So November was Anti-Bullying Month. I love this. Mostly because I was weird kid. Slightly chubby, no boyfriends, arty. Thing is, I pretty much figured out how to keep from emotional harm at school. Making people laugh was my survival tactic – I became an expert at dodging tongue daggers. Looking back, this might have actually helped me become a better actor. All in all, I feel lucky because high school was a pretty nice experience.
Recently at a friend’s birthday party I ran into a girl I went to junior high and high school with. She’s now a filmmaker. Super intense, eccentric, kinda dark. Her Art comes across as the opposite of what I make in the world, but after talking to her I found that we make things for very similar reasons.
We weren’t close at school. Different circle of friends, but I always thought she was nice. But holy jesus, did this girl get bullied. Think of that one kid in school who got it the worst. This was her. She was tormented all the way till graduation. We got into a discussion at the party and one of the first things she said to me was, “Thank you for not being mean to me”. I started to cry. I knew it was bad for her then, but holy shit I could suddenly see how now, even at 40, she still carried those memories with her clearly. Those kids shaped a part of her. I apologized anyways and told her I wish I would have stuck up for her more. I explained how I was too busy eating and pretending not to be gay. She laughed.
I very recently made peace with the one school bully I had. He apologized. Almost 25 years later, it was lovely to have perspective on how everything he razzed me for actually had nothing to do with me. The guy was just unhappy and it became my problem. I had a lot of respect for him when he said he was sorry. The teenage kid in me smiled and high-fived him.
If anything, I guess November is a reminder that being nice is AWESOME. It makes a difference, guys. Truly. So I dunno – maybe find your high school bully on facebook and forgive them for being an asshole. Or, say I’m sorry to someone that you might have treated really poorly. Maybe there’s someone in your life now that you give a hard time to – or vice versa. Adults bully each other too, but I think they just call it by a different name.