I was bullied pretty mercilessly in grammar school. A lot more than most people – even my siblings – know. I’ve kept it inside – no real reason to bring up shit that happened over 50 years ago, but this morning every single bit of it came flooding back to me.
In school I was called fag, queer, fatso. Books pushed out of my hands, punched when no one was looking. I wasn’t cool by any stretch of the imagination. Freckles, braces, and glasses were my best attributes. I wasn’t any good at sports, couldn’t throw a ball for shit. Last one picked for anything – usually by default. Oh, yeah… I was also a straight A student. I was Mr. Popular, alright.
To say that I hated school would be an understatement. I feigned sickness constantly to keep from having to go to school. I’d put hot washcloths on my forehead to pretend I had a fever. I’d put my finger down my throat to throw up – although often I’d throw up just thinking about having to go. One of my best tricks was falling up the stairs. My bedroom was downstairs and I’d pretend to run up the stairs and slip and fall. What I was really doing was sitting in my room trying to break my wrist so I’d have to go to the hospital – and then blame falling up the stairs for how it happened.
Pretty drastic shit, eh?
By 8th grade I was beyond it all. I had begged my parents to let me go to public school with the neighborhood kids to no avail. At Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house in Bakersfield, I asked her if I could live with her and go to school down there. Grandma finally interceded and really let my parents know I was seriously unhappy. In the middle of the 8th grade I transferred from Catholic School to Public School.
That solved one set of problems but didn’t help with the budding knowledge that I actually was gay. I tried suppressing that one to the point where I thought it better if I just killed myself rather than let anyone find out. 13 years old and thinking about killing myself because I really was that fag – that queer that I had been called.
And there was just nothing worse than being a queer. Nothing.
I worked through it. I hid my sexuality fairly well and when I finally came out, it was in a rainbow blaze of glory. That scared little kid got locked away and I never looked back.
Until today. I think in retrospect the little kid has been peeking out ever since Trump entered the race for the Presidency. He’s been the ultimate bully since he started screaming for Obama’s birth certificate 8 years ago. Actually, longer than that. He’s been a bully all of his life and yesterday, our formerly great nation validated his bullying by electing him President.
A man who bragged about grabbing pussy was elected President. His election validated every kid who ever bullied me. Every kid who has ever bullied any other kid. His election validated every racist, bigoted, misogynistic fuckwad in the country – because we elevated one of them to the highest office in the land.
This morning I became that little kid, again. I felt the sickness, the terror, the feeling of dread. Feelings that I can’t really describe. Classic PTSD. I was reliving the bullshit I went through as a child, feelings coming out that haven’t surfaced in over 50 years.
I wanted to call in to work, but I knew I had to get out of the house and face it. It was one of the longest, most difficult days I have ever spent. Fortunately, I have a great boss and I work with some really stellar people. They got me through it. And I’ll get through it tomorrow, and the next day and the next – because I have to.
Not for me. I’ll get through it for all of those little kids who are being bullied, who need someone to stand up for them. To be an example – a survivor.
Because electing that man has opened up the floodgates. Everyone is free game. Women, the disabled, the differently-abled, gay, lesbian, transgendered, Muslim, Mexican – anyone other than faux-christian-white – is now a target – with the blessings of the people of these formerly United States.
Joseph de Maistre so eloquently stated: Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. Every nation gets the government it deserves.
And I think we’re about to find that out.
So please spare me your bullshit about respecting the Office of the Presidency and working together and every other bit of tripe I have heard these past 12 hours. For 8 years I heard people state that Obama wasn’t their President. Well, the tables are turned. Trump isn’t MY president.
I don’t respect bullies.
And I don’t vote for them.
And I don’t respect people who vote for them.