Bullying Then And Now – A Look Back 40 Years Later

I feel privileged to have an audience and a voice that allows me to reach out and connect with the masses and those who know me are aware that I don’t take that blessing lightly. Today, I would like to take advantage of my virtual reach and share a story in hopes that it will touch you or reach the eyes of someone you know who may need to read it.

It’s a story of hope, perseverance and success as told through the eyes of someone who has “made it,” (as society often terms it) but will never forget where I came from. Today life is grand – a wonderful loving husband, 2 amazing beautiful children and a full-time RVing lifestyle that suits our every desire and more.

40 years ago, however, as a child who was the victim of bullying (a label that didn’t even exist way back then) life wasn’t always so rosy…

But deep inside, as I endured harassment from my classmates, my mother instilled a belief system that enabled me to prevail through many of life’s challenges.  And I owe a debt of gratitude to my now departed mother who effectively managed to have a deep, lasting impact on my mindset — allowing me to somehow always put things in the proper perspective — then and now.

As editor of my high school newspaper, it was a tradition to leave a “statement,” as a graduating Senior. Below I have reprinted my outgoing ‘letter from the editor’ that has stood the test of time and is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written from my heart at the age of 17 – through the eyes of a girl who was ready to face the world…

From 1982, “Comet Gazer” Newspaper – Immaculate Conception High School

Farewell Letter From The Editor:

First off, I could not summarize my high school life without giving due credit to the teachers at I.C.H.S. that have had such an influence on it. Through many a moan and groan I have survived Social Studies Skill I (my first real awakening!), the fateful English III term paper and “Podboy’s Class” which I feared was a dreaded disease which started in one’s junior year and didn’t end until graduation. Instead I found it to be one of the most informative and gratifying classes I was “forced” to take in those two years. (I can say that now without being labeled a “brown noser,” “apple polisher,” etc.)

 

Where I once saw assignments designed to keep me awake nights, and buried forever in books, I now see logical plans and formats for learning. I guess what I’m trying to say is THANK YOU to all of the teachers who gave me the opportunity to gain as well as grumble through four very educational years.

 

Secondly, I want to thank all of my classmates who over the years have taught me the lessons I’ve learned. Valuable lessons that no teacher could teach and cannot be found in any textbook. They are about life, about people, about finding oneself and over the last four years due to the “efforts” of many, I have found myself.

 

“The memories of yesterday will last a lifetime…” To those who were part of the “good memories,” you will always hold a special place in my heart. And, to those responsible for the “bad memoriesI owe you a debt of gratitude. Those who thought they were hurting me with their harsh words and actions were actually molding me into what I am.

 

The many painful hours that I went through were well spent, perhaps the best spent hours of my entire life. Because of you, I have grown and matured into a stronger person capable of accepting myself, as well as others, for what I am rather than what you wanted me to be.

 

I no longer look at life beyond the walls of I.C.H.S. through rose-colored glasses; I know what to expect and I have been more than prepared to face it. If it turns out to be better than I expect, and I am fortunate enough to encounter experiences more pleasant than those of the past, all the better, for I will then come to appreciate them even more.

 

As the final school bell rings, and I close my locker upon four years of my life I will get into my car and drive away for the last time. From the experiences both good and bad that have shaped my life, I will smile as I drive away and (as if just between God and I) silently whisper: “It was hard getter here, but I’m stronger just because it wasn’t easy!”

 

 

Fast forwarding to today, when I receive accolades about being accessible, down to earth, and the antithesis of a “guru,” I smile inside, because I know exactly what people are picking up on and why they are moved by who I am and what I do.

I know in my heart that as many other children in this world are facing the same challenges as I once did that they too are becoming stronger and developing a survival mindset that will serve them well as they go on to achieve untold success in their own lives.

Sometimes it only takes knowing that there is life beyond those “four walls,” and seeing where life took someone else who stood where they are standing today to give hope to someone in need.

My hope is that if this story touches one life, it will make all the difference in the world.

Please feel free to reprint this article or pass it on to someone who needs to read it. And do leave a comment if you feel moved to share your own personal story or message of hope.

To Your Infinite Evolution!
Stephanie (Lucas) Mulac

 

11 Responses to Bullying Then And Now – A Look Back 40 Years Later

  • Kathy Dobson says:

    You are so right Stephanie…this info is as relevent now as ever…thank you for sharing this with us.

    We couldn’t grow as individuals if we didn’t have the teachers we have in our lives…and the greatest of these are the ones who challenge us the most.

    Learning to deal with life and it’s flow is powerful growth and it seems you were wise enough to know this at an early age. I honor the positive effect and influence your mother had on you.

    Dealing with life from the right perspective changes everything. No longer are we impositioned by what we used to perceive as “negatives” are actually opportunities for growth 😉

    Not only are you wise Stephanie but you have the gift of communication.
    Keep these wonderful inspiring posts coming…
    Kathy xx

  • Maggie says:

    Very good that you have healed and learned something positive from your most difficult experiences. I just hope the bullies don’t take this as some sort of vindication though, being that they “helped” you be strong. I think it might have affected your math skills.

  • I, too, had both good and bad memories of high school. Because of the bullying I experienced, I became a different type of teacher through the years. When I witnessed kids being treated the way I had been, I immediately stepped in. I then was one of the four teachers who started our anti-bully program. Every time I helped a student who had been bullied, I remembered my tormentor.

    While what I experienced was nothing like what kids go through today, the memories can still be painful. Part of this can be turned around into a positive learning experience. What I worry about are the tormentors who never stop and now have social media to make bullying 24/7. Continued talking and awareness are the key!

