Thursday, July 9, 2015

Junior High

 Some people tell me that they are amazed about what a good memory I have.  It comes from training.  When I was training to be an actor, I had to bring up memories to use as character development for plays.  I worked long and hard to increase my memory power.  Good actors do this all the time.  It is called "sense memory".  I say that to say this:  I do not remember a lot about my experiences in junior high, because I have blocked most of it out.  Much of it is a blur.  I remember a few things out of necessity.  Why? 
 I was bullied.  I was beat up every day for three years.  The key to the bullying was for the bully not to draw blood or for me to have any visible bruises.  It was almost like a science.  There was the physical abuse, but also the mental abuse.
 The physical abuse came in many forms:  being thrown down steps; punched; kicked; being thrown into bushes; spat on; being stuffed into lockers; and whatever other creative ways they could think of.  In my eighth grade annual, I marked all of the kids who had done something to me.  Most of the kids were marked.  Some of their pictures were blackened out by me.  Sometimes, I would tell my teachers about the abuse.  The bully would get into trouble, and then I would be beaten worse after school by the bully, so I learned not to tell and just take it.  The bullies thought it was funny.  I think there were about 6 main bullies that beat me up on a regular basis, but there were a lot more who joined in.  Some of them stemmed from the 6th grade scandal, when I told on them for fixing the fight between Tom and me.  But, many of the bullies did not know me prior to 7th grade.  On one occasion that I remember, I was standing in a line of boys in P.E. class, and the bully behind me started spitting on the back of my legs.  He continued to do it, until I could not take anymore, and I turned around and spit on his stomach.  The teacher saw what I did, and I was called into his office after class and was paddled by him with a big fraternity paddle.  He said, "Bend over and grab your ankles."  So much for responding to the bully.   On a Saturday, a friend and I were walking down a road in our neighborhood, when we were confronted by three of the bullies.  They told my friend not to do anything, and then they threw me into a rose bush, which cut me up.  I went home, and told my Mother.  She called the police.  The police "investigated" and determined that "boys will be boys".  Oddly, one of those bullies grew up to be a decorated police officer.  My parents also learned that they could do nothing. 
 The mental abuse was a bit more.  I was told that I was no good.  Nobody liked me.  I had very few friends.  Even one science teacher, during an experiment where I was to report my findings, told me that my findings were wrong, and I could not have seen what I did.  I had a cyst on the back of my ear, which was full of pus and blood.  I had very bad acne during this time.  One of the kids drew a cyst hanging from my ear to the ground on the blackboard before class.  Everyone laughed.  The teacher came into class and asked why everyone was laughing.  Someone pointed to the board.  She started laughing too. 
 My parents saw the toll this was taking on me, but they didn't know the half of it.  I did have one friend, who I knew from church.  Her name was Gayle.  (She passed away a few years ago)  Gayle recognized that I had a talent for writing, music and acting.  She suggested that I use my talents to escape from the bullies.  I took her advice, and that is how I really began my creative journey.
 Meanwhile, the bullies continued.  In the 9th grade, I got the bright idea to design a robot, which would protect me from the bullies.  I drew this robot, which would stand 4 ft. tall and would send out lasers to hurt the bullies.  As they were about the beat me up again, I pulled out the drawing of the robot, and explained to them that I would unleash the robot on them.  They started to believe me, because they knew I had a high IQ.  Of course, the robot didn't exist.  But, I did buy some time from getting beat up.  But one day, the bullies called my bluff and wanted to see the robot.  Of course, I couldn't produce it, so the time lost from them not beating me up was added to the beatings, and they got worse. 
 I think I could tell you one or two more stories, but you get the picture.  One interesting side note to all of this happened in 2001.  I went to my 30th high school reunion.  Mainly on a dare.  I saw some of the bullies from junior high there at that party.  I didn't say anything to them, and they didn't say anything to me.  About a week later, I got an email from one who said that he had seen me at the party and was too ashamed to come over and say hello.  He had remembered what he and the others had done to me, and he felt remorse.  He apologized to me, and asked for forgiveness.  I forgave him, and now we are good friends.  Time heals some wounds. 

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