I came across a rather interesting article on the Internet last night when I was looking for something else (as it usually happens) and it actually clicked for me: the existence of a socialization code in public schools as well as after the formative years of education. Not exactly being a member of any so-called label that was popular in school – jocks, nerds, geeks, prom queens – this was an article I could relate to. After all, I was far more interested in being me rather than being like someone else in order to gain acceptance by them. We all know the type I am talking about: someone who was verbally (or physically) bullied at school for not being able to neatly fit into a category where just that type of person hung out. I was not interested in being a nerd or a geek even though I was smart and did well academically, and jocks were something usually guys were, not girls. I certainly was not a prom queen (there were no proms at the private high school I attended but that is another story).
Located on a homeschooling site, this article mentioned reasons to homeschool to avoid bullying. Since most rational people do not consider bullying of any kind to be acceptable behavior, homeschooled children are taught to stand up for themselves and never back down from bullies. Having been on the receiving end of verbal bullying, I am not one to give in to anti-social behavior. Unfortunately our popular culture seems to cherish verbal bullying whether it is on daytime talk television like Maury Povich and Jerry Springer or cat fights in Hollywood. Most importantly, engaging in verbal bullying in the name of “friendship” is not acceptable, either and only gets such friends nicknamed frenemies. A frenemy is a person who attempts to act like a friend but also backstabs, gossips, and humiliates his or her friends at every opportunity. Bullying really is the act of putting someone in their place, as the author of this article notes, so that the social order in the bully’s world remains undisturbed. God forbid that someone else try to be better or achieve something the bully does not. But there is no valuing of others for their talents and achievements in the bully’s world view. Someone like me who has been told the tired old line of “You don’t want to be a such-and-such” and “Why do you want to do that?” more than a dozen times by people who were in fact insecure in their own abilities only drove me harder to achieve that which I desired. There is nothing like pushing someone to the deep end only to come out the victor. Most of those yimyatzes might still be on the street corner of their choice and will be, with the way they are in favor of socialization. They are not the type to make any unusual achievement soon simply because they have accepted the word “No, you can’t do it” without questioning why. Technically its own label, yimyatz is not something I would ever have to worry about being, since I really am too busy being myself.