I watched this documentary called Bully. It breaks my heart. Maybe more so because I understand it. I know what it’s like to not fit in. To be picked on and called names or pushed around. In elementary school I was called pig nose. In high school I was called captain forehead. All you want is to have friends and feel like you belong. I just wanted people to like me but the harder I tried, the more I failed.
Victims often get blamed. They are told things like “you shouldn’t put up with that” or “stand up for yourself.” The problem is these kids have no tools to work with. If they could have stood up for themselves don’t you think they would? They don’t have the confidence and/or often the physical ability to do anything different.
I cried all the time and I dreamt about suicide everyday for years. There were two reasons I am still alive: the first is because I didn’t have it in me to hurt myself which is tied to the second reason – I didn’t really want to die, I WANTED TO LIVE!
I just wanted to live without the pain, without the name calling, without being afraid on the walk to school about what would happen that day. I wanted people to be ok with who I was even when I didn’t know who I was.
The end of the film says – Everything starts with one. They’re right. I had one friend in elementary, granted not everyone was mean to me but I really truly only had one friend. She gave me hope that maybe one day it wouldn’t be like it was. Her name was Lindy. Then in high school I got another friend named Alex. They didn’t care about my awkwardness. They didn’t care that cool kids called me names. They hurt with me when boys grabbed me inappropriately for fun or saluted me when I walked down the hallway with a C on their foreheads.
And in all honesty there were kids who were bullied way worse than I was. I made it out alive but kids don’t anymore. One life lost is too many. I wish I could talk to every kid who wants to give up and tell them to hold on – one more day at a time. I want to tell them that they can make it- because I did.
Adults lets stop blaming. Stop blaming the kids who are being bullied PERIOD. No excuses. Stop minimizing their pain and their experiences. Hurt with them.
Schools stop blaming parents and parents stop blaming schools. Shut up and work together – where do you think kids are learning the name calling, the shifting of responsibility? Bullying happens because we allow it. It will take more than wearing a pink shirt one day a year to change this but we can.
Start in your own home. Have discussions about the value of human life regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation. height, weight, appearance, athletic ability – any of it! Then show it in your life. Help others, especially those less fortunate than you.
We had a football party three years ago and two of the kids’ parents who were invited told me their kids had never been to a birthday party or any party. They were never invited. NEVER should that happen.
Every life has value. EVERY one! If we actually believed that and lived that way, no one would want to end their life. Because living would be worth living for.