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