I don’t know why anyone would believe their bullying story is met with disbelief and skepticism as this writer shared. I have read so many stories from so many that are both shocking and unbelievable to me. What I felt happened to me is nothing compared to what many others went through. What we all have to remember is that we are all in this small blue planet together and that, no matter what happened to us in our past, we have a choice to move forward or stay living in the past. I know, because for over 30 years, I lived in the past. Is it easy to move forward…NO. But we can and we should learn to forgive, but not forget. By sharing the stories, we don’t forget, but we can forgive. It is not an easy thing to do and I needed help to get to the point of forgiveness. But mostly now I forgive myself. I hope we all can and grow from these lessons. ~Alan Eisenberg
My story is typically met by disbelief and skepticism, which does make it hard to share. However, because countless numbers were impacted I share it anyway.
When I was in middle school I had between 60 – 80 bullies, and at one point I stood up to 24, which had me encircled.
The bullies in my school were united, brought together by the “alpha” bully, and subsequently ranked in a hierarchy. At the bottom were the rank and file, which made up the majority of them. They were the expendable cannon fodder. A step up was the elite, 24 of the cream of the crop.
The hierarchy was an extremely methodical and efficient instrument because of its ability to terrorize on an industrial scale. It was virtually an enterprise with quotas, a chain of command, and administrative duties carried out by the 24, who partitioned the school into “territories” and issued orders to their subordinates and reported to the alpha.
And it was the alpha, who alone reported to his superior, a kid named Sean, who was a self-proclaimed visionary. He believed he was a god. And his vision of building a better school had already captivated the entire school and the community, who celebrated him with euphoric cheers and applause.
“Together,” he would often said, “we can build a better school.” But it was he that had created the hierarchy.
At eleven, he successfully ended bullying in an entire school. With a snap of his fingers it stopped. He was hailed a hero… of course, unbeknownst to them, he could always resume it at any time he wished. And like a wheel turning, the more he brought it back the more he was revered; the more others suffered, the more he was elevated.
He wanted to stand on top of the world and be worshiped. He had initially used the popular clique to begin his rise to prominence, exploiting their desperation to find an answer to bullying, but once he had surpassed them in love and adoration, he destroyed them. They were pawns who had simply outlived their usefulness.
His vision stirred resistance among hundreds of students, however, who saw right him, but he suppressed any opposition ruthlessly, including his old friend, the leader of the popular clique, who received a visit from the entire hierarchy for six weeks until he succumbed to insomnia and paranoia.
In the meanwhile, I had managed to turn one of the 24 against him, a certain bully who actually despised taking orders. He soon divided the hierarchy and its loyalties, and all out war abruptly followed, as bully turned on bully.
But because of my “inexcusable interference,” as Sean put it, a close friend of mine was consequently targeted too and sent to the emergency room. There would be no negotiating with his vision.
This incident however sparked a tidal wave of insurrection, and I watched in disbelief as students cornered the rank and file and forced them to swear never to bully again. It was awe-inspiring. And though the elite escaped it was clear there was hope.
Eventually, the 24 came after me in revenge, but I outwitted them and they turned on one another. And then, all that remained was the alpha, who was subsequently quarantined by the student body and made to watch as the school was rebuilt with smiles and happiness. I think it was torture for him to see so much positivity.
As for Sean, he was confronted by the bully who divided the hierarchy. The fight was brief though, because the teachers arrived just in time to save the miracle worker.
Ultimately, the school was rebuilt, replacing dark clouds with light. And yet, Sean’s vision was given full credit for it despite the fact that it was by student’s who had resisted him. Moreover, because his vision was credited, it therefore ignited a movement that grew and expanded, branching out in many directions, and was strengthened significantly by his martyrdom… and yet, this sentiment may be rather unjust, because as it turned out, ironically, the bully who fought him wanted nothing more than to be free.
For three years, Sean’s vision ruled absolute, rallying thousands upon thousands behind it. There was “Build a Better School Day” assemblies and community events, parades, and anything to put him in the spotlight. He waved and smiled for the consumption of his public. “Together,” he said excitedly, “We can!”
And despite all he did, his vision still lived and breathed. And when our graduating class stood up and held hands years later, proud of our accomplishment, it was instead marveled as the greatest masterpiece of a true visionary.