Big Troubles and a Fence

Being bullied as a kid feels like you’re walking out into a dangerous field that’s surrounded by a big fence electrified by fear. I remember this from when I was nine years old. I’ll always remember because no one forgets their encounters with bullies, ever.

playground 1For whatever reason, in grade four I caught the eye of our school bully. His name was Shane and although we were in the same grade, he was almost a head taller than me. I suppose it’s not surprising that a bully might have sought me out; I was one of the smallest in our class. I’m sure he felt confident I was one of the weakest.

Shane would look for opportunities to push me around and because he was so much bigger than me, it didn’t take much of a push from him to knock me down. He would generally follow that up with slapping me and threatening worse after school. There weren’t many options for me after school, it was either run like hell for home, try to hide behind people as they were walking, or just take the beating while trying to fend off too much damage. Teachers weren’t much involved outside of class in those days and my parents were otherwise occupied with the drama of their own lives.

One Saturday I was heading over to a friend’s a few blocks from home. I had a temporary shortcut because a house between my street and hers had been torn down and I could cut through the now open yard. The only impediment was a fence in the back that I could climb over at the alley.

I started to walk across the yard, but suddenly a shadow caught my eye. Shane stepped out from behind some building debris that I’d just walked by. His face was sheer glee at having me cornered and alone. My mind took in the entire scenario in about eleven seconds. I knew exactly what was in store.

My heart dropped as I watched him slowly stepping toward me with the promise of pure menace. Within those eleven seconds, I figured my only options to get away were to run back by him or run for the fence. As my panic escalated with his every step, it felt like I couldn’t move my feet anyway. I knew I had reached the point of no return.

He got closer and as he raised his hand, instinct took over. I closed my eyes and I ran toward him. Hard. His head being higher than mine was providence; it turned out it was the perfect height for my hands to reach his face, which I blindly pummeled with my fists. Hard and fast.

I heard a cry. I opened my eyes and saw that Shane had stepped back from me. He was holding his nose and just staring at me. Then he took his hands down and looked at them. They were covered in blood. He couldn’t see it, but so was his face as the bleeding from his nose dripped steadily down his chin. We stared at each other equally stunned.

Then he brought his hands back up to his nose and started crying. I took this as my cue to head for the fence. At the same time I started to move, so did he, but the other way, for home I presume.

My body was unbeaten, but the adrenaline continued to stream throughout it. I didn’t bother running to the fence, but I’m pretty sure I scaled it like a parkour athlete.  I was safe and I would remain safe.  Shane never bothered to come near me again.

 I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a life changing event.  It wasn’t just that I was able to defend myself, no matter the miracle was unplanned. It was because it was the first time I was consciously aware that I did something I had no idea I could.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the last time I would encounter bullies in my life, but sometimes, when I do come up on the short end of the stick in those meetings, I remember that sweet, sweet time I kicked ass. Like a boss.


51 thoughts on “Big Troubles and a Fence

    • Aw, Jill, it pains me to hear how many of us actually had to live through these events. I am so glad to hear you were a fighter back though. I guess we either learn, or well, don’t want to think about that. I sure enjoyed seeing you here today,and for your really great compliment! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I felt an odd sense of pride as I finished reading your post. I don’t think what you said about us being strangers is true anymore. It’s like I’ve known you forever. In fact, I may even have been you at some point in my life! ❤


  2. That is awesome Robyn – so empowering. And it really sets the tone for how you view bullies for life – they are afraid and have to pick on the ones that won’t fight back. As soon as you fight back they disappear. Generally, I don’t advocate violence to solve problems, but in the case of bullies it seems to be all that works and it is only once and then it is done.

    Believe it or not I had was bullied by a guy named Shane as well when i was about 12. He was a mean kid who lived down the street and he would pick on me because at the time I was short and stout. At about 18 I had a major growth spurt but at 12 I was a target. Anyway, I wasn’t the only one that Shane bullied and we, the bullied,,used to compare notes. We decided to get back at him. My house had a whack of oak trees in the back yard so there were acorns everywhere in the fall , just after school started back. So, one day about 5 of us gathered acorns and made big piles in the back of the yard behind some trees. My friends hid and i went out when i saw Shane and of course he followed me back into our yard – knowing my parnets weren’t home. When I reached the acorns, i turned and started throwing them. My 4 friends came out and started throwing acorns at Shane too. He went home crying and never bothered us again.

    Cool post Robyn – I’m sure not eveyone will agree with your solution – but I do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul, you know how much I enjoy your stories, and how interesting the many similar stories we have, regardless of where in the world we are. I know there are only so many human experiences, but still, some of the details are oddly close. Except for the acorns. I had no acorns in my world. Man, that made me laugh. I bet those suckers hurt!


  3. I feel like so many of us fell victim to bullies when we were growing up. We rarely talked about it, other than in collectively knowing who the bullies were in our schools & our neighbourhoods. I have given thought to whether bullies are worse these days or is it simply because we openly talk about them?

    Regardless, I love that you kicked Shane’s ass. He had it coming, the son of a bitch!


