On Bullies and Justice

–What the fu&% are you looking at? I will beat your ass.–

Cody-esque

I think, perhaps — hopefully, I can finally move on. I’m not sure what the pastor said, something related to love (not bullies) . . . and yet my brain, in its spider-web way took me back to middle school.

I first put those sentences inside quotations but ultimately removed them because I don’t think it’s fair to quote Cody. It was too long ago to remember exact phrasing. Though I can’t remember his words, I certainly remember the feeling. I dreaded seeing him around school, hoping our paths wouldn’t cross. If they did I hoped not to make eye contact. Apparently it was an insult for me to look at someone. I don’t think he ever actually hit me, but the fear was virtually the same.

I had several bullies during middle school, but Cody affected me the most I think; I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because out of all of them he could’ve easily been a friend if he hadn’t hated me. I never understood why he hated me.

My best guesses are either the rumors that I was gay (I’m not, but: middle school) or he just simply needed a weak target to make himself feel better.

Things got better of course. People grow up, mostly. Things became cordial around 10th grade I would say, but Cody has always seemed to politely tolerate me at best.

It has been difficult over the years, particularly as a Jesus follower, to find a balance of feelings. I been caught somewhere between wishing I could go back and punch him in the nose each time, break something over his head to send a message to them all, forgive him to his face, or ask him why he feels so strongly about me.

I’ve spent the past few years really trying to deal with the bullying leftovers inside me. For most of my life there was deep regret that I didn’t fight; it’s a big part of how I first got into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I would say lately it’s been more about forgiving, releasing, and moving on. I hope that can finally happen now after what I realized.

Cody has had it so much worse. The others probably have too. And that brings me zero joy.

In one capacity or another I’ve wished them harm so many times. At the least I wished I had fought them enough to make it stop. After all, they say, “he may never get tired of beating you up, but he’ll get tired of having his nose busted first.” Now that I realize how rough he’s had it, I just feel compassion for him.

I know he had a rough marriage, a child with physical issues resulting in lots of hospital-time, and an eventual divorce. Those are only the few things I know of; I’m sure there’s way more pain beneath the surface.

It’s really crappy how those kids treated me (us?). I realize now that either then or in the time since they probably suffered even more than they gave.

I spent so much time wishing for retrograde justice, when the heartaches of life had already balanced us all out long ago. I wouldn’t want to experience the pain he has. I wouldn’t wish it on him either. I can’t even call it justice, just life. Life has brought both pain and joy to us all. I think I release Cody — I wish him well. I hope he doesn’t have any more pain. Maybe I can help him in some way some day. I hope the hurt is over. He’s had enough.

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