Bullying scars never fade

I"m not a mother but I would think one of the biggest fears and challenges for a mom is knowing the world is going to hurt your child and there is nothing you can do. There comes a day when they have to leave the nest to go to school and at that point all you can do is hope you engrained them with enough strength to handle situations on their own. I was bullied quite a bit in Elementary school. I"m not really sure why, I guess know one knows the exact reason. During my younger years of about six or seven I was a young cute blonde with a huge smile and heart for other people. Perhaps it was this innocence that made me the perfect victim.

(Me at seven. Who would pick on this cutie, HUH?!)

One memory of my first bullying experience was when I was walking to school and this boy about my age suddenly jumped on me from behind and began punching my back repeatedly. Over and over I yelled for him to get off me. When he finally did I ran to the office, and called my Mom crying at the top of my lungs to come pick me up. Another memory was the day I wore a nice dress and tights to school. I"m not sure about today, but for some reason in the '90s dressing up for school was a prime target for bullies. One day I got up early to put on my brand new dark blue floral printed skirt my Mom had just bought me and a light blue matching flowered top. But that's not all. I had also bought new tights and chunky heels that in that moment made me feel like I was the prettiest girl in the world. However my pride was crushed when the minute I walked into class this big bully sitting at his desk whose last name is 'Little' (ironic, I know) loudly said "nice skirt" in this mean sarcastic tone and then went on to tell me I looked ugly and needed to also get rid of my thick eyebrows if I wanted to be pretty. Trying to see between tears I walked to the main office and called my Mom to pick me up. There were a lot of pick ups those two to three years. I never wore the floral printed skirt again.

The emotional bruises from bullies never goes away. Here I am at 31 years old and I still get misty eyed when I think back to those years. What also makes me sad is my future son or daughter will likely go through something similar. There is evil in the world and it shows its face the minute your kid steps foot outside the door. All you can do is armour them with the strength and confidence, as my parents did, to carry yourself forward, tear-stained cheeks and all. Years later Mr.Little did apologize to me and said the reason he bullied me for so many years is because he had a mad crush on me. I hope he raises his son or daughter to understand there's a proper way to show your affection for someone that doesn't include sharp words or fists.

I ask Moms out there - what experiences has your children had with bullying and how have you helped them cope through it? What have you done to help protect them from bullies or can you?

- Vanessa xoxo @VanessaLYbarra

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