This particular bullying story of my life starts very positively. I feel it will be important to establish my friendship with Ryan with you, so you understand how this particular relationship has led to some long-term effects for me. It seems so difficult to believe that almost 30 years goes by and yet these moments are still there for me. Many of the sites, sounds, and situations of 30 years ago continue to play back in my memory.
Ryan moved from England to Lexington, MA some time in the late 70s. I met up with him in late 5th grade and we quickly became friends. We would spend time playing at each other’s house and I particularly recall that we began to make stop-motion movies with our Star Wars toys for hours on weekends. He had the film camera and it had a frame-by-frame setting that let us make these movies. I was finally getting to an age where my parents let me have some small independence, so I remember getting to spend the night at Ryan’s house and staying up all night for the first time. We shared many of the same friends and for a good year plus were best friends.
I remember the summer after 6th grade. We had graduated from Franklin elementary and were heading to the big middle school, Jonas Clark Middle School. That summer, Ryan and I would meet up at the Reservoir swimming hole in Lexington. That was the community pool, the RES. We made films and hung out. I knew Ryan’s mom and dad pretty well by hanging out at their house. They seemed to be a very normal, average, family. I didn’t see any signs of abuse with Ryan or even any yelling. I bring this up, because at one point I always figured bullies were being bullied at home.
Oops, I let the cat out of the bag there, didn’t I. Why would I say that about Ryan and his family. Well, as I would soon find out that, out of all the bullies that had bullied me. Out of all the people that picked on me, that beat me up, that played with my mind, no one surprised me more than Ryan. No one, not one of the other bullies was my best friend like this and then turned on me for no apparant reason and without any warning. Yes, I know I’m not alone in having this happen. In fact many of the women that I’ve talked to who were bullied seemed to experience this with girls. But it does not seem to be very common with boys. They usually let you know up front.
But…I get ahead of myself. I simply, in this blog, wanted to establish the positive friendship that I had with Ryan and the fact that I knew his family and had developed a close relationship with his parents. All was normal. All was good. Most of the other bullies weren’t dealing with me since I fought them. I thought maybe Middle School would bring a change. But Ryan would turn on me at the beginning of middle school and lead me to do something that I never thought in a million years I would do to defend myself. Middle school stories begin with my next “Bully Incident” blog. I can tell you that it definitely didn’t get better.