June 2nd, 2004


The bully

I’m a bully. There. I said it. You happy? It was a revelation that came from my last therapy session. I still have a red mark on my forehead from the V-8 slap I gave myself. Robyn, my whole earth lesbian therapist whose hair looks like Moses parted it, posed a question I don’t remember ever being asked – were you a bully in school? I had to answer, yeah, sure. Did you get into fights? A few times but mostly they were stand-offs. Why were you a bully? Because I was bullied by Jimmy Bradstrater in seventh grade who figured out my name rhymed with fairy, and I had big ears. Did I bully those weaker than me?

At this point, I looked at her as if she were from Venus. Of course, I bullied those less capable of kicking my ass. There were a few I even tortured; Katie Pozorski, a plus-sized girl with bad grooming habits and a penchant for rocking back and forth in her desk chair while lightly fumbling her fingers together with rapturous focus, and Mitch Maragay, emphasis on the gay. There were others but those two, in particular, I made miserable. I also got Bradstater off my ass because of my easily accessed cruelty. I made my bones.

I was not, however, a bully to Russell. Quite the opposite, and as much as I love him, he bullied me for ten years. That wasn’t about to happen again after we split up. Billy was an easy target. He didn’t see it coming until it was too late. His Navy years made him a scrappy guy, not a pushover at all, but I had more practice. Putting our years through the bully filter makes me want to trip myself in the hallway and put my head in the toilet after knocking my own books from my arms. Seriously, I can’t quite quantify how sorry I am for some of those times, those awful moments I gave my baby.

On the way home last night, I wondered if there was a Bullies Anonymous. If so, there certainly had to be a chapter in DC. I called Mickey and told her my realization. She paused and said, “Yeah, but it’s fun to be a bully, you gotta admit,” and laughed that mocking signature laugh, and I understood why she’s one of my best friends. We’re kindred bullies still fighting on the schoolyard.

Fuck the fun, though, yo. I have a lot of shit to make up for in this life.