    • Isn’t it amazing how many of us have crossed those paths, and yet I am so surprised at the number who didn’t. Makes me realize or guess that I never was cool enough to be untouchable. Today’s bullies have an easier time being one I think. They can hide behind screens now. It’s been horrible for our community, which is a really lovely one, but that still hasn’t stopped 5 middle and high school kids from committing suicide in the last three years. Horrifying. but at least they haven’t died in complete vain. Our schools have begun a much more concerted effort to be aware and in creating some really effective campaigns and courses for all students now. It seems to be making a difference.
      Thanks for your supportive thoughts, Lynn. You really gave me a great laugh, this morning!


    • Thanks so much, ledrake, I think though, this whole world is an illusion and we could all step back from what we get caught up in. That’s one of the reasons I love to see how you speak about your photos. Always makes us think.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t it amazing those moments in childhood that can define us forever. You protected yourself and that was huge. I love this:” It was because it was the first time I was consciously aware that I did something I had no idea I could”- and that your body acted for you even though your mind was afraid. Inspiring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You caught the very point that I am still grappling with most. That instinctual movement that overtook me and took care of me, without any thought. I am just dying to regularly tap into that very core essence of being… All my gurus tell me: “meditate”. And I do, but still, mostly every damn day, life gets in the way. Once in awhile though, it does still happen.


  5. I have lost a few comments from people who read this post. I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened when I started my replies, but please know I appreciate your visit and the time you gave to comment.


  6. HAHAHA Hey who said violence never solved anything. That was a great story. Nothing sends a clearer message to a bully than a bloody nose. You are my hero for the rest of the day.


  7. I keep thinking about this post. Being disabled makes kids targets for bullies. I was lucky in that my friends largely looked out for me. Once, in middle school, I was targeted for an extended period of time. I told no one. One day, one of the kids I was in class with before I got ill, came up to me after school. He was in High school and had obviously made a special trip. Anyway, he said he and others knew about the problem and had taken care of it. They had, indeed. No more bullying.


    • Wow, that just brings up the hot blood levels for me. It’s unbearable to think of a disabled kid being bullied. It seems especially cruel. I love though, that sanity prevailed. Especially in the hearts of kids, albeit older ones, but still.
      Thanks for sharing your story, Michael.


  8. Pingback: We Used To Could Do That | No Facilities

  9. My bully from grades 3 through 9 was a stuck-up girl who never got in trouble for being mean because she had a hole in her heart. For whatever reason, I’ve since accepted her friend request on Facebook, and you know what? She’s STILL a bully! I’m so glad you found your inner strength and conquered YOUR bully! AND a hero! (Just think of how many other little girls he might have bullied had you not whipped him!) As I already knew, YOU”RE AWESOME! I wish I had known you when we were kids! And I’m so glad I do now! ❤


    • I’m finally catching up on my replies. I know you know December and moms. :/ Anyway, of course, I loved to read your note, as always. Isn’t sad how many of us have come up against these types. Sometimes I wonder if this is on purpose, in that ‘for a purpose’ way where we’re supposed to know how good we really are, but we can’t really unless that’s mirrored with the bad. Sigh, the trials of the human experience.
      See you on your page in a bit. Hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, yes, December… When you have to wait hours after your son has gone to bed to make sure he doesn’t peek while you wrap gifts. 😉 Right? Yeah, I think it’s curious how many of us as adults like other adults who were also the victims of bullies. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who admitted, “Yeah, I was a bully when I was a kid” and liked them. I think they still stick together, even as adults. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I want you on MY team! Isn’t it amazing what little bodies can do when filled with determination and adrenalin? It kept me out of the grips of three mean football players when I was a freshman.
    I will never understand the mentality of being a bully…I know that there’s likely a lot of pain behind whatever provokes the thought process, but I still can’t imagine hurting another person for fun like your Shane did.
    I was bullied by mean girls and even some parents. I always thought it was my problem and I can see now that it was theirs. They are STILL broken–thank goodness I left that town years ago.
    Bravo to you for sticking up, Robyn. I wish I would have been there–kicking ass with you would have been a pleasure. xo


    • Aww, and thanks again, Michelle. It’s really sadder that those kids stay broken, this I know of first-hand too. It looks even uglier on a far older person, but then, they never really use the right kind of mirrors.
      You did the right thing, leaving that behind, because there is no way any of that dirt stayed on you. You are so damn shiny! So glad, I ‘met’ you 🙂


      • Goodness…you are so right about what this looks like on an adult. I think of a few friends in particular who have yet to totally shake the dust.
        As for being shiny? You words warm my heart, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a few dusty corners of my own. We do the best we can. Sweep it up, throw it in the trash and make sure it doesn’t accumulate.
        I’m so glad I met you, too! xoxox

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Many years ago I was given some advice on basic self-defense. It seems you instinctly used one of them.

    We were told that in a threatening confrontation, you might get the chance for only one shot at your assailant … make that one shot count by going for the nose as hard as you can. More often than not, it will be completely unexpected, hurt like hell, and give you a chance to run away.
    I’ve never had to use it (and hope I never do), but I’m so glad to hear it really works!!

    Both of my sons were skinny little guys when they were kids. I worried about them being bullied at school and give them the same advice. Thankfully they never had to use it either 🙂

    Great story, thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m a bit behind on my reading, so glad I read this today. Terrific story, and what a feeling–“I did something I didn’t know I could.” A resource for the tough times in life. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂


  13. With your back against a wall (or fence), you do what you have to do. Good for the 9-year-old Robyn! I’m sure you had other run ins with bullies, but I’m glad you learned to stand up to them/stand up for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

What's on your mind, let's talk about it...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s