Kids can be very mean to each other. Downright ugly at times. I listen to the trials and tribulations that my 13 year old niece goes through with her peers. I have found that the degree of meanness hasn’t changed much it just appears in different forms or with different vocabulary. Let’s face it, kids today are way smarter than the ones of my generation. She asked me if I had any real altercations at her age. I figured while I had it all fresh in my memory I would share it here as well.
My parents raised us to be non-confrontational. The general rule was try to ignore it and they will stop and pick on someone else. If all else fails defend yourself. I was either 9 or 10 had a decent circle of friends from the apartment complex we were living in. We all hung out with each other, rode the bus to and from school together. One day while riding the bus home one of my “friends” decided she was bored and started to pull single strands of hair from my braided pigtails. She was seated behind me on the bus with another girl as her support. The first couple of times, although it was painful, I ignored it. She then began pulling 2 or more strands at a time and it was not only painful but also degrading as the remainder of the bus behind me was now in on the game. Still trying to adhere to the rules set forth by my folks, I decided to get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. To my dismay so did Gabby and her friend. I started walking briskly towards our development and Gabby decided to further taunt me by poking me in the rear with part of a long tree branch.
That was my breaking point. On her second pass, I whipped around and grabbed the tree branch and pulled it toward me. It happened so fast that she did not let go of the branch and we ended up nose to nose. I am not sure who was more shocked by this. She dropped her end of the branch and swiftly turned on her heel and began walking away quickly. My instinct was to grab her pony tail and yank with all my might. The force knocked her to the ground. When I let go of her hair I had a hefty handful of her locks. She was stunned, sitting on the ground motionless. Her friend took off running. I calmly shook her hair off my hands and returned to my path towards home. No emotions, no words spoken. I got home, received my regular greeting from my Mom and then I broke down. I don’t think I have ever cried that hard up to that moment.
It is of note that Gabby decided to not pick on me ever again. We remained friends until her family moved away 2 years later. In fact I guess when she got home and told her Mom what had happened, they both came over to apologize. No apology was expected of me but of course I did as well.
To this day, I am not one to fly off the handle. My breaking point remains very high. Once it is broken, watch out.