the girl with the long blonde hair
If I had just stopped running and turned towards them, I wonder what would have happened. I wonder if my legs would have been shaky, or if I would have winded myself from running so hard if I had just stopped. I wonder if maybe I would have still ended up in a cubicle in the girls toilet holding an umbrella over my head while they poured water from their bottles all over me.
Now, looking back, I can see that it was mostly just a game to them and that the fun was all in the chase, and that they were the hunters and I, the prey. If I had stopped sooner, and said NO MORE, I think maybe things would have ended differently.
It makes you think. It makes me wonder what is really a joke and what crosses the line.
It makes me wonder if it is okay for someone to write (horrible, shameful, corny) love letters to other boys pretending to be you, and tells you they were just kidding.
If it is okay for someone to take advantage of your mother’s strictness to tease you and bully you, to try and pour water over your dry clothes to get you in trouble (resulting in you sitting in a cubicle in the girls toilet with an umbrella over your head to protect yourself, because you are that terrified of what would happen if your mum collected you in wet clothes and you stupidly mentioned that fact to them) and to later tell you they were just kidding.
I DON’T THINK SO.
I don’t think that “just kidding!” is a blanket term that can be applied to any statement because I think it all depends on what kind of statement you are making. The kinds of things that happened to me when I was being bullied, the kinds of things they said about me and derogatory things at that…it’s not okay to add the “just kidding” disclaimer at the end of those. Especially if you have just said to someone that they are ugly, boring, fat, disgusting, stupid, a prude, frigid (I was twelve for gods sake!!), or if you have mercilessly teased and bullied them. It’s likely to be totally misconstrued and interpreted as an insult, or a form of aggression/bullying.
So if someone says something derogatory to you, no matter how good of a friend they are or pretend to be, “just kidding” is a massive cop out and you should not be okay with it. No matter what the mood is, fun or otherwise, they just insulted you, and then tried to get out of it by saying “just kidding!” and trying to make a joke of it. They might even be a close friend but taken a joke too far, saying “Aw come on, I was just kidding!”. They are trying and get out of it and remain in your good books. (Come on, you and I both know that they were not “just kidding”.)
When tagged on to that kind of surprising statement, it will leave that person wondering what you really think of them, and worse, maybe even wondering what they should think of themselves. Like I did. It was just another form of bullying, but a crueler, more emotionally manipulative kind.
It’s not okay.
was am beautiful.
When I finished primary school/middle school, I am lucky that I found some kind of inner strength to break free of that group of girls. I said no more to them, to bullying, to comparing myself against them with all the things they had and could do and the things I didn’t have and couldn’t do.
I distinctly remember telling myself that I was turning over a new leaf, it was a new beginning for me and that I was going to be different. I cut all my hair off and I took charge of my body image as much as I could. It was a small step towards independence for me, but one that I desperately needed.
I spent the first few years of high school bouncing between friends until I met some pretty rock solid people who are still my best friends to day. I am not sure if they realise that to me at least, they saved me. They loved me for me, and continue to love me today and for that I am eternally grateful.
I am lucky that the girls who were “just kidding” around with me didn’t irreparably scar me for life, as they so easily could have. Bullying always leaves its mark, but it could have been much worse.
Bullying is still such a major part of children’s lives. Hopefully, awareness of the dangers it poses is helping more parents and teachers respond better, and I hope that by the time I have children they will not suffer from bullying, and that I will know how to help them. My teacher and my parents had no idea what to do, and because they didn’t know how to support me, or what to I became withdrawn and shut down.
It’s important to be aware that some kinds of kidding around are not really funny at all. On the other hand, something like this (I think) is an example of when it is okay to say “just kidding” …mostly because it is a statement about me that is not going to/designed to hurt anyone.
Always be mindful of what you are saying. Everyone is fighting their own kind of battle and even if you are “just kidding”, someone might interpret what you say in a completely different way.