The Redneck Princess

An unacceptable week of violence and bullying…

An unacceptable week of violence and bullying…

I am glad it is Friday.

I don’t usually care one way or another, my days off vary, so the real Friday rarely means I am going to have two days off…

But this week, if it means that on Monday we get to start over, I am on the bandwagon.

The week started out crappy, our hockey team losing game six, when we were all really hopeful that they would take it and get it over with…

Well we all know now that that wasn’t meant to be, on Monday or on Wednesday. It’s all good, it’s a game right? There is always next year, that is all true. I will be there next year like I was this year cheering them on and hoping beyond hope that one day, someday, we will bring home the cup. It gives me something to look forward to.

But Wednesday before the game, I got a call from my son’s high school. He was involved in a bullying incident. At first I thought it was him being picked on, but no. He was NOT the bully…I want to make that clear, and he was not directly involved, but he watched, and he and some of his friends recorded the incident. NOT OK.

The school agreed. Now I understand when you are a 16 year old boy and there are more than two of you, peer pressure comes into play, to fit in, to be part of the gang.

I am not ok with that. I get it, but it is not ok. I want my son to be the one that stands out in a crowd, not one of the followers. He is a great kid, he really is, he is gentle and polite and caring and thoughtful. I really hope that in the situation as it was, he just was maybe not wanting to be the one to say no, this is wrong. I am pretty sure he has thought about that now.

Having a talk with the Principle and me together, was probably an experience he could have done without, and I hope he chooses the high road next time and stands out in a bad situation, and either removes himself, or says something to make it stop. He is the quiet one in the family, he wouldn’t say shit if his mouth was full of it…but in a bad situation I want him to stand up. Be heard. Say no.

When I was in high school, I was bullied pretty much from the first day I started grade 8. I went to a high school that was from grades 8-12. This doesn’t happen here very much anymore, the schools are broken up, with middle schools from grade 7 to 9.

The girl that used to pick on me was brutal, she was about 5’8″ tall, I am 5’5″, on a tall day. She was probably twice my weight, I was about 90 lbs soaking wet until I was about 24. This girl would see me in the hallway and slam me into whichever wall or locker or other person was in the way. It was guaranteed about 3 times a day at least. I did everything in my power to avoid her, I was terrified of her. She never did it when she would get caught or someone bigger than her would have said anything. Mostly because I think everyone was scared of her…I don’t know how she got away with it for so long actually. She picked on me for three solid years.

I wish I had had the guts to stand up to her, to just say STOP IT!! Some days I wanted to just slam her back HARD, I mean at that point I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was that she would punch me, and then at least it might be over, either way. But I never did. I don’t know why. I wish I had.

I never told my mom about it til this week. I have no idea why not, it is crazy what fear and shame will do to you, how it can put you in a more dangerous position than if you actually just sucked it up and told someone that you needed help, that you were afraid.

I was just scared that if I told someone, the repercussion of what she would do to me would be worse than what she was already doing.

Years later I confronted her, the bullying had been over for years, and we basically never really had any contact with each other. One night at a party when I am pretty sure I probably had a little bit of a tequila buzz going on, I asked her why she used to pick on me? Why did she hate me so much?

Do you know what she said?

She said she never hated me, I was just there…

Really??? What the fuck?

Somehow, that was almost worse, the fact that she didn’t have a reason. I was small, I was afraid…I was easy prey. That was really all it boiled down to.

I told her how badly she had traumatized me, and terrified me for years. She almost seemed shocked, she apologized, as well as she could years later and incident over, I suppose.

I was only ever bullied again…one time. By a man…

That will also never happen again.

The riots on Wednesday night after the game, just seemed to keep up with the theme of the day.

This is not the first time this has happened in Vancouver…

In 1994 after we lost the series against New York Rangers, there was rioting as well, it wasn’t as bad as Wednesday night, but none the less…it was bad. I was in Vancouver the night before that all happened. My Mom had had brain surgery that day to get the annurism out of her head, I remember laying in bed, hearing the crowds, not knowing if my Mom was even going to be alive the next day, and thinking, what the hell are you people doing? My mom could be dying and you are all partying…what the hell? I went home the day of the riots, as my baby was at home and I chose to drive back the next day as Mom was doing ok…my parents were there through it all though, not that it mattered at that point, we had other things going on…

Funny the things you remember.

On Wednesday night, when they started showing the people in the streets, burning cars, fighting, breaking windows and looting. I was sad. That is was happening again, that we had just recovered our reputation with the Olympics, that it had all gone so well, and now this…

It is now pretty obvious that it wasn’t the fans that started it. It was thugs. Hellbent on doing what they did no matter what the outcome of the game was. Gang mentality knows, if there is enough fuel for the fire, people will follow, and it is pretty easy to turn a situation like that into what happened.

It was what happened after that…that restored my hope, my faith, my love for where I live… and for the people that live here and that feel exactly the same way as you and I do.

Proof that there is more good than evil and that the good will always overcome the bad.

People coming together  to clean up, to fix what the thugs tore down. The true people of Vancouver…the heart and soul.

Thanking the police, for doing all they could in a bad situation.

Thanking the good Samaritans that stood up for their city while putting themselves in danger.

Coming together like people do in a crisis.

Showing our team that it wasn’t about them, we still love and support them, win or lose.

These are the pictures I want to share with you…the pictures of hope, of togetherness.

Of love…in the middle of a situation where it seems like there is none…

Here is the truth, what we really are as a Country, as a Province, as a City…

Thank you to each and every one of you, that made me cry with pride, that made my heart swell with love and faith and joy at the knowing that the good will always outweigh the bad…

Thank you for showing the world…

THE REAL FACE OF VANCOUVER

and how…

THE HEALING BEGINS