March Comes in Like a Lion continues to move forward with its bullying arc, which has been presented so vividly in the way we’d expect of Shinbo and Shaft. The length of this arc is significant—the bullying isn’t quickly resolved in one or two episodes. It’s slow and spreading, a complex organism that isn’t easily tamed or destroyed. Four or five episodes in, we’re also four or five weeks in, further reflecting how bullying in real life lasts a long time—weeks, months, years.
The writing itself has also been on point. Rei and Akari, like parents, feel dread and helplessness regarding the situation, the earlier because he’s been through similar and is inspired to help, though he’s not sure quite how, and the latter because she feels she has failed Hina and is worried about how to approach the role of mom should the bullying continue to escalate. These are real responses which, again, point to how difficult and messy bullying is. It’s like getting bubblegum stuck in your hair—it’s not easily extracted, there is no one solution, and every bit you cut out affects everything else.
Like Rei, I’m reminded of my childhood. I was the victim of some bullying that had to do with racism, and although my experiences were relatively minor, they continue to impact me. They still have an notable effect on who I am today. Thankfully, too, my experiences were intermittent and not with people I regularly interacted with, thus, the “bullying” usually resolved itself immediately, unlike Hina’s situation in March Comes in Like a Lion. She endures a more methodical bullying. I’m ashamed to say that I was generally more on the bullying side of the equation when I was a middle schooler, particularly picking on one “friend.” That situation ended when he became more confident and I became kinder. As Hayashida tells his student, “All you can do is what you can do, one step at a time”—perhaps that’s the only consistent advice that can be applied.
I’d like to hear about your experiences with bullying, if you’d like to share. And most particularly, I’d love to hear how your situations were resolved—was it clean and simple or was it more complicated, like in Hina’s case? Is it still on-going?
Please share with us in the comments below.
7 thoughts on “How Did the Bullying Stop for You?”
I did eventually make friends and move away from having to deal with too many people who would be considered a “bully”. I think when I moved away to college things changed but I still felt still a bit misunderstood and on the outside looking in. As adults we probably experience bullying at work or over social media but my tendency towards an insecure view of myself who was always looking for acceptance has always painted a target on my back. I think the more I leaned on God’s identity for me in Christ as a child of God caused a stabilizing effect that seemed to make me grounded and less worried about other people’s opinions and so made me less vulnerable to the people playing on my insecurities. I used to let myself be pushed around with no desire to be assertive but overtime I recognized that I shouldn’t let others dictate the way my life is. I was willing to suffer a lot of abuse to get the approval of people I really was envious of. Later I realized how unhealthy that was. Honestly the subtle shift over the years in my heart made me a bit more thick skinned and assertive. It took me years to really allow God’s voice to speak to the wounded parts of my soul. -Corey Newkirk
You know, I feel ya, Corey. My pain certainly led me to cling to Christ, and it did the unexpected in me (at least not what I expected): instead of becoming confident because of my own efforts, which never worked, I found that Christ used failures and pain and my weakness and turned me into a more confident, stronger person, something that makes no sense apart from Christ. It’s amazing how he redeems even the worst parts of our past.
I grew up and moved away, joining the Navy.
Over a decade later, some of them re-connected via Facebook, related to the class reunion stuff. (Several were dead.)
…most of them didn’t grow up in that time. They tried the same old tricks. Now, I was able to identify what they were doing, and respond to it– frequently pointing out exactly what was happening has been enough, especially since it’s in a word-based area.
None of the ones who didn’t grow up are still talking to me. Especially when one tried to bully me into doing what she wanted on an “anti-bullying” thing, and I kind of lost my temper. (In the sharp words area, rather than the screaming incoherently one.)
The bullying against me never got too physical, because the first time that someone tried to escalate to that level I ended up throwing him halfway across the room.
(doesn’t that sound wonderfully dramatic?)
NOT on purpose, it was a pretty standard “grab their bag and run off,” probably with an intention to hide it so I’d miss the bus. I was sitting there reading, the guy grabbed it– didn’t realize that I had six books in addition to the assigned ones in it, was off balance and didn’t run so fast, I lept up and grabbed it back, he wasn’t expecting THAT and went sprawling across the waiting area.
I was short, and fat, and a geek, and not so good with words, plus I didn’t realize some of it was bullying rather than incredibly inappropriately intimate teasing. (the former has a malicious motivation, the latter is with good intentions; my family teases a LOT, but I didn’t know any of these folks well enough for them to tease me)
The biggest advantage besides shutting down the physical aspect was that none of them knew me well enough to use attacks that actually hurt, rather than annoyed or insulted.
I was bully as a child and misunderstood as a child and an adult that I rebelled turned cold-hearted to others and not trusted other intentions to me. But I’m growing with god and I’m getting to be a better person to people but I’m still learning. I feel like a child trying to learn about myself and my heart. So it all new to me. I think I’m also starting to get friends… I have no idea what to do with them and I find it a scary. I have their phone numbers but… I’m still unsure. I’m so used to having no friends. I still feel like an outsider sometimes (ADD) even in church and my family. I got more growing to do. ^_^
I am glad you lived.
A lot of the cause of bullying is adults failing the kids. Yes, the kid chooses to do stuff…but the job of adults is to haul us back by our collar when we do something foolish.
Thanks for sharing, Anon. You’re right—it does take growth! And it takes time! Keep learning and keep growing and I encourage you to do that even when setbacks arrive. We’re all growing and all have our challenges—keep moving ahead in yours! God bless!
Thanks for sharing. I hate to admit it, but your story about tossing a bully aside reminds me of BEING a bully and a similar thing happening to the object of my aggression, a much bigger and stronger “friend” who literally picked me up by the backpack and threw me. It shook some sense into me, haha, and helped begin some change in my life which culminated in an apology and some redirection regarding who I was and how I treated others.