No one ever hit me so I didn’t call it bullying when I became a class scumbag. My friends broke up with me, one per day, until there was none left; until the rest of our grade shunned me with stinging insults; until even the nice boys were barking at me in the hallways. Every day I wondered why. I cried tears of frustration because I did not understand. It was impossible to think there was no reason for the onslaught of taunts, the ignoring, the vile comments, the nickname It (as in Ewww, let’s all move our desks so we don’t have to sit next to ‘It’). Surely there was something I did, something I said, something about my face or my figure that led my classmates to despise me so deeply.
Now, not a week goes by without hearing that one of you, my beautiful, talented, bright and brilliant singers, is going through something similar. You want to be home schooled or change schools or simply disappear into words, music, movies, anything at all. Still, you keep singing. You are so much stronger than I was at your age.
Now, my friend, we are in this together. And we deserve answers. So let’s do this.
The act of bullying is about the bully, not the bullied. There is nothing inherent within any one of us that deserves such treatment. Our character is defined by how we behave, not how we are treated. And our worth? Our worthiness of love is a birth right that need not be earned and can not be beaten out of us. And it is certainly not diminished by some kid with a big mouth.
Being bullied gives us the potential to change the world for the better. We will not disappear. We have seen that our light shines against all odds. Our purpose is to be bright and brilliant, even in the darkness of night.
We are the peace makers. The caretakers. We may become coaches, musicians, scientists, counselors, writers, doctors, nurses, teachers, trainers, designers. Leaders. Creators. We are the artists whose work inspires dream chasing and freedom. We are idea people with high ideals. We understand bullies and how deeply they fear us. We know ourselves and the power we hold to inspire others.
The best way to combat someone else’s cruelty is to be a caring and open person instead of closed and afraid. Where love and hope reside, fear has no home. So we shall keep filling our hearts with love for ourselves, our closest companions, secret hiding places and favorite songs. Our words of hope are stronger than theirs of ignorance (and usually have more syllables).
Thank you, my friend, for showing up in this world with kindness, dignity, respect, and love.
Thank you for being a bright light of hope in the night sky. Thank you for staying strong enough to sing.
We are in this together.