Inauguration

I have been wrestling with myself as to whether or not to write this post. It’s a very difficult topic for me and involves memories that are shameful. I don’t like to talk about this, because part of me never wanted to let them know they got to me… that they hurt me… but they did.

Every woman wants to have been the cheerleader, homecoming queen, the popular girl with lots of boyfriends. Nobody wants to admit to being the goat – the one targeted and bullied, who spent their school years isolated and ostracized. Yet, if I’m telling my story truthfully, I was the later. Smart, introverted, overweight, and from a family thought of as a bunch of goody-two-shoes, I was the perfect target, and even those who didn’t actively participate, did nothing to defend me, because as long as the bullies were pointed at me, they were safe.  At a time when a child is trying to understand who they are and how they fit into the world, I got a very clear message. The answer to those questions were, 1) you are unlikable and 2) you fit in nowhere. That was the concrete that got poured into my foundation.

In the midst of all those years of utter hell and the destruction of my self worth, there was one bully that stood out. He had issues with my older brother, but obviously found me to be a far easier target. He went out of his way to make my life miserable on a regular basis. One day he grabbed me by the collar and shoved me up against the bleachers, accusing me of snitching to my parents. This was a 17 year old boy, shoving a 14 year old girl up against the bleachers. I had no idea what he was talking about and eventually he believed me, but he threatened me with violence if he found out differently. Despite the gym being full of people on lunch hour, not one person stepped in to help.

These bullying experiences had a lasting effect. I may look like everyone else. I go through life doing most of the same things as everyone else, but that’s just a projected image on the outside of the thick and high walls that protect me. Inside, past my defences, there are broken gaping holes of insecurity and anxiety, and a sense of never belonging. That is the damage of bullying. Damage that never heals.

It’s what makes me so aware of bullies when I see them. When Celebrity Apprentice first started I found it amusing. Then I saw a documentary called “You’ve Been Trumped” and watched Trump use his power and money to destroy the livelihood of a farmer, not unlike my father, simply because he wanted that man’s family farm and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It was sickening. Trump was a bully through and through. I never watched Celebrity Apprentice again, but I did watch him bully people in twitter feuds. I saw him reduce women’s worth, even his daughters, to a set of physical attributes he found pleasing. We’ve listened to him brag about how his power allows him to assault women. During the election he engaged in typical bullying behavior of assigning a nickname and then repeating it so often that eventually so does everyone else. It didn’t matter if it was accurate, it stuck. Anyone who praises him, he loves. Anyone who criticizes him, is attacked. And anyone who can’t see that this man is a bully has their eyes willfully shut. Yet once again, I watched people close their eyes and line up behind him, because at least his bullying is pointed elsewhere, and he’ll leave them alone. It’s hard not to take it personally when friends and family choose to support the bully.

So, at this point you may be wondering, “What does all this have to do with the Inauguration? You know, your title.” For that I have to go back again to my high school bully. When my bully was leaving school, all the students were called to the gymnasium for a mandatory assembly to watch him be inducted into the military. I sat on the bleachers, the very ones he had shoved me up against, and listened as military officers and school administrators gave speeches about what a good man and patriot he was for enlisting. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream. He wasn’t any of the things they were saying. He was abusive, he was a bully, and he was being rewarded for it.

I was forced to watch back then, but I will not watch this time. I will not watch a bully be praised. I will not watch a bully win. So, call me unpatriotic if you want, but I will NOT watch the inauguration.You go right ahead and watch a truly awful human being take over the reins of this country, but I will not.

For me, and hopefully for others who have been wounded by bullies, I would like us to make 1/20 about our own inauguration. Let’s inaugurate in a new era. An era where we reclaim our self worth. One where bullies from the past lose their power over us, because we finally choose to stand up to this bully and fight for those he would harm, even though no one did that for us.

So the day of the inauguration, my TV will be off, and the day after, I’ll be marching with hundreds of other women in my city and millions across this nation. We will not let this bully, who now is the most powerful man in the world, do the kind of damage to others that has been done to us.

Because my bully did teach me one valuable lesson. During one confrontation he had his fist back ready to strike because I refused to get out of his sight. I don’t know where I found the courage, but I stood, unmoving, and stared him down. After a few tense moment, he turned, walked away, and never really bothered me again.

If we stand up to Trump, he will back down. Bullies always do.

 

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8 comments

  • Pam

    I know this was a hard post to write. A community member wrote this opinion piece in our local paper. It also references the school community:
    “Based on what he has said on tape, PresElect DT could not get a job as a substitute teacher. Substitute teachers can’t have bragged on tape that they have grabbed women by the genitals. Based on what America’s intelligence agencies may know about him at this point, neither could he receive the necessary security clearance to hear his own briefings. Intelligence agencies can’t hire or grant clearance to someone for whom credible evidence exists that foreign powers have compromising information.” That caught my attention. He could not work in our schools. So this is not a joke. DT can indeed continue be a celebrity playboy. But in what sense is he suitable to be employed in the White House? E.B.”

    And I don’t know whether this is true, but I read this: “If you are planning to boycott the inauguration on January 20, DO NOT TURN YOUR TELEVISION OFF!!!!! Turn all the TVs in your house to OTHER channels. Otherwise, your intent will be defeated. TVs have to be ON and TUNED ELSEWHERE for it to show that you didn’t watch.” Have you heard this? It’s hard for me to see how this would be monitored, but in the age of smart tv…who knows.

    Joining with other women marching will be an amazing thing. I hope you find strength and solidarity.

    • Lynette Nelson

      It was not easy. I find it so ridiculous that Billy Bush lost his job, yet the guy doing the talking is going to be the president. I am really looking forward to the march. I’ll be walking with so many wonderful women. Wish you could join us.

    • Cody

      Pam I did not even think of that but you are right. They count viewers by counting the TVs that are on then tallying where the viewers are watching. It’s the equivalent of not going to the polls to vote!

      • Lynette Nelson

        But do they do that if you don’t have a Nielsen box? I’ll probably be streaming stuff, but I rarely watch network anyway. I figure if I’m getting my signal over the air, they’re not tracking it, but I don’t know how this new tangled TV stuff works. 🙂

  • Abbe

    Lynette, Thank you for sharing this. It shows your strength, your wisdom and your inner power. I am so very proud to call you my friend.

    • Lynette Nelson

      Thank you Abbe. I am so grateful for your friendship and having landed in such a sweet, soft spot at work. Looking forward to your birthday celebration and the march!

  • Cody

    Lynette,

    Thanks for your courage in telling this story. I believe This damage CAN heal and you are doing it now. You are not alone. I am swelling with pride as I see my FB feed alive with people who will be marching in DC and elsewhere. I can thank Mr. Trump for waking me and others up to what our values are and how we will stand up for them. Way to stand!

    • Lynette Nelson

      It has been encouraging to see people wake up and start to take part. The other silver lining is that it has, in some ways, it has made me far more present. I notice so many sweet moments of life and recognize that I don’t know how much longer they will last.

      And you’re probably right. I have felt a little more healed since I posted. I admitted I was a loser (hee hee) and the sky did not fall. None of my friends disowned me. In fact, many have come forward to admit privately that they were bullied too. It’s been healing. Thank you for your friendship. Miss you guys at BMZC.

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