Monday, August 22, 2011

When You Feel Like the Bullies are Winning: For Kevin

Today, I'm making you soup.

I'm not sure if it's your favorite soup, but I do know that when I make it, you come bounding into the kitchen exclaiming about the wonderful smells that are wafting through the house. It's been a hard summer for you, and if making soup and fresh biscuits, taking you out to Vancouver to Food Network tapings or to pick up tomatoes to can will keep you happy and free from boredom, I'm all too happy to oblige.

Being a teenager is hard. For you, it seems, especially hard. I can't even imagine having to deal with what you do. After kids in the community made false claims about you then laughed in your face, I understand now why you don't want to venture to the corner store for a soda because perfect strangers come up to you and try to discuss the rumors. Or why you only visit your friend that lives a good drive away, which is just far enough from the jerks who have made it their sole mission to keep you feeling lost and afraid.

I know now, because I was with you on Friday. I saw the boy saunter up to us, give you a sneer, and begin taunting you in the middle of the produce aisle, while the adult male with him watched. At first I didn't know who he was, until you said his name.

My eyes narrowed, and I became the Mama Bear.

The kid and adult fast tracked it away from us once they had to deal with me, and were out of the store before I even knew where they went, but the damage was done. You didn't leave my side the entire time we were in the store.

The bullies think they are winning. Some days, like when I phone the RCMP to tell them our story, only to be told that the whole thing is very "conspiracy theory" and that "kids would never do that", I think they are too. People say that they can only ask the kids to stop, but nobody can make them. People who spout rhetoric about anti-bullying policy and tell me how there are going to be workshops soon for Social Services, RCMP, and schools on how to work together against bullying.

We know now that pink shirt day is nothing but words, and that those workshops are simply acts to make the public think that something is being done, when in fact it's not.

I've raised hell. I'm continuing to raise hell-there are letters to be written, complaints to be filed, and I'm employing everything I ever learned advocating for you with schools to make this stop. I will not back down until things are made right, no matter how long it takes.

I know it doesn't fix right now. I know you've hated this summer, being stuck in the house because you are worried that you'll run into someone who will beat you up the second you step outside the door, and so you've stopped hanging out with friends, being out in the woods, etc. These are the years where you should be out with friends and instead you quit doing everything you used to, and even left public school.

So right now, I make you soup because I know that it makes your day better, and remind you that you have something that those bullies don't have. Something that they probably have always longed for but has been unattainable, and is likely why they lash out at you.

You have two parents who love you beyond reason and will fight for you, no matter what happens. It will get better, and when this storm passes, you will look back and be stronger for it. We will never leave you to face this alone, and no matter what asshole gets in your face to make you feel small, we will be by your side standing tall because three are harder to break than one.

I promise.

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