**I'm not writing this to garner sympathy. I'm writing this to share a story and I hope some of you will share your stories too. I'm also writing this spread awareness. I don't think I'm Oprah or anything, nor am I trying to be, but this issue is very significant to me and I feel a need to speak out.**
I've mentioned this before. I never intended to use this blog to talk about personal things or things on my mind non-related to nail polish, but sometimes I feel I have to.
I'm sure many of us in the US know about the 5 teens who committed suicide in the past 2 weeks because they were bullied for being gay. This is sick and sad to me. Those suicides were unnecessary and could of been preventable. I'm sick of homophobia. I'm sick of homophobic comments. Sorry to offend, but I'm sick of certain political leaders and religious leaders condemning homosexuals as inferior, sinful, and wrong. I think this definitely contributes to the gay bashing/bullying. That being said, I really would like to talk about bullying in general today.
I feel like it has only been with in recent years and more so the past week or so that the severity of bullying has been disussed and recognized. However, not enough action is being taken. I hope that will change. I always hated how people pushed bullying aside as "every kid gets bullied" or "kids will be kids". In fact, when I was younger and being bullied I bought into that mentality.
I was severely bullied when I was 13. I had been bullied prior to that and even after that, but it wasn't as extreme as when I was that age. I remember it was 4th period history class. I sat in front of these 2 jock boys, and for the entire year that tormented and humiliated me because I was overweight. They'd call me names and ask me if I consume everyone's food. They'd throw things in my hair. They'd follow me around school and yell out things in the hall in front of tons of my classmates. The other kids in the class often joined in. I even would try to bribe these boys with gum and money to leave me alone, of course that didn't work. I would have full-blown panic attacks in that class everyday. I would hold on to my desk for dear life hoping that I wouldn't pass out or throw up. I wouldn't ever eat lunch at school because I never wanted them to see me eat. I even remember them telling me that if they were "turned on" by some other girl they could just look at me and I was disgusting enough to turn them off. They also told me I should never have children because they'd be as ugly as me. This was my life for 9 months of being 13.
I never told a soul. I never told my parents. I never told a teacher. I was embarrassed. I hid the pain very well. Looking back now, I wish I had spoken up. I had always had issues with anxiety growing up, but as the years went on my anxiety intensified and my self confidence was completely diminished. I visited a therapist a few years ago asked me if I suffered emotional abuse. I said no. She then asked if I had been bullied. I told her yes and my story and she said that is most definitely emotional abuse. I was confused because I assumed every kid gets bullied and you're supposed to get over it. This was the first time I recognized how deeply affected I was buy bullying, and how this bullying had manifested itself into my need for perfectionism, my fear people judging me, my fear of people leaving me, and my low self worth. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and it has been suggested I may also have some post-traumatic stress related to this. This all being said, please do not feel bad for me. I do not feel bad for myself. I'm sad this happened to me, and I didn't deserve it in anyway. I've learned ways to cope with anxiety and these emotions. I'm a strong person and in ways these situations have made me wiser and stronger.
That is my story, but it also hundreds of thousands of other kids/teens story too. Their stories maybe different but the emotions and outcomes can be the same or even worse. This is truly an epidemic in schools that needs to be remedied. There is not enough action being taken. If you are gay, overweight, thin, tall, short, smart, a little different, or whatever the case may be, you do not in any way deserve to be tormented. It's obvious to me why people bully now. It is to build up their own self esteem. People who have a strong sense of self, confidence, and high self esteem have no need to bully. I wish I had known that as a kid, and I wish there is a way to convey that to kids now in that situation, but it's difficult.
Bullying doesn't stop when you're an adult either. I know many bloggers have been the victim of bullies. I have been repulsed by some of the people in the blogging world who will go to ANY lengths to try and destroy someone's life. We are talking about grown women here. That is what is truly sick about all of that. Grown women some of them have their own children behave in this manner? No wonder we have bullies. People like that should be ashamed of themselves.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of Tyler Clementi, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, and Seth Walsh. My heart also goes out to the parents whose kids have been or are being bullied and the victims of bullying themselves. My hope is that we can put an end to this torment. Kids and teenagers deserve to have a childhood full of joy, fun, and happiness. Bullying is real, it's dangerous, and should be taken very seriously. Enough is Enough.