Freedom sometimes does not come free.
Gained My Right of Way
Reminiscing on my primary school days, I would say I didn’t have much interest in the games provided for school kids. I was not too fond of the swing. I had no joy in rocking back and forth on a piece of the metal seat and rusty chains. The merry-go-round was my worst nightmare! I threw up each time I swiveled in it. While other kids were having fun, I had to look for a way to make myself happy. I decided to play with ants, grasshoppers, and any living thing that I saw in the grass. I studied insects and even took them home. My school term reports fondly read: “Always playing with living objects…” On one occasion, I recall causing a commotion in class when some of my pet ants escaped from their matchbox cage.
I started high school at a very young age. Most of my classmates were much older. So I was relatively puny, and this made me an easy target for bullying. As an introvert, it wasn’t easy to relay my experiences to my parents and teachers. Again I tried to focus on playing with living things and avoided much interaction with people. I wasn’t the only puny student in class then. The bullies always had us on their menu. Each time I saw a boy or girl bullied, I felt it could be me, and indeed, I became the next target. This feeling made me want to end all sorts of intimidation and oppression around me.
In high schools there are cliques, you know the big boys and the little boys. There’s always a kind of cabal and groups of interests. When a school kid joins a group, even if it’s the losers, he is less likely to experience bullying. I made friends with some little boys, but that didn’t stop the bullying completely.
One day, I stood talking to a friend when a boy gripped my neck from the back. He was trying to choke me. I broke free during the struggle. The boy messed up my school uniform. The stained and rumpled uniform got me furious, but the boy couldn’t apologize as he always thought I would run away. He pushed me twice, and I never can say where the courage came from – I landed the first blow!
“Oh my!” My mind started, “You’re dead!” I’m not used to fighting, but I knew if I don’t fight, this guy could kill me. Didn’t he attempt that when he grabbed my neck? I was in a self-defense situation. Memories of what I suffered in the hands of bullies flooded my mind; this pushed me to fight harder. Luckily, we were separated and punished by older students. In a few weeks, I walked the school compound with such boldness that all the bullies avoided me. The boy I fought eventually said hi after some months, and we became friends. Even though I took the worst hits that day, I managed to gain my freedom, and since then, no one dared bully my friends nor me.
We don’t need physical strength to fight for or defend other people’s rights. We need to be bold, speak up, and stand-up, even if it means walking alone on thorns to get things right.
Now I’m a youth; I still keep this attitude with me. I can’t and won’t allow oppression, intimidation, or victimization whatsoever and wherever.