“People say sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you, but that’s not true. Words can hurt. They hurt me. Things were said to me that I still haven’t forgotten.” –Demi Lovato
It’s Pride month in my community. Let me begin by telling you that being bullied is not acceptable – living in constant fear and hiding from your true self is difficult and sucks. Taking a stand is important – essential – AND THE RIGHT THING TO DO – and we can’t do it alone.
I am not a member of, but an incredible and genuine ally and advocate for the LBGTQ2+ community. I am a mother, a teacher , a family member and a friend who has held space for many as they chose to invite me, often the first adult, in their circle of trust. Many of these individuals were victims of bullying – and so – I’d like to share a little bit about myself and perhaps you’ll understand why discrimination and HATE resonate so much within my heart and soul .
I was severely bullied as a child, a teenager and as an adult.
I am 50 years old now. Though I have managed to overcome the pain, I never will forget how difficult it was/is to forget it – and to forgive the ones who inflicted it upon me …. Growing up was difficult enough: growing up with having Aspergers AND having red hair was even worse. Ketchup hair… Medusa…. Dummy….. Freak ….. All names that sometimes still resonate at times when things get quiet and I am left with my own thoughts. I hope that these mean girls are doing well these days. My biggest source of pain passed away last year – and I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they have experienced the same pain or if their children have. Have they understood what they did and the effect it had on my growing up ? As an adult, I also had to deal with being bullied to the point where I exuded signs of physical distress. Let me rephrase this: I exuded all the same symptoms as colon cancer and was ill for years. Now, I am able to see that this time, it was due to jealousy. Lack of understanding. Lack of education. Plain stupidity and ignorance. I have thus let it go. Not forgiven nor forgotten – just let it go….. It doesn’t make it easier – just offers a possible explanation to actions which are deplorable and quite sad …. I was strong and overcame it … but I often think about what may have transpired had I not been the person who refused to go on like this …
We see on the news countless young people who choose to end their lives instead of going on with daily torment and I am so very grateful that deep down within me, I was able to find the light worth pursuing and that I am still here to write about it: things could have been different …
In a perfect world, we are equal. Understood. Respected. But this is not a perfect world… So please, if you see someone being bullied, step in. Say something. Help the person out. Because to not do so is just as bad as the one inflicting the pain …. And trust me – as a person who lived through it —- we thank you for it.
Finally, a word to my true friends: then and now : thanks for making me realize that I am a person worthy of good things in life …. I am worth it … ( ps – to the ones who bullied me – you would have liked me … just saying ! )
Please honour Pride Month – whenever or wherever you may be today … There are children, teenagers and adults who need you to be there for them because at this moment, they are fighting for their very lives, every day – whether it be mentally, physically or spiritually. They are allowed to be, to shine and to teach us all how to be better individuals. If we do not – we are failing as a community.
Help heal the World.
Be just – and if you can’t : Shut the fuck up.