I do not like bullies. I was bullied a lot when I was growing up. I was short, I was a geek, I drew a lot, I read comic books, I watched cartoons, went to the movies all the time, always had a camera making movies, collected toys, played video games, I was into acting, and I wrote Middle Earth fan fiction. I was very passionate about the geeky things that a lot of the people around me weren't. All of these things made me an easy target.
Jr. High was the absolute worst for me, though. I was constantly being jumped and beat up and at one point some kid actually stabbed me with a pencil. It wasn't just physically getting my ass kicked, though, I was constantly being belittled and emotionally beat down by these kids. It wasn't easy and my spirit was constantly being broken down.
I never really talked about this stuff when I was a kid, though. I always put on a happy face. I wanted everyone to think that I was ok. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I was happy! I was happy using my imagination and being creative. I buried myself in the stuff that I loved doing. But, there was always that sick feeling in my stomach when I went to school every day to face the onslaught of the villains in my life.
There were friends that stood up for me and helped if they were around, though. One, in particular, that really helped me get through those tough days.
Hell, to this day I still get bullied by people! It never ended. It's just easier to handle now than it was when I was a kid... or is it? I kind of did end up picking a profession that would invite bullies into my life, though. Sharing opinions on the internet is basically giving people a target to shoot at. But, even before that, it was happening. I was a victim of workplace bullying at a previous job, and I had a few other crazy experiences with people. For the most part, it hasn't really been that bad. Yeah, it sucks that people still resort to bullying tactics, I try not to take it too seriously, let it roll off my back, and move on with life. But, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it does kickstart high anxiety and deep depression in me at times. But, like I did when I was a kid, I just bury myself in the things that I love doing.
When I first started GeekTyrant there were a few writers from other movie blogs that bullied me to try to discourage me and force me to quit. One of them, who is very well known in the movie blogging community, threatened to ruin me and blackball me with the studios. Then just recently, someone didn't like an opinion I had and viciously attacked me on Twitter spitting out all kinds of hatefulness towards me.
I'm not writing this as an "oh, poor me, feel sorry for me" thing. Last year my daughter entered Middle School and it was so hard for me to see her come home from a hard day of other kids picking on her. She even fell victim to cyberbullying and all these kids plotting against her and calling her some of the vilest things. It sucked having to watch her go through that! I just did my best as a dad to be there for her to listen when she needed or wanted to talk. Of course, I always try to give her fatherly advice. I just hope that I'm helping in some way.
I've also been seeing a crazy amount of bullying and hatefulness being spewed on social media within the geek community. Bullying is a real problem and it's relevant to talk about, so that's why I decided to address the topic. I imagine that people who resort to bullying have their own issues to deal with. I just wish they didn't have to resort to taking their frustrations out on other people and making them feel like shit to make themselves feel better.
In the end, you never know what a person is going through in life. Someone may be having an extremely hard time with something and not be showing it on the outside. We should all strive to be nicer to each other. Sometimes even a friendly "hi" or a smile can make all the difference. Even if there is a disagreement, there are right and wrong ways of handling it and talking about it without resorting to belittling someone and making them feel bad about themselves seems like the all-around better option. People can talk about things and debate in a respectful manner and it's good to see that there are people who do that.
When I was attacked on Twitter recently I was in the middle of going through a family tragedy. So in the middle of the heartache and pain I was feeling, this person came in and punched me in the face with their cruelty. Why couldn't they have just approached me in a more respectful manner to discuss our differences in opinion? Why is spitting out hate the first resort? I could have attacked this person back and said a bunch of hateful things back, but I didn't. I responded in kindness and respect because that's how I would want to be treated.
There are kids and adults out there being bullied by others every day. Maybe some of you were bullied when you were growing up, maybe some of you are still experiencing it. I know this isn't something that is going to be fixed or go away, it's just human nature. But we can be the ones who do try and make a difference in this world by being the peacekeepers. Life is too short to let hate engulf us. Bill and Ted said it best with the quote, "Be excellent to each other."