Beat-up Your Bully
Bullying. This is a huge problem and often not one a kid wants to drag home and share with parents. Intimidation and bullies have been around as long as schoolyards, recess, and cave man elementary school hierarchies have been around. They need not be on the schoolyard, in fact there's a next level of bullying we call Life, where your colleagues will take you on, berate you, lie, deface, criticize, and to some extent, small or great, destroys you - maybe in the boardroom, lunchroom, or bathroom - all in the name of acting like an adult. I take a different stance on bullying. And I bring the Russian invasion of Ukraine in to help me share what bulling is like.
I couldn't grow up in today's school system, I'm not good at being bullied, I'm not wise when it comes to "a time and place for everything," and I don't believe the bullying has changed much, except that much of it is online. I was stopped from going to my Grade 12 Prom by Shawn M. who threatened, in front of his bully friends, to kill me if I attended. And so I didn't go to something much of the graduating world does, which is go to your prom. He had haunted me for years.
I was bullied largely from Grade 6 through 12. And my advice is not the stuff they put on Pink t-shirts, I say: Take your bully down. Attempt to give him the beating of his pathetic life. Bullies in groups are going to win the spoken battle, using threats, fake punches, real punches, and degrading language about your mother and what footwear she wore in the army.
That goes by the wayside, it's when you're being shoved into lockers, tripped while carrying books or a cafeteria tray full of lunch, or when your pants are pulled down just when the girl you have a crush on walks by. But separate the goon from his co-goons, isolate the problem, catch him whistling home alone from school and let him have all you got. In my experience, trying to get physical is often reduced to Plan A: talking and your bully will say "it's all just joking" and how "I'm overly sensitive".
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
― Desmond Tutu
Look at today's bully; Russia. Russia invaded and destroyed much of Ukraine. So many people side with Ukraine that even my Iraqi neighbours have an Estonian flag hanging from their eavestrough. THAT is how much of a bully Russia is, that those who can emphasize a truthful war raging in their home countries, if not sympathize, are even throwing up flags to show which side they stand against.
They are on the side of the underdog. And the referees, coaches, or teachers monitoring the schoolyard, have taken away Russia's lunch privileges, and they meet now and then to discuss taking away or sanctioning Putin's bus money home. We want Ukraine to beat Russia up, literally. Violence DOES solve issues, it proves who is mentally and physically the strongest. But Russia came in swinging and could leave in a body bag. Bullies can't just rule the world as they please. Vladimir Putin isn't working with Plan A.
I'd prefer to take my pink shirt off, flex any muscles that bulge the surface, and give my bully the trailer highlights from Fight Club. I'm serious, if you have it in you to beat him up, then do it. Things aren't going to get easier if you pretend it doesn't exist because you're wearing a magic pink t-shirt.
I could say problematically, "Bullies are people too." or "Every bully as a kid, grows up eventually" - yeah, to be a bigger bully. If they're not taught young, they'll do it as long as it works. Plan A seldom works. Bullies need to be put in their place pronto.
They say when you go to prison, find the biggest guy and take him down to show you ain't afraid of anyone. I've yet to have this specific opportunity but it will itch at me if it presents itself. Plus I'm rather meek and suffer from a slew of disabling disadvantages. Still, somehow peace must be made, preferably with words; Plan A. Otherwise, go to Plan B instantly, give him a black eye he'll wear as your trophy for the rest of the month.
I faced off with my bully twice, once running into him and bouncing him off the lockers then running as fast as my pubescent feet would carry me, and another time when I waited to catch him alone. Then, for all the fight in me, I used Plan A, words. I wanted to use my fists but neither hand was made for battling the lone twit, they were shaky and weren't apt to land where intended. At some point, you may have to reclaim your dignity and sucker punch him. Otherwise, all of those long years at school will seem unworthy of attending. You won't remember algebra, you'll remember kids throwing things at you. You won't remember when America joined the League of Nations, you'll remember fearing you might not make it to your locker between periods. Reflecting back on your school years may be traumatic. Words didn't work. I didn't go to my prom.
