As a kid and teen I was bullied terribly. I was very, very shy, and being very tall at a very young age made me stand out like a sore thumb. I won’t go into major details on all the mean girl stuff I had to deal with, but it was a huge part of my growing up experience. I dealt with a gang of three girls, who were once all bff’s with me and who then turned against me for no apparent reason, and all through elementary school they made my life pretty miserable. In highschool a new group of “mean queens” took over and were just as brutal if not moreso. I remember one of the more scrappy ones telling me she wanted to fight me- “I’ll be waiting for you outside after school today!” (Funny that she never actually was there when I left school for the day, I remember that pretty clearly!)
I never did figure it out as to why’s at the time, but I do know now that bullies are hurting on the inside and tend to pick on those who they deem weaker or in some way “better” (for lack of a better word) than themselves, or having something in their life that they want but don’t or can’t have. It’s a reflection of who they are and how they are feeling inside. Jealousy, anger, envy, insecurity, disappointment, and/or things going on in their home and personal lives that they can’t control, and they have to try to make other people feel as crappy as they do. Thinking back about it, and realizing that, I can’t help but feel sorry for them in a way. I always wonder where those people are and if they ever feel remorseful for what they did, especially if they have kids of their own, or if they changed their ways, or if they just wrote it off as “kids stuff” and forgot about it.
It’s interesting now that even as an adult, I’ve been bullied, in very dysfunctional workplace environments, and even by sadly now former friends. It never really goes away, and bullies just get sneakier, especially now in the digital and social media world, where it’s easy to hide behind a blog post, email, or a vague, passive aggressive Facebook status update. But now as an adult, I can see through some of it, and, now am stronger and can deal with it in a better-for-me fashion. It definitely doesn’t hurt any less, but I don’t put up with it anymore and will not be treated poorly, inconsiderately, or thoughtlessly. Bullies get cut off, that’s it. Ain’t nobody got time for that, as the saying goes.
I still don’t understand exactly why it happens, (other than the reasons above) but it does. And it says everything about the bully and nothing about their target, or anything or anyone else. And it’s sad. And despite their being awful, I do feel sorry for them. I can’t imagine being in a state where someone has to tear friends down, purposely going out of their way to say, do, or write things they know will hurt someone else, in order to feel better in their own mind. It must take a lot of thought and energy in devious planning and careful scheming to try to accomplish. But it still happens. And it sucks.
So, when Anti-Bullying and Acceptance Days started happening in the past few years, it was so enlightening, empowering, and cool, to see that bullying is being brought up and talked about openly, and not swept aside as “kids stuff” or being written off with “you’re an adult, just deal with it” kind of attitudes. It’s serious, and it’s awesome to see people of all ages talk about how to deal with it.
I created a few special tshirt designs in celebration of friends, and being kind and accepting of one another, that you can wear any and every day.
Anti-bullying Day is coming up on February 24, share the kindness, love, and sparkle with everyone- a smile or hello, or random act of kindness could brighten someone’s day who really needs it. <3