Most people I’ve met have being bullied, knew someone that was bullied or were bullies. Our bullies. Myreceived_10205139592788977 son Kenneth is now 17. And I’ve cried my eyes out for him since he was a little boy he learned what bullies whet and was constantly bullied himself. I signed him up for martial arts and should’ve put him on an MMA children’s wrestling team as I was told by some old friends. He had the same wide thick shoulders as his dad even at the early age 8 he was a very strong willed boy.

But I listened to my fears and his dad’s about him possibly growing violent or getting hurt so we didn’t signed him up. A year earlier some kids at his school had started picking on him and following my advise of “never let anyone touch you, push you or hit you, and always defend yourself even if you have to fight, but first let an adult around you know what’s going on, to help you, and please always tell us what’s going on or what or who is bothering you. Ok?” So he did and ended up in few school fights, getting in trouble for it.

To this day I’m still feeling guilty for telling my son to fight, to defend himself and for him having to go to another school where he refused to fight and was constantly teased by the school bullies and returning home upset not wanting to go back to school.

It didn’t matter how many complains we made at his school and how many times we went to his counselor and school Principal’s office, the bullying didn’t stopped until he was moved again to another school and ended up home schooling and later dropping out from highschool. Which was ok for me, cause I was there to watch him, protect him and make sure he finished Highschool from home which he did with excellent grades. His IQ is very high.

So back to his school fighting; He is a smart boy and always did as told. But the teachers ignored him when he told them other kids was bothering him, one teacher told him that he needed to stop being a taratelling, so with no one on his side the next thing I know, my sweet good boy is fighting his first school fight and punching a kid for throwing sand on his eyes during PE.

“That’s my boy!” I said to myself. To him I said, ” Baby, you are not supposed to fight, but if no one defends you, and someone’s hit you or hurt you then you just have to defend yourself.” [cause no one will] I know, I know, that wasnt the best parenting technique or example, but I was being human and a young mother who had learned her survival skills by living on a small town, where people bullied you for silly stuff.

Then you were bullied or teased if you would rather read a book than skip a class or school to go to road trips or make out with a cute boy at the beach. The bad hot guys would also bully you because you were to “serious” or to  “cold or frigid”, or maybe ” or a  “dorky shollow girl”or worst a “slot” because you did not went out with them, and had a crush on the young and handsome music teacher instead or the tall school guard. So to fit in many did stupid things like making out with guys and pretend having sex in public, or do drugs, drink or smoke. I did the later two, drinking and smoking. It wasn’t right but I wanted the boys to like me without me having to put out, so I became “cool” and like one of the boys.

The girls were jealous of me, and very mean, but a lot of times they wanted to be friends and asked me to help them meet a guy or to help them get a guy to date them, since I seemed to have good luck with handsome older guys and they were all around me like flies trying to get me to date them and be their girlfriend. Even if I was still this tomb boy who would curse and punch them and smoke or drink with them. They still tryied to get with me.

I was no saint, but I was no slut, and not a frigid either so I did what I wanted. And didn’t cared what the stupid school billies had to say or tried to do to get me upset or humiliate me. Yet I had my share of bullying by many people and for many multiple reasons, and few school fights and suspensions on my small size belt.

So as parent I didn’t wanted for my boy to go through hell in school like I did or do stupid things and ended up with the short end of the stick and getting hurt just to fit in or being better than the bullies themselves.

That’s in the past now, and I’ve learned that when we are young we are hyper-sensitive. In reality all that I experienced in the past today seems like childhood plays. I even miss the verbal fights with my old school friends, the competition to be better, and the love hate relationship with the bad hot guys and the popular school girls. But I don’t miss the constant harassment, the name calling, or the fights I had to be involved in order to defend myself and be respected.

My son is growing now, but sadly  he still remembers his school bullying experience and his fights in a different way.  He suffered it more than I did. But he gain their respect when he joined the ROTC in school. Sadly his dislike for school and college is affecting his future goals.

To me it was different. It did affected me emotionally at one point but overall I was tough and tick skin, and I really didn’t give much care for what people had to say about me. I was almost a feral child, a wild cat,  and a free spirit. On the other hand my son was and is a good young boy who has being overprotected and somewhat sheltered.

He blames me and my advices for him being grounded after his fight in school and for having to move to different schools. But in the end I had created a little fighter, someone who is not afraid to express his opinion, or be righteous and firm on what he wants and in his believes.

I never wished for my son to feel like he had to fight the world for every little thing. Or to survive in it. I want him to be strong, independent, and to gain admiration and respect and never being afraid of anything or anyone. I want him to feel safe and confident. What mother would not want that for their child?!

