Many years ago I went to a pretty rough secondary school in the
East End of Glasgow. Now back at that time in the late 1970s and
early 80s there was no real protection against school bullies.
Now I wouldn’t say that I was the most bullied child at school, but
it did happen and went on for some time.
I remember a particular bullying practice that I was a victim of.
This was known as wedging and what it involved was the bullies
gathering round you in a circle, grabbing the waistband of your
underpants and hoisting you in the air.
It might seem very strange to us now, but this was a common
bullying practice of this time. I remember being a victim to this
practice on many occasions even more than other children who
were bullied more than me. The result of this was it meant some of
my underpants ended up big enough to be used as two-man tents.
When this bullying was taking place. I remember that I would
never scream out or cry to let the bullies know that I was in any
As a result of this the bullies would keep on picking on me,
especially with the wedging hoping that eventually I would cry
and give in.
I guess as we get older we become aware of some of the mistakes
that we’ve made in the past. Not expressing myself and crying out
in pain at the time I thought was a good thing. It meant I wasn’t
giving in to the bullies. But as we grow older, our learned
behaviour can generalise and I found myself as an adolescent and
young adult keeping my feelings inside and not expressing them to
others fully.
I wonder how do we expect other people to know how we are
feeling unless we communicate it with them properly? We often
expect the people closest to us to be able to know what we are
thinking and read our minds. But this seldom is the case.
Now I don’t know if I would have been a different person, had I
reacted differently when being bullied. Perhaps, I would’ve found
life easier in early adulthood. But one thing I do know is just how
it feels to be at the thin end of the wedge.