We all grow up in a world where there are bullies. Most of us, if we are lucky, reach adulthood without too many scars. As a mom, I can now see that the physical scars aren’t really what caused the most damage. The real long-term harm came from the mean things people said and did along the way. Those mean words that planted themselves into our self-image. They play, like broken records, in our minds. The words that we adopt as our own, until we bully ourselves into submission.
My son has been bullied since he was in 2nd grade. The term bully congers up images of a big kid, with big-bad words, and even bigger fists. My son’s bully doesn’t really fit that description. For him, it’s a group of sweet little boys and girls who somehow, at the age of 7, decided that they would use their big words to call him gay. Let me repeat. Age 7. Over the years their faces have changed, but the mean-spirited and judgmental words have not. He’s now 10. Three years is a long time in the life of a 10 year old. That’s 30% of his life. If I can be so bold… WTF?
Yesterday he came home from school and told me that they’ve upped their ante. The playground monsters have now graduated from terms like: fashionista, gay, girly and girl – to a bigger word “bisexual”. What do 10 year olds even know about the term “bisexual”? And what has my 10 year old son done to deserve that label?
Let’s see… he plays the violin, sings in the state children’s chorale, loves art and his dream is to someday be a fashion designer. He works hard in school. He’s a good friend and advocate to other kids. He’s respectful. Okay, so his room is messy, he torments his sister and pushes the envelope at home… none of those things really speak to his sexuality. Nor should they. I repeat. He’s 10.
I think this topic will warrant follow up posts. For today, I’m gonna love on my son. Our home is his safe place.