Some of my past bully stories are right on the top of my head. Many others are buried deep deep down and pop out at interesting times, mainly when some smell or sight triggers them. I was walking down a dirt path in my neighborhood when this one came back to the surface of my mind. This story is less about a bully, but more about the sacrifices I made in my life to cope with the bullies.
Fear is a terrible thing. It grips you and makes you do things that are out of your character or beliefs. We see it all the time in the modern world. I recall how fear made me lose one of the most valuable things in my childhood and in life in general, TIME! We all have to live knowing that each minute of our lives is one minute closer to our deaths. As adults we hear that we should always live for today and make the most of your time, particularly as it gets shorter.
But, as children, we see all the time in the world. As I look back, I realize how much time I lost due to fear of bullies. A prime example of this was a daily routine I started when the bullying got really bad around my 5th grade year of elementary school. When the 3 o’clock bell rang, the last thing I wanted to do was leave school, like the other kids, because of the fear I had that the bullies were out there waiting.
I was a walker to school. I lived about a mile away from the school, but as a kid, it felt more like two miles. The school was surrounded by trees, plenty of places I could be pulled into and beat up. Often, a bully would be waiting for me at the end of the day. I came up with a plan every day. I waited about 10 minutes until all the kids had left and the buses left. My bullies were so patient, I knew they were still waiting for me, so I came up with an idea.
I realized I could run out the side door of the school and into the tree line. I would cut through the forest, which was three quarters of the way around the school and come to a dirt road that was a good 200+ yards away from the school. If I walked up that, I would come out far enough down the street I needed to be on, that the bullies wouldn’t see me.
I did this every day for two years. Based on the 10 minutes I would wait and the extra 15-20 minutes it would take me to get to the road from the treeline and path, I lost 30 minutes a day for two years, just to avoid bullies. Doing some math here, let’s assume I went to school for 200 days a year and I did that for two years. That means I lost 8.3 days of my life out of fear and doing this long routine.
I mentioned that I did this for two years. I would have done it longer, but one of the bullies finally found out about my routine. I got away with it for two years, but once it was found out, then it got really bad. That story, I’ll tell later. There’s two more years of stories to tell before then.