Junior High School – The Old\New Dystopia

In honor of Cynthia Toney’s new book release, Bird Face, the Scriblerians are posting about which character from the novel that we identify with

The character I have chosen to write about is John Monster, the bully. I’m writing about John, not because I was a bully. I was actually the bullied for a great many years. John became my choice because he was the ultimate outsider. He belonged to clique, but he also suffered from depression. Poor John may not have looked like an outsider, but on the inside, he must have felt like one all the time. My father was in the Air Force so we moved all the time, at least five or six times before I was a fifth grader. I wasn’t a bully, but I was an outsider.

This was me as a sixth grader.

This was me as a sixth grader.

Whenever I started a new school, I would show up, kids would make fun of me, and the whole process of negotiating my way into the pecking order began. The name calling did take it’s toll. I was called “fat” a lot, and looking back at some of the pictures that survived into my adulthood, I didn’t look that fat. As I remember some of the surviving pictures being taken, I can remember feeling that way. Like I said, this cycle of isolation happened five or six times before I turned eleven. Of course I won’t talk about the times of running from the bullies to avoid a “smack down”, but in John’s case, he may have been doing the “smacking”, but I think on the inside he was running. 

Me as a Junior

Me as a Junior

The thing that distinguished me from John (aside from the fact I didn’t beat people up) was that I found Christ at age 15 and that made a profound difference in my self-esteem and life. I learned that the best way to overcome feeling inferior isn’t by pushing someone down, but loving others and lifting them up.

Me as a freshman on my horse Weeja

Me as a freshman on my horse Weeja

I can tell you that even with Christ there weren’t easy answers, but He brought me all kinds of resources that helped me overcome; something John didn’t have in this story.

My senior year

My senior year

I survived Jr. High and High School. Hopefully I didn’t turn out too bad.

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8 thoughts on “Junior High School – The Old\New Dystopia

  1. Great insight into John’s character. How he had it rough but didn’t have to be a bully.
    You look handsome in your senior picture. I agree you don’t look fat in those pictures.

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  2. You don’t look fat at all! I’m curious as to why you’re dressed as an Indian on Weeja. Do tell!

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    • We had registered Pintos and Paints. One of the events was Indian or Historical costume class. You were judged on how accurate your costume was. Native American lore became a hobby for me. I bow hunted and tanned my own deer hid. Did my own beadwork. The costume in that picture was upgraded eventually.

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  3. It’s amazing that no matter how ‘successful’ we are after high school, what we were like in grade school clings to us for the rest of our lives. Even if only in a small dark corner of our minds. But having found Christ then would have made a huge difference. Plus having hair that looked like that in your senior year HAD to be good!! 🙂

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  4. Tim, you were a cute kid! Lots of kids don’t know just how cute and lovable they are because they get teased or bullied, sometimes by their own family members! John-Monster was adept at giving the verbal and emotional smack-down. I imagine he received those from his bother as well as his father.

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  5. Tim thanks for sharing your photos. Bird Face addresses the complex social manoeuvrings and angst unique to the high-school years. Yet it is still highly-entertaining. I think Cynthia’s book is destined for greatness.

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