had a bruise on her forehead. Needless to say, that was my first trip to the principal's office, but it was also the last time she picked on me. *grin*

I want to state here that the principal did take time to talk to me about what I SHOULD HAVE DONE in the situation. That's key, I believe, in the world of bullies. Today, yesterday, and tomorrow, that is what we need to do. Take 5 minutes for those kids to make sure they are letting their voices be heard and following through as adults in what we say we will do.

Perhaps the thing that stood out to me when the movie was all over was how blessed I felt. Let me explain. First of all, I was blessed because some of the stories that were told in that movie were NOT what I walked in. That doesn't mean I wish it had happened to those kids, obviously not. No one should walk through that stuff. However, I felt blessed that I always had three or four close friends even when some people felt better by picking on me.

I also felt blessed because as an adult, I like the limp. Yes, I'm in PT to walk better, but the limp probably won't be completely gone. I'm fine with that. I'm no longer walking how I used to, and look much better now when I walk, but I realize there was real brain damage there and to a degree there will always be a limp to a degree. I'm fine with that. Really. *grin*

I realize that for some of those people in that movie, they are young and have a lot of life to still live and figure things out. As a kid I wrestled A LOT more than I do today with the limp. Today I see that He chose me to walk this side of Heaven with it, and I know He chose me because He knew I would be strong enough to walk this thing out regardless of what others think of me. (easier on some days than others, but that's a whole other blog post) I really do like who I am, and the limp doesn't define me, it's just a part of me. For a lot of people who meet me, they can't get past it, and I know that and accept that the best I can. He has told me plenty of times, "Just be you, living out this thing will speak louder than words." Sometimes that's hard, but overall it's not. If someone is stuck, that's their loss, not mine. *grin*

I like me, and I like the skin I'm in. I share that with my students often, so that they can be encouraged to like who they are as well. The world is different today than it was when I was growing up, so I'm not shy to show the students the positives of having a disability. (There are several, but that's for another post entirely!)

In the end of the movie today, I silently prayed for those in the film. I was never to the point of wanting harm to myself or anyone, but I also wasn't hurt like they were either. It doesn't mean I think it's right if they do hurt someone, I'm just saying my perspective was different.

In a world full of so much "stuff" rules change and prayer (to me) is a great way to be pro-active. I pray a lot here at home. *grin*

I'm not even sure how to end this post.

I do recommend people see this movie. It was well done and had a great message.

As for me, the days of the playground are long gone. I have 3 deep friendships that I connect with on a regular basis. I went on and have become a productive member of society with a good career and home. I pay bills and even serve Jesus in a church. Yes, I was bullied but it wasn't a season I allowed to define me for the remainder of my life. Some people are bullied and it defines them for the rest of their lives as "victims."

Life's too short. I'm not a victim. I'm a child of God living out the life He chose for me, with a limp. *grin*

No biggie.


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