No, you don't know what it's like
When nothing feels all right
You don't know what it's like
To be like me
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you're down
To feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one's there to save you
No, you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life”
― Simple Plan
The world wants to weed out bullies, make their products of a missing father figure, being beaten as a kid, or merely trying to intimidate other bullies so they themselves fit in. I can sympathize with the grown-up definition but when a group of bullies has your attention, or your car keys, or your wife's picture on his desktop, you have to take matters into your own hands. Had I taught Shawn M. in grade 10 that I wasn't worth bullying, or that I'd hunt him down while he slept and disfigure him, all Plan A attributes, I may have attended my Graduation. To be deprived of that still makes me feel like I missed a moment everyone 'gets'.
I was once also chased through a forest by some bullies with knives. I sat, hiding in terror, on a toilet in the girl's bathroom for an hour or two. Then I skipped every Friday afternoon when these kids from a 'special school' had that time off. How much respect do I get for that maneuver? None. What did I learn? Maybe confronting your bully with words for a start, then a maniacal scuffle that hopefully lands a few pointers on his nose, cheek, and teeth. You don't want to invite the war with your battle, you just want him to go bother some other geeky student (of which I was one of many). Maybe Plan A will work for them.
And in today's world of online bullying, where are particularly warped group of people feel anonymous and clever enough to post threats that have led to withdrawal and even suicide, you have to confront them in real life. You have to block, cancel, or remove the subject of your anxieties. Or hire a hacker to flip the tables on them. Or if you have the money, pay someone to bully them for a week.
You should never make fun of something that a person can't change about themselves.” ― Phil Lester
The internet has allowed Facebook, once a likable medium that even Gramma could understand, and then you're faced with things you don't want Gramma to see. That her favorite grandson is being hounded for his weight or he's a nerd because of his understanding of how triangles work in the real world. Because he's trying to get through school without problems. Because he published a poem in the school paper.
But there rears up the head of the arch-enemy, parading words of hate loudly in the hallway, pushing your binders from your chest, and promising your future is short. Gramma never should have thought Facebook was fair, not a 1950s checks and balances kind of fair, and she shouldn't have sent 'friends requests' to my enemies. The online world is hostile because of anonymity that can be done in the comfort of one's war room. Plan B can be of service.
If you don't belong to the "if you get slapped, offer him your other cheek" crowd, and you can withstand the rigors of going to school then maybe the best vengeance is reserved for later in life. Through classmates, I've found out that Shawn M, my version of Russia, the loser from my high school, now sits at a barstool on weekdays with his male-pattern balding technique going as well as it can. He wastes his days staring at sports highlights on a big bar screen. I'm satisfied. I hope, as the Ukrainian in this melee, he's living in his mom's basement since his last divorce. I hope his kids hate him, and that his job is unrewarding. I hope his last wife took everything. And I hope he enjoyed the damn prom.
And I hope Russia takes a page out of this booklet, Ukraine is using Plan B.
On that note, in keeping with adult tradition and being a grown-up figure, I forgive him. I guess that might be Plan C.
https://www.bullyingcanada.ca/get-help/ — email: Support@BullyingCanada.ca
OF RUSSIA: A Year Inside
Brent (Brant is the Russian version) Antonson has seen a Russia few foreigners have. Indeed, few Russians. This young Canadian ventured to Voronezh, eleven hours south of Moscow by train, to spend a year inside a country torn by strife, fresh into a new century, and struggling with the clash between history and future. Tasked with teaching English to students at one university, and then a second, his story is riddled with romance and deception, and punctuated with near disaster and disappointment. Antonson's candor and insights set Russia on the edge of failure and achievement – much like the students he educated, filled with a dash of hope and a lump of fear. His wit did as much to get him in trouble as it did to keep him out of it.