The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: bullying

I was a teenage bully.

{Mom, don’t read this one.}

The issue of bullying has reached a new pinnacle of importance with the recent news story of Karen Klein, the elderly bus monitor from Greece, N.Y., who was verbally tormented and even physically assaulted on video by several middle school boys on her school bus.

Bullying is never okay. NEVER. But there is something particularly sinister about a grandmother being on the receiving end of such merciless disrespect.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, I’m going to warn you, it will turn your stomach. I’d rather watch a live kitten be dissected than watch someone get bullied.

But maybe that’s because I was a teenage bully and seeing it from the eyes of a much older and wiser adult fills me with a deep sense of shame and regret.

Photo of Leslie in 7th grade wearing a Members Only jacket and sporting a mullet.

I may have looked like Kristy McNichol, but I was a sad little girl (with a mullet and a Members Only jacket.)

The first time I remember bullying someone was in 5th grade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My friends and I were walking home from school and I decided to show off by verbally harassing a younger girl who was walking ahead of us alone. She had a funny last name and I specifically remember teasing her about it and shouting derogatory names at her the whole way home.

It was despicable. I wish I could go back in time and throttle ten-year-old me.   Continue reading

…and that’s how we’re coping with a bully.

Four things:

1.) Thank you for not reporting me to D-FACS yesterday for my blatant child neglect and endangerment in the public ladies’ room. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, yo.

2.) As a reward for your loyalty and/or lack of squeamishness, I’d like to offer you a visual treat. Two thirds of my children made the following 35 second video on their own when I asked them to go upstairs and tidy up the hallway as part of their chores. It’s friggin’ brilliant, if I do say so myself. And I do. Especially because I had nothing to do with it and have no idea how they did this!

3.) Not surprisingly, the brainchild behind this video is my oldest, Nature Boy. He’s my 11 year old “practice child” whose face has never gotten within 18 inches of a feminine hygiene receptacle. Perhaps the lack of blood-borne pathogens in his system has something to do with his brilliance. Shit.

4.) Nature Boy is being bullied at school by a total punk-ass-bitch who shall remain nameless. This asshole does things like get up and move from the cafeteria table as soon as Nature Boy sits down near him. It makes a mama’s blood boil, let me tell you. Yada, yada, yada, and last night Nature Boy tearfully lamented to me that he now thinks of himself  as “a nerd.”

This is music to my ears. I mean really, who ends up on top later in life, the bully or the nerd? Was Bill Gates a bully or a nerd? How ’bout every single President of the United States? (Okay, maybe not “W”… I have a feeling he was behind more than a few swirlies in high school.) You get my drift. But when you are 11, being unpopular feels like the end of the world. And it is heartbreaking to watch from the kitchen table.

So after I reassured my sweet boy that everything was going to be okay, he timidly asked me: “Mom, will being a nerd help me with my movie making?”

This actually made me chortle.  In fact, I may have accidentally spit some lasagna across the table.

“Oh. Hells. Yeah.” I feel like one of those cartoon characters with the cash-register dollar signs popping up over my eyeballs. Cha-ching!

Don’t worry, honey. “I’ll… be… right… here.” And remember your crazy-ass-mama one day when they are interviewing you for your True Hollywood Story on E! And if there is any justice in this world, your bully will be watching that interview in the prison cafeteria, alone, or better yet, sitting next to his Husband.

Happy Friday everyone!

with love, courage, hope, and some Chlorox disinfectant wipes,


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