Today we have Brenda Perlin talking about how bullying has effected those she cares about and the inspiring way that one ten year old boy dealt with it and helped others in the process.
Before I was considering writing Ty the Bull, a short story about dealing with bullies I was spending quite a bit of time on the weekends with ten year old Rex, my boyfriends grandson. Even though he was a happy, well-adjusted boy, I began to notice a sadness about him. He was losing some of his spark and it clearly showed.. His parents had just gone through a divorce and he had to move to a new house and a new school. He could no longer hang out with his old friends and he was feeling a new sense of loneliness.
He would constantly share stories with me about how he was endlessly being picked on. It began at school but continued at home by the neighborhood thugs. None of these kids seemed to discriminate. They bullied him over the silliest of things. I couldn’t imagine what they could find to pick on such a handsome, good hearted kid, but Rex said they found plenty of things.
“They think my name is a joke. They tell me my hair is goofy the way it stands up in the front and they say I walk funny,” Rex told me as a big frown spread across his face.
It was as they were blindly picking reasons to make his life miserable. As much as he tried to fit in, he became an outcast and made to believe he was not as good as the other kids. I hated hearing his stories and I wished I could have taken all of these children to side and question their actions but of course that was not an option.
It was during this time that I decided to work with Rex on a story, a fictional story based on his life. Most of it we would take from Rex’s experience. I talked to fiction writer, KD Emerson and she agreed to use her creative mind to give this tale an uplifting ending, which she managed to achieve.
Rex was enjoying the attention he was getting from my friends on Facebook and the Ty the Bull blog. He loved the accolades and all the fuss. I think the telling of his story was liberating for him. Therapeutic even.
Rex shared his experiences with me, detailing many of the fights he had to endure and some of the mean things the kids said. Maybe from hearing it out-loud, he realized it wasn’t his problem, it was the kids who said all the nasty things.
We did some blog posts together and made some Youtube video’s sharing his experience. He liked that telling his story would be helping others. He discovered that is was more rewarding to give than to receive. Suddenly he didn’t feel so alone, a message he began to share with others. It became empowering and he started to become more confident.
On the blog we began selling his bracelets that he made, he loved making some of his own money! Made him feel like a businessman, he told me. He also liked that people were making a fuss over him and he began to walk around with a lot more self-assurance than he did before.
He now realizes that the bullies didn’t know what they were talking about. They had it wrong. His new confidence told him he was just fine the way he was, funny hair and all.
As always if you have experienced bullying, or have been frustrated by plagiarism, can vent or leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.