True story; At the age of fifteen on my way to class, confidence already shattered I felt something hit the back of my head. I ignored it. After all, that is what I did best, ignored the things that shattered me.
Then I felt something else hit me and I heard my ‘pals’ laughing as they walked behind me. And then the pelts started. One splat, two splat, more splats.
I suddenly realised what said splats were. I was being spat at, spat upon, my shattered confidence finally broken in a hail of phlegm.
When they saw I realised what was happening I was given a warning. Tell others and I’d be battered. My pals were great.
As I washed the spit of my blazer in the lonely toilet I realised something had to be done. I’d taken too many beatings, endured too much abuse, been frightened more times than I had a right to be. Imagine if you will. Guys you thought of as friends using you as a spit board. Getting their kicks out of hurling phlegm at you, covering you with their foul spit. And for what? Because I was a quiet, polite, eager to please kid? A decent fucking child. Splat. Something had to be done.
Confidence can come from anywhere. There is water in the desert. If you are thirsty enough you’ll find it. I was thirsty. I found it.
Karate saved me. It took me weeks to find my courage. The courage needed to enter the dojo. The courage needed to don a white suit and ‘join in’.
37 years later and I’m still here. Roads travelled, fights fought, wrestlers wrestled. I’m still here.
If you think your child is being bullied, if you see he or she is nervous for no apparent reason then look for the truth. My parents, they pretty much lived in denial. Didn’t happen to their kid, why would it? They were people about town, no one would mess with their kid. But they did. Splat.
Seek out the truth for your child if you see the signs. Seek out the answer. You may find it lies in your local Martial Art gym. You may find it lies elsewhere, maybe music, art, dance, singing. Anything your child wants to do but is frightened of doing then encourage them to do it. It will bring them confidence.
It will bring them the confidence to turn around the the spitters and say “What the hell do you think you are doing, who the hell do you think you are doing it to?”
Give your child confidence, give them hope.
Many years later my tormentors turned out to be false prophets. I see them from time to time, now and again. I see them around. They now look at me in a different way. They look at me as the kid who came good, a fighter of repute. A fighter but still a gentleman.
They don’t spit at me anymore. Not anymore. Splat. It doesn’t happen nowadays.