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 memories” I 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
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