Oh and bullying. I've taken an extract from an old blog because a) I've already written it, and b) it quite nicely sums things up. Regular readers of my trawl will possibly remember what follows.
For several years of my life I was subjected to torrents of abuse every day. Sure, some of it was related to having older parents (my Dad was 51 when I was born) or because we didn’t have loads of spare money for the latest styles, but most of it was down to me being fat. But it’s okay because the teachers sorted it out, right? No, they didn’t. For years while I was being abused on a daily basis and trying not to respond to it, they turned a blind eye to the name calling and the abuse and had ME painted as the troublemaker. I was the one put on report for walking out of lessons to avoid the torrents of abuse I was receiving or the one that was suspended for finally snapping and having a go at a teacher for not doing anything about it. After all it’s easier to deal with one child walking out of lessons than deal with half a dozen constantly abusing one person out of earshot of the teachers, right? Not to deal with the child who stole white paint from the art class to throw at the fat kid in the black t-shirt to see how far it would spread because it’s easier to threaten to expel the kid who snapped and chased after the thief and then accept the story that it was a game and that I was allegedly in on it and didn’t catch the paint, completely turning a blind eye to someone stealing in the first place because it was easier for them. I’m sure if I was at school today, the legal system and the way it is used nowadays would see me suing teachers for not dealing with the situation. And it’s funny that the classes I always performed the best in were those that didn’t have my bullies in - either due to streaming or because they took other options. Funny eh? Maybe it wasn’t me after all. Funnily enough I had a note off one of the bullies on Facebook a few months ago saying that he had no hard feelings and hoped I didn’t (big of him) because it was all just a bit of fun.
Maybe to you it was a bit of fun. To me it was two years of hell that undoubtedly affected my final GCSE grades and were the reason I couldn’t wait to get out of school at the age of 16 to go to college. Because I knew I’d be away from you then. So yeah, bit of fun. No hard feelings.
And yes maybe at school I passed some of the bullying I received down as some form of defence mechanism. I look back on that with some shame but I remember picking on a couple of the weaker kids because I was angry and frustrated at being bullied and nobody being brought to book for it. I remember when I returned to school after my suspension that I was presented with a list of bullying accusations by my deputy head in front of my parents and not given a chance to defend myself. If I had I’d have pointed out that the two people making those accusations were my two main tormentors who were summoned to his office while I was suspended and interviewed together and could just fire off every torrent of abuse they’d given to anybody and attributed them to me.
No hard feelings. Bit of fun.
I got through college. It was a tough time for me and I'm not sure how I did it, but I did. I had a succession of part time jobs and was sacked from one of them for "having an attitude" - which I undoubtedly did. I had the attitude that if we were 40 minutes late out because the assistant manager spent the evening chatting up the staff he fancied then he had no right to complain we were late finishing when we were finishing off their work. I had the attitude that him doing random security searches at 11pm at night because we'd been covering for people he'd been dossing with all evening wasn't really a good thing. So yes I had an attitude. Ironically 6 months after I left he was demoted and moved to another store for trying it on with female members of staff and having an attitude problem. He who laughs last and all that. I think that sense of right and wrong was instilled in me by my father. It's 25 years on and that still holds true. Do not antagonise a Spong with your injustices!
I'm going to keep this one short and pause at the age of 18 here. Next time I leave the comfy bosom of full time education and move into the world of work. As you can imagine that becomes something of a culture shock to me.
Until next time,