So the other day I received a very peculiar Facebook message from a name I didn’t recognise. The young chavy man was asking me to perform sexual acts on him, described in the most ill informed and derogatory ways.
I pondered on how to respond or whether simply to ignore it. As the day went on however I suddenly remembered the name was from a boy I had gone to secondary school with. Secondary school is a period of my life I have made every effort to erase from my memory. The boy, let’s call him ‘X’ was quite quiet, from a rough background, with the intelligence of a grasshopper and hung around in a gang of boys who regularly bullied me and made my time at school a hell.
Having moved on from those years of being a meek and mild geek, to the confident, self assured man I am now, I felt it was only right that I stand up for myself. I had spent years walking away from bullying and hoping it’d stop, yet it never happened. Now was my chance to nip it in the bud.
I replied to ‘X’ by killing with kindness; I thanked him for his message and informed him that I had to decline the offer, yet wish him well in his search for a filthy rodgering.
After a few hours later he replied slightly baffled by my response pointing the blame at another perpetrator who had apparently made him send this message. This person, let’s call him ‘Y’ was a much meaner bully at school. This changed things and made me even more furious at the audacity of their vulgar messages.
At school, ‘Y’ was one of the boys who lead a petition against having to share a changing room with me in P.E. lessons, because I was rumoured to be gay. The teachers completely ignored what was happening and turned a blind eye to my harassment. One even described it as ‘character building’ for me.
Like many gay teens, I made every effort to minimise my exposure to the changing rooms and the boisterous mob mentality that often comes with it. I would be the first out of the changing rooms before class and last one in afterwards. I’d often volunteer to help pack away the equipment in order to delay the ordeal. Over time this simply allowed the bullies more time to make my life a nightmare. Too many times did I return to the changing rooms to find my clothes and school bags thrown in the ice cold showers, or my bag emptied on the floor and the boys had taken turns walking it’s contents in their muddy trainers. In the 5 years of secondary school I had 3 watches smashed, numerous books ruined and on two occasions spent the rest of the school day in my P.E. kit whilst my soaking wet clothes dried off in the nurses office. I suffered such humiliation I refused to back down this time.
I therefore replied with as much sarcasm as I could muster to explain that I always knew ‘Y’ had had a soft spot for me, but I am not interested, so asked ‘X’ if he’d be a doll and let ‘Y’ down gently for me. That’s a good boy.
The response was short and sweet, “Fuck you bum boy.” No thanks, moron.
What I can’t understand is why on earth did either of these people, who I have not seen nor heard of me in over 6 years, feel the need to contact me and attempt to bully me again. How dare they. They don’t know me at all.
I mentioned the situation on my twitter and facebook and received a tremendous reaction. I thank every one of you who sent a message of support and concern. I wasn’t particularly upset by the situation, simply angry it was still happening. I wished I had had the strength to do more to beat the bullies while at school. ‘X’ and ‘Y’ were the big men on campus back then, now they are shelf-stackers at Lidl in a town we coined ‘Beastly Eastleigh’. Thank God for karma.
One message of support I received really touched me. It was surprisingly from my younger brother.
Over the last few years we haven’t really been close and only seem to communicate when I’m back home visiting or on birthdays and Christmas. We are completely different people and have very little in common but I desperately want us to build a relationship again before we drift too far apart.
Anyway, he sent me a message wanting to know exactly who had said what to me and told me that he’d deal with it. As you can probably guess I’m the brains, he is the brawn. I assured him I was fine and could handle the situation. After a few more messages he finally backed down.
The knowledge my brother was still willing to defend and stand up for me was really eye opening. Because I was being so bullied a school for being gay I never really took the time to think what he had to deal with. Not only did he have to cope with the knowledge of a gay brother, but also with seeing people bully me, plus have people pick on him because he’s got a gay brother.
I think that is one of the reasons why we aren’t as close anymore. I think he is partly angry at me for putting him in that situation. I am furious that he had to experience that at school. However regardless of what’s happened in the past, his willingness to stand up against the bullies for me now gave me strength.
I was bullied pretty much every day for 5 years. It was a shit time for me. But some good has come out of it. Not only am I stronger now, but I also going to start building bridges with my brother.