Lately several people ask me why I continue to blog about the bullying issue and, particularly my mother, wants to know when I’ll “get over it”. It’s always funny for me to hear these things, because I am over it. I’m not doing this for me, but, at least in my mind, to help others and present a history of bullying from the perspective of an adult who can look back to see both the negative effect, as well as some positive effects.
Have I taken it on the chin some? I would say YES. There are certainly some who see my telling of these stories and doing this website as some sort of psychological weakness and they chose to try to exploit it. See kids, bullying doesn’t end when you grow up all the time. It just changes some (but sometimes not).
I consider myself pretty lucky in that I have surrounded myself with people who I respect and who share that back. I have wonderful friends and a great family. Others both good and bad have come and gone over the years, but those that are left, well, I couldn’t ask for better people. Of course that wasn’t the case during the bullying years. Sure, I felt alone at times and seeing the future wasn’t a likely reality. But life is a series of peaks and valleys. Getting through the valley periods are work and that is no lie.
Recently I was faced, as many others have been, with a valley period when I had to find new employment. It’s at these critical times when you find out who your friends are. People who helped me network for my new job. Everyone I talked to was so helpful. It turned what could have been a very blue and negative period into a positive moment.
2009 has been a rough year, not just for me, but for many of my friends and for many people with the downturn in the economy. Recently one friend of mine, my best friend, my friend who I have had since I was 15 and who lives 6 houses away from me on my street, was faced with not one, not two, but three different cancers in his body. He had to have three operations to have them all removed. Luckily for him, they were all treatable.
What I will never forget was the opportunity that I saw presented to him. When the first diagnosis happened, the word got out to not just his current friends, but now with Facebook and Web 2.0, to all his old friends as well. They all came back to him to see if they could help. Friends from High School, College, and old work friends all called to him. In one morbid conversation, I shared with him that, in some way he was lucky. That most of us let life get behind us and don’t have the opportunity to know how many friends we truly have until they are at our funeral. I know, it’s morbid, but in some ways true. We forget about all the people that care about us and that we have met that we affected somehow. We mean to call on them and they mean to also, but time has a way of getting by us.
So why am I talking about this on the bullying blog? I think it’s important to remember, and to share with our children that life has peaks and valleys. Sometimes being bullied is one of those valleys. But even then, we should try to surround ourselves with people that we care about and that care about us. Over time those people will be there again and again. And then the peaks come and we can see over the summit again. It can get better. It does get better. That’s what I hope you remember when you walk in the valley.