    Thank you for sharing.
    Jane

  • Liz says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring letter, Stephanie! At the tender age of 17, you were wise beyond your years. And with this wisdom, as you were preparing to turn the page on that chapter of your life, you were able to turn poison into gold. This is the nature of true, spiritual alchemy – powerful and transformational. You left school stronger and wiser, with a forgiving heart, and maybe your message touched the hearts of those who read it and offered them a different way to interact in the world. You were already an awesome writer!

    Liz xxx

  • I too was bullied as a child and as a matter of fact I am even being bullied at age twenty seven. I understand it is hard and so I am sorry to hear your story, but hey you made it!

  • When in High School at Claremont High School, I was blessed to be in a class called Family Of Man. In this class we learned directly that all of us are human, have feelings, needs and are vulnerable. I truly know that the teachers that taught this class not only changed my life, saved the life of many,. In the years of adult formation much of our primary beliefs in ourselves are shaking. Let this message from you and from others be an encouragement to others to become a High School teacher that reaches out to the high school student to show them that although life seems like it exists within those 4 walls this part is temporary and there is so much more to come. One of the winners of the Sing Off shared this message last week, he was made fun of for his voice, which made him a world winner!!! Thank you for your commitment to share, spread, impact and affect the world, the kids and the teachers of the present for the future.

  • Lise says:

    It is true – when you go through adversity (which I have done also) it CAN make you stronger. My dear son, David, has ADHD and in his younger years, was unable to verbalize his frustration. He was bullied all through elementary and middle school – and to make it worse, there were a few teachers who also laughed at him! I didn’t know this till he told me some years later, but it made me very angry that people who were supposed to teach compassion and the right way to treat others, had joined in with the bullies.

    Since high school (where he had a much better time – the teachers AND students didn’t tolerate bullying) David has done a lot of inner work and he knows he is responsible for his own happiness and how he “feels”. At Thanksgiving, he got to see his father and extended family, and this is what he wrote about those “bad memories” – “As this day comes to a close I’m thankful life was hard for me when I was younger. I’m glad I suffered all that bs back in the day because it has turned me into a stronger and (somewhat) matured person. Be thankful for who you are because if you won’t, who will?”

    My hope is, he’ll continue to reflect and grow this way.

  • Daniel says:

    I was also a victim of severe bullying throughout the 1960s and 1970s in school. It warped me so much that I could not (nor can I still,) function as I should. Throughout the 1980s the bullying continued throughout employment from the decade. Today it leaves me socially challenged and am now living in abject poverty. I am now 52 years old, can’t find a job, let alone one that would give me a decent income. I wind up in situations with very shallow people to be caged up with and still get ganged up on. Two years ago was my last job when this sort of thing happened. I stand out as different and people will try to destroy this. I do not blame anyone as this is human nature. Albeit, I sit in a difficult place because I am physically able and do not qualify for disability for this problem. It has followed me to this day. I stand vulnerable to landing yet another job trying to work with people who don’t understand me nor want to. I can vouch for how damaging bullying can be. It didn’t start there. I was physically abused by my father and my mother understood as simply being unruly and disobedient…for which I had been sorely punished. This isn’t to be negative…just to show, first-hand, what kind of damage can occur.

  • tony says:

    Its interesting how many young people suffered at the hands of others in there prime years. I too was and I stress was a victim of bullying. At 5yrs of age, my great grandmother bullied me when no one else was around, that seemed to take away any self-esteem I had at that young age. This led to being bullied in the infants school, then in the junior school and then into high school. I constantly ran away from home from about 7 to 15 yrs, eventually leaving school with nothing and an emotional mess. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing, im now 50 yrs old. Its taken me all of those years to work through and even now I have my moments now and again.i have turn out to be a good person, stable and use all my experiences to help others. I do know that the bullies are now passed on or they have not had a good life. I also understand that bullying comes from somewhere and is done out of insecurity, those bullies I don’t know what has happened in there early years to make them like that, I only hope they have healed as I have.
    Kind regards tony

  • reina says:

    I thank you for showing your bravery back in HS. I only wish I had known to do the same. I have been bullied, used and abused by everyone my entire life. I really did not want to live until just the other day. I know the pain of being called ugly and being treated ugly. So much so that even when I am told that I am beautiful I cannot understand what they are up to or what they want. When I am highly vigilant I do not let anyone push me around but sometimes I do drop the ball and get suckered again.
    But this comment is about how when I least expect it I feel protected and taken care of. I am single and will be 53 this month and will continue with a huge smile on my face because organically I am an incredibly happy woman. I am lucky beyond comprehension and I do not take it for granted. I give to everyone and really know that I am of help to those in need. When I could not pay the rent this month my beautiful landlord said ‘don’t worry we are here to help each other’, in NYC! I felt pretty and that is just plain beautiful. I have been and will always be able to overcome incredible difficulties since I have had to do so my entire existence. My personal mantra is THANK YOU!

  • Dix Mcbridge says:

    I was also a victim of severe bullying throughout the 1960s and 1970s in school. It warped me so much that I could not (nor can I still,) function as I should. Throughout the 1980s the bullying continued throughout employment from the decade. Today it leaves me socially challenged and am now living in abject poverty. I am now 52 years old, can’t find a job, let alone one that would give me a decent income. I wind up in situations with very shallow people to be caged up with and still get ganged up on. Two years ago was my last job when this sort of thing happened. I stand out as different and people will try to destroy this. I do not blame anyone as this is human nature. Albeit, I sit in a difficult place because I am physically able and do not qualify for disability for this problem. It has followed me to this day. I stand vulnerable to landing yet another job trying to work with people who don’t understand me nor want to. I can vouch for how damaging bullying can be. It didn’t start there. I was physically abused by my father and my mother understood as simply being unruly and disobedient…for which I had been sorely punished. This isn’t to be negative…just to show, first-hand, what kind of damage can occur.
    +1

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