Friday, September 10, 2010

Bright Red Lipstick



Wisdom.

Sometimes wisdom sneaks up on you and bites you on the butt. That happened to me yesterday. I noticed a few more comments on the blog that I wrote about Ruby's first day of school and went to read them. Mike had left a comment in which he reflected on the fact that he and I were both teased at school, that we both turned out 'ok'. Then he said something quite, for me, profound: I guess the bullies were wrong.

Well, slap me in the belly with a wet fish!

You know I always knew that it was wrong for the bullies to bully me. Always. From the get go. I understood that they were mean, nasty, kids - drunk on their own popularity. I got all of that. But somewhere deep down I thought that while they were wrong to tease me, they weren't actually wrong about me. That they just shouldn't point out my obvious flaws, failings and flab.

Even to this very day. Coming come a couple days ago we passed by a patio bar with a bunch of young men. All sitting with their shirts off displaying tattoos up and down arms and back. Why eagles are instinctively driven to land on men's nipples I'll never understand - I need to watch more 'Discovery' channel. We were almost by when one of them shouted, for me to hear, 'Hey, look at the big fat dude.' Instantly I was twelve years old, instantly I was back in a hallway scented with sweatsocks. Instantly I was angered. I knew what he thought about me. I knew he was right I AM a big fat dude. I just thought he was mean to point it out.

But he wasn't pointing out my weight. He was pointing out my decreased worth. He was pointing out that I wasn't worth his respect. That I wasn't worth the respect of others. That I had less value than him and his chums.

And you know what ... he's wrong.

The bullies from my past weren't just wrong to act hatefully. They were wrong to devalue me. They were wrong about my worth as a human being. They were just plain freaking, fracking, fucking wrong.

They should put on bright red lipstick and kiss my ass goodnight.

Yeah!

Thanks Mike.

17 comments:

evangelina said...

Wow. Thanks for posting. My little guy was being picked on, and I was instantly back in the third grade with him. That and I wanted to kick the bully's parent's ass for not teach them any better. He too is on the heavy side, and kids are so amazingly cruel. He could mop the floor with the punks, but that is not how I have raised him. I told him to defuse the situation with humor, because if you're smart and funny, people gravitate to you for positive reasons. The next time they point out the obvious, I told him to saw "Really Einstein, quite original". I am crossing my fingers as to these tiny hoodlums knowing who Einstein was. It is probably pointless, but my 8 yr does know, and hopefully in 30 years he will be a well adjusted guy like you. Thanks again :)

Tracy said...

I do love you, Dave! Bright red lipstick...!

Crash The Cuckoo Nest said...

Inspiring as always Dave. I caught your lecture in Edinburgh earlier this year and have really enjoyed keeping up with your blog since.

Your friend is abolutely right. The bullies were wrong about you, and i hope you inspire more people not to absorb the cruel things people say and do.

Leslie said...

Brilliant, powerful post! I read it out loud to my 18 year old daughter and we both love it - red lipstick indeed! You rock Dave!

Anonymous said...

As an adult, still struggling with the after effects of being horribly bullied, I connect with this message. Every time I think I've dealt with the mess that was left by these bullies, something opens the wound. Here's hoping that all the victims and even the bullies themselves - find peace and resolution.

Karry said...

I am fat, too, and was as a child. I was also smart and nerdy. I was teased horribly. Now I'm seeing my son, who is 10, go through similar things. At least they have a "no bullying" policy at his school, and the kids who have teased him the most have been confronted by the administration.... I didn't feel that kind of support from adults when I was his age. And, I, like you, Dave, believed the bullies.

Robyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robyn said...

We are a month into the school year here and yesterday I went to observe my son (who is DD) in his kindergarten class. I'm not sure why I am so surprised but I sure am to find that he is already being bullied. Your post made me cry this morning...for you, for Mike, for my baby being told he is "bad". I found your blog over the summer and usually I am a hold my tongue type person and think it will work out. I've been reading you and now I'm not holding my tongue. I'm screaming and screaming LOUD! Thank you for sharing your courage with us.

Kristin said...

What a great post Dave! We've dealt with bullying here. It got so bad that I'm currently homeschooling my oldest. I am going to have him read this. I hope it will help him cope.

Brenda said...

Once again, you have hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head, and given me new insight to an old struggle. Thank you.

Lauren said...

I thought you might like to know that even though I was never teased or bullied in school (that I can remember) I have the same insecurity issues that you do. I was sensitive enough that I knew the bullies were wrong, but I also figured they probably said the same things about me when I couldn't hear them. So even though they were teasing someone else, it felt like they were saying the same things to me.

Anonymous said...

thanks Dave, I'm coming to your blog today with just a tinge of sadness in my heart. You see I found out my son who started school three weeks ago is being teased, a kid snatched his classes from him today and refused to give them back and some kids have been teasing his voice saying they don't understand him. Thankfully it's good school and they dealt with things properly but although I knew with my head that all his physical health problems would make him more visable I had hoped with my heart it wouldn't happen.

I suppose my job is to "toughen him up" and help him deal with the negativity he is going to encounter but how do I do that without him losing the essential part of him that he deserves to have.

That is what I need to find out but today I just feel sad.

Lene said...

Right on!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anonymous above, could you email me privately please. My email is in the 'about me'.

Nathan Dawthorne said...

Evangelina - I think its not always parents fault that they should have raised their kids better... between the media, other kids, other adults, and even sometimes these kids have disabilities and social skills lags... sometimes parents really don't know whats going on when they aren't around or its out of their control.

I know for my son with his own disbalities - occassionally teasing or bullying can happen at his hands or vies versa... no matter how many times we adults "teach" him he sometimes just doesn't get it!

As for myself I was bullied / teased etc from grade 4 to grade 11... and even though I turned out fine - I struggle with social phobias and anxiety all the time... which I know all started from those bullies in my past.

Sheva said...

Dave I'm a long time follower and I have to say this post, and many others, truly hit home for me. I was bullied and ridiculed all my school age years. I had a big Jewish nose I looked different and i was awkward. As an adult I grew into myself, nose included. Every once in awhile I'll get a "Jew" comment and I'm right back into my hick town school. Now with a Down syndrome daughter my fears have quickly come back and I pray that she will be miraculously accepted and never teased. That will happen right?

Michael Soucie said...

Usually when someone attacks another verbally its to direct others attention away from there silly ass nipple eagles. There mommas must be proud.

Mike