Kids can be mean. I do believe they are a product of their environment a.k.a parents. If parents would teach tolerance and empathy of differences, I bet there would be less bullying in our schools... and maybe I'm pushing it but maybe even less hate crimes. I am not saying this book would change the world but possibly the message would.
Let me share a personal story with you.
When I think of the word “school”, I automatically get this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. It feels as if I’m in the movie Alien and an alien is trying to erupt out of my stomach. Being born with a disability made me a constant target. I might as well have had a flashing neon sign over my head that said, “Pick on me. I love it!” The bullying in high school haunts me today. I can’t hear the word “dinosaur” without wanting to throw up. My heart breaks when I see the news and hear about a bullied teen taking their life… but I get it. I’ve been in those shoes and it hurts.
Bullies in Valley View High School gave me a nasty nickname that hurt deep down in my soul. T-rex. One minute word made a colossal impression on my life. I dreaded when class would end because I knew it was time to walk the hall to the next class. I am certain that my anxiety would have been less if I was walking the “last mile”. Boys would literally hunt me in the halls as if they were in the movie Jurassic Park and I was the dangerous Tyrannosaurus rex. These young, piddling punks would pretend to have guns. They would pop out behind lockers and shoot. “Get the T-rex before she eats us!” They then would scatter, laughing and taking a little bit of my soul with them.
I learned to cope by eating my feelings. I’d go home and eat the fattiest food I could get my hands on. If it was fried and a carbohydrate, it was consumed. When I went to college, I thought it would be over. I thought those battles were over. One day, I overheard my dorm neighbor tell her friend that I looked like a T-rex trying to buckle my seat belt. (Earlier that week I rode in her car for the first time to pick up some groceries.) The anguish I felt while walking the halls of high school came flooding back. I felt like an already unstable dam had broken and consumed a small town within seconds. I was crushed.
Bullying has been a big part of my life and I still battle myself and the past on a daily basis. I still get anxious when some young kid stares at me so intently that I want to offer him a tissue to wipe his drool. I’ll never be able to watch Jurassic Park, again. I even threw out some dinosaur pajamas that someone gave my daughter. The hurt is still there and probably won’t go away in this lifetime. It helps ease the pain to know I am not alone and that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and who made me to serve a purpose here on earth.