Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What?... Me Wear Pink? ;-)

February 23 – Today is "Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day" and yes, I will be wearing pink today. Okay, I know for all of you that know me or have read a few any of my long boring submissions, you realize it’s not a big stretch for me.
Today, I would like to share a few random thoughts about bullying.
On occasion throughout my life I too have been a victim of bullying. Yes, I was always been the one of the tallest kids in my classes during both elementary school but I would describe myself even now as a gentle giant. Because I was a bit more sensitive and caring than most boys my age, more aggressive boys tended to pick on me usually by incessant teasing and sometimes physical intimidation. However because of my caring nature I also tended to befriend more of the “different” kids in school.
During my adult life, I worked for several companies whose owners could be described best as bullies. Rather than encourage good results, they tended to berate you , and chastise you in front of others for your mistakes.
I was lucky enough to have a strong enough resolve to overcome the schoolyard bullying and in fact befriended some of the offenders later in my high school days as they mellowed and I became stronger mentally and emotionally. As far as those bullying bosses go, they can all burn in hell especially my first full time employer. He was the most despicable person I ever met and believe me, I have met some evil characters in my life.
Some schoolyard bullying can be attributed to our pack/herd mentality where competition for the alpha position. Where a would be contender cannot rise to the head of the pack using his or her legitimate leadership skills, he/she will resort to physical, mental and emotional threats and actions to gain status. A more diabolical form of bullying could be more equated with sadism where the bully truly enjoys inflicting pain on the victim.
Through friends’ children, I have been witness to both types of the above. One of my neighbour’s granddaughters was harassed so much by other girls in her high school she was forced to transfer to a school a considerable distance from home. Luckily, this was for the most part the end of the harassment and she is happily working and in a loving relationship.
The second occurrence involved the 12 year old daughter (“M”)of the woman who lived across from me. I was a bit puzzled when they moved from a three bedroom townhouse in North Vancouver into a basement suite 30 kilometers away. I originally assume it was to reduce the mother’s commute to work from 45 minutes to 5 minutes. I was still puzzled why “M” would be so happy to move away from the area in which she grew up. This would not be the normal reaction of an adolescent girl. I later found out that the real reason was “M” was being constantly picked on by a group of neighbourhood girls and moving was the only solution. The bullying became sadistic when these same girls continued to harass “M” online long after she had moved and was no longer a threat to their pecking. I know my young friend is a strong person and she will eventually persevere. Unfortunately there are way too many children and young adults who are not that strong and they will be scarred for live or face much worse consequences.
We all have these stories about either being bullied or witnessing bullying but what we never admit to is our own transgressions. Can anyone truly claim they have never made anyone do something by using intimidation or threats be it physically, emotionally or mentally? Have you ever teased anyone for your own or others amusement? It is only when we look inward at ourselves and rectify our own behavior will we begin to clean our own homes of this disease. Once we do that we need to help others clean their houses.
Will wearing pink bring an end to bullying? No, of course not! But if seeing your pink T-shirt makes one person aware of the harm they may be doing  we are on our way towards winning the war.
So today I will be wearing my pink golf shirt, my pink flamingo socks, pink shoelaces and as you can see I painted my nail pink.  And to stay in the colour scheme guess what 80s teen classic I plan on watching this afternoon? Hey, just call me Molly! (Make that Andie if you’re a John Hughes fan!)
Note: However I am sorry to report that the pink cupcake fell victim to a bully. But she died for a good cause.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day here in the Magic Kingdom. Oh crap, wrong theme park!