When we chose to focus on bullying for this issue of The Rocket Press, it took me back to some places in my life that have shaped who I am today.
You see, I can look at bullying from both the perspective of the victim and the bully.
From second grade until about sixth grade, I always struggled with my weight, which allowed me to be the focus of bullies.
I can vividly remember an encounter at a pool when I was 10 or 11.
I was on my way to the bathroom and I overhead kids talking about another “fat kid” and the comment they made was “No not that fat kid, another fat kid. He is way fatter.”
That hurt so much.
The tears came fast and furious that day and there were others similar to it.
Luckily, puberty hit in the seventh grade and I grew eight inches and lost a significant amount of weight.
But that also brought new challenges.
Ever since I can remember, I have loved sports and so does my family, except my little brother, who is five years younger than me.
When I was 13 or 14, my brother was being bullied by several of his classmates and not only did I not do what a big brother should do and confront these kids, I also bullied my brother.
Now a science teacher, my brother was always interested in nature, animals and other things like that.
To him that was cool, but to me I thought he was weird and I never missed an opportunity to tell him.
I consider myself fortunate that I do not have many regrets in my life, but the way I treated my brother when he needed me most is by far by biggest regret.
We are now good friends, but it is a scar that will always be on my heart.
On the first day of school, one of the things I talk about to each of my classes is that bullying will never, ever be allowed.
The way I see it, I had a chance to help somebody I love when they were being bullied and I chose not to.
I do not want to make that mistake again.