I once told him, “kids may push you on the cafeteria line, and it’s either on purpose or by accident, you don’t know that, if you haven’t seen them, it’s all a game to them, you just tell them to stop it and cut it out. But you can’t just begin a fight over minor things. Some children will not stop teasing, and that’s when you tell a teacher. That’s what they get paid for. They are there to keep order and make sure students learn good behavior and are safe and respectful. It’s better not to fight at all. But remember stand your grownd baby, that means don’t let anyone abuse you or physically hurt you, like hitting you, pinching you, stuff like that. No one should touch you without your consent. Always stand for yourself, and for your loved ones. There’s nothing bad to defend yourself and being protective of others. But if thing don’t stop and you can’t go directly to a responsible adult, just call me or text me. I’ll be there for you. No matter what. Always, my little piece of heaven. ( mi cielo)”

And so my phone rang almost every day since. My son was being called names, bullied, jumped on by more than one kid, his new cellphone, cards, and games were stolen. ( which he wasn’t supposed to take to school, but kids do it anyways, so hi did.)

His backpack was hidden in a trashcan and his school books even spit on. I once hit a boy with my book because he did a wet willy on my text book, but that was just me in my teenage years. I had any issues. My son has always being more calmer and quiet and a bit shy so other children were mean to him. I just never experienced bulling like he did. I wish it was me instead of him who went through such bad experiences in school. I guess bulling is the norm in public schools these days and it’s almost impossible to avoid. Teachers don’t get paid enough to care, at least some teachers I’ve known.

To me my boy’s bullies were jealous of him because he had more than others, and talked about travels, had a military cropped short hair just like his dad, and liked wearing Polo shirts. He loves food too so he wasn’t to skinny then or wore glasses. Other’s children used to poke fun on kids who wore glasses. Lenses weren’t the fashion statement they seem to be now days.

I also think that there was some racist issues involved, because the kids knew that his parents, us, came from Puerto Rico & NYC some people in Florida don’t like Newyorkers nor Spanish people. Probably the other children where upset at him because he was a quiet sweet boy and most teachers liked him so they would call him “teacher’s pet” and teased him about it. I was too called “teacher’s pet” and teased but I would gloat about it instead of getting upset. I took it as a compliment and rubbed on their faces my “superiority” and their ” jelousy”

Whatever the reason was the same kids picked on my son from Elementary to Middle school. It didnt matter if we went to the school many times, kept him home some other times, moved him to another school, or even homeschooled him. He was even picked on online.

So I told him, “Ignore everything, close the accounts, and know that you’re an amazing young man. We all love you son. You are a good person and we are proud of that. We will always be there for you to protect you from harm. You can count on us, your family, and trust is. Because we want the best for you!” It may sound cheesy but it’s the truth and he knows it well.

So far my husband and I have done a good job. But since we can’t always really be there not 24/7 he has to be smart, and strong and stay away from his bullies and bad kids. We say to him often, “You are strong kid my boy, you are a man and men are there to fend for themselves, and defend himself and his family, the people you love, specially you siblings. Life is not as bad as it seems, not all people are bad people, but judge people wisely, you can’t trust to much, not all people are good either is like a 20/80. Like 80 percent of people are good and 20 percent of people are bad or just plain selfish. Guard yourself from that kind of people and guard your heart. There are always going to be bullies, but there are always going to  be good people and friends you can trust too.”

I’m older now and people still bullIied me or tried to mock me and hurt me. But I get over it. I don’t let it hurt me. I’m too good for that crap. So,  I just put a poker face and keep on working and even keep to mysel sometimes,  a task once almost impossible to me. But I won’t solve anything if I let it get to me.

But believe you me, if someone pushes me I’ll push back, if someone hits me I will hit back, if someone calls me a bad name I will laugh at their faces so they now how childish they are being and I may even called them a name back but I would just stand for myself and let that person know, that “That sexual or racial comment you made is not HR appropriate.”  “Leave your rude jokes or comments for a Highschool, a job is not a Highschool, so go F with somebody else! And let me work in peace”

I’ve cried. I’ve cried for myself, for my son, for my daughters when they suffer or people hurt them and try to take advantage of how sweet they are. I cried a lot for having to pretend everything was alright, for having a broken heart, for pretending having a thick skin and not having it, for being naive, at my age, for still being a target of bullies, the ignorant, arrogant, power seeking jerks, who wanted to step all over me out of simple spite.

I cried so much, I became depressed and lost more than one job out of stress, and worriness. I even had a mild stroke. But no matter what I’m here to stay and I will not kill myself like one co-worker told me to do.

It’s just surprising to see people and how we judge them for their cover, their appearance. Some look tough or rude and in the ends are very sweet, and others may seem nice and friendly but in the inside they are mean, egocentric, selfish, and plain rude with lack of any social skills. They pretend to like you to quickly turn on you like a snake and bite you, or stab you.

Regardless, I’m here to stay, my boy is here to stay, my daughters are here to stay. No gossips, no bullying, no threats, no shit whatsoever, will ever again make me doubt of myself and my own value and my childrens.

My children are my life, you hurt them and I will defend them like a wolf, nobody will hurt my little cubs. My babies are the greatest love and gift I have and it kills me seeing them sad, worried, or desperate and helpless. I won’t let that happen to them without fighting for their happiness.

So my promise to my husband and my babies is that “I’m here my babies for you until God desides, to care for of you, to love you, to watch after you, with all my might. Because I’m only here for you my babies, you are my reason to live and thrive. You keep me standing and on my toes. I love you my children, my family, for being you, for being so close to me, and for loving me back!”

_By Evelyn Rodriguez-Lallave