Thursday, October 14, 2010


I referenced the "It Gets Better" project a couple of days ago. With all the media coverage of bullying and the recent suicides of gay kids I'm so happy to hear the coverage of positive, successful people (who just happen to be gay). Then I heard this story on NPR Tuesday.

Go. Listen. I'll wait.

And it got me thinking about my own journey into being a 45 year old lesbian. And how it did, indeed, get better. And it got me thinking about bullies. And how, on one hand, I was extremely lucky. I didn't have many bullies. There were a few women in college who did what girls do – they spread rumors. They talked trash. They made it a discomfort to live in my skin.

And, as is often the case, most of them have turned out to be lesbians too.

On the other hand, I did have one bully who made me afraid. Only one person who physically threatened me. Only one person who had power and didn't hesitate to use it to dominate me, intimidate me and torment me into submission.

My only bully was my father.

Even now, there is dithering and reluctance in writing those words. "Maybe I'm remembering wrong. . . Maybe that's what he said, but not what he meant. . . Maybe bully isn't the right word. . ."

bully 1 |ˈboŏlē|

noun ( pl. -lies)

a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

It was bullying.

I was 17 and didn't have a car. I worked at Burger King so every day I needed a ride. He picked me up one afternoon after work and drove around the countryside. Talking. I was locked in a moving vehicle.
You know that tornado that destroyed all the houses in our neighborhood last week? The one that just came out of nowhere and was gone in seconds? That was God trying to get your attention. God hates you and your "lifestyle." You're lucky no one was hurt or killed in that tornado. Their blood would have been on you.
Later that same summer, after getting a phone bill with long distance calls to the woman I had been in a relationship with. Again, in the car.
What will people think of me? You know, I should kill you with my own hands. I should break your neck. But you know what would happen if I did that? Your blood would be on me. God would be displeased with me. . .
Is that bullying? Someone who "uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker." Of course it is.

But there is good news. It got better. The number one way to get rid of a bully is to simply walk away. Quit listening to their verbal assaults. Stop believing their lies and live your truth. It's common for a bully to prey on those who are strong and independent. It gives them a target for their aggression that doesn't easily fold or quit.

Just hang in there. It always gets better. Or, in my case with all those women at college, they will eventually come out too. . .


Frank Wilson said...

That was painful to write. I'm proud of you.

Ami said...

I'm sorry for the wounds left in your heart by a person who should have treasured you and built you up.