Wednesday, October 3, 2012

National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month

**I am not writing this to garner sympathy or for people to feel bad for me. I am writing this so to make people aware of the severity of bullying and what damage it can cause. I am OK, and I will be whole eventually :). 

I'm sure many of you have already seen this video with La Crosse, WI news anchor Jennifer Livingston. It is a great video. It's worth the watch if you haven't.

What I did not know was that it is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.

I'm thankful that now bullying is receiving the recognition it deserves. The impact of bullying is far more than a kid getting beat up or a small case of hurt feelings. As we all know now, bullying can be traumatic. We have lost lives to bullying, and we continue to. We also know now that bullying is not just a thing for children, it's in the adult world too. I see it online. I even see it in the nail polish community.

My story with bullying is not a pleasant one. I was severely bullied throughout my childhood. My own grandmother even bullied me. She would tell me how fat I was, how unworthy I was, and how terrible my life would be. Visits to grandma's were not about cookies and warm memories for me needless to say

My worst case of bullying happened to me 8th grade American History class 4th period for an entire semester. These two boys who sat behind me absolutely tormented to me. I was reminded on a daily basis how fat and disgusting I was. I was told I was completely revolting and how no one would ever love me or want to be around me. I had things throw in my hair. These boys poked me, took their pencils and messed with my hair "checking for lice". Apparently, since I was so disgusting I must be covered in lice too. I was told never to have children because they would be as ugly as me. I was made to feel more disgusting than an insect. I believed it all. I tried to pay these boys off with gum. I even stole money from my parents to give to them to get them to stop. It never worked. I never told a soul. My parents did not even know. I hid it very well from them. I was too humiliated. I started to develop panic attacks in that class on a daily basis. I never ate my lunch. I never wanted anyone to see me eat at school and give them any reason to call me fat and gross anymore. That didn't work either.

8th grade passed, and thankfully I was not bullied as severely since. What I did not realize is how much that bulling event traumatized me and affected me. Everything they said to me I held on to. I felt inferior. I felt unworthy, disgusting, worthless, and unlovable. I carried that with me. That is what I began to put out into the world as far as body language. My negative self view rubbed off on everyone else. I was lonely, insecure, and sensitive teenager. I lived my life that way too. I never took risks. I never reached out. I preferred to stay invisible where it was safe. If you keep to yourself and hide from the world, there is not much chance for people to belittle and reject you.

I never realized the impact bullying had on me until I was in a therapist office at the age of 23. I have always experienced some level of anxiety and depression in my life, but it was at an all time high then. The therapist asked me if I had experienced any trauma in life. I told her no, and she brought up bullying. When I told her my story with bullying her first response was "that is trauma". I never recognized bullying for what it was until then. I had just assumed all kids were bullied. You move on. The end. That was not the case. Bullying had completely robbed me of my self worth and of a the fun childhood I deserved.

I have worked through many issues in regards to my past bullying. My social anxiety is so much better than it was before. This blog has helped me a lot too. It's through this blog I realized that not everyone out there is judging me, and that people actually like me! I still have a lot to work on though. I hate having my picture taken. I feel very insecure about that. My physical appearance is very touchy subject for me. I have some skewed view of people. I'll see what I view as "pretty people", and I automatically feel beneath them. I do not want to disturb them, get in their way, or talk to them. I know that sounds crazy, but all I can attribute that too is a lot of those negative messages from the past still sticking around. I still am in fear of people judging me harshly. These are things I am working on, and it may take me a long time to get to a better place with this. I have renewed self confidence, and while somethings are still difficult, I will get there.

That is my story with bullying, and I know my story is far from the worst. There are kids killing themselves over things like this. There are adults suffering in the workplace because of this. I think it is worse now with the internet. I'm sure many people get tired of the word "bullying". Please don't get tired of it. It needs to be acknowledged, recognized, and it needs to be prevented. All I ask from you is to not take part in bullying. You take part in bullying even if you witness it and chose to do nothing. Being a stander-by to bullying does not make you innocent. Stand up to these people, and stand up for someone else in need.

These are websites/people I admire on the anti-bullying front:
Rachel Simmons
Rosalind Wiseman
Jess Weiner
ABC Anti-Bullying Coalition

Since the color blue has been used to represent anti-bullying awareness this is one of my favorite blue polishes YSL Bleu Majorelle

If you made it this far thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

Happy Wednesday


  1. Aww, I'm so sorry you went trough such horrible experiences. I was also bullied a lot in school, but thankfully, I don't think it affects me anymore these days.

  2. Damn, what horrible horrible kids those boys were!!! I feel so bad this happened to you, you are so far one of the sweetest bloggers i have 'met'!! I know what its like to carry trauma from childhood into your adult life so I'll just say that you're not alone feeling like this!! I truly hope you fully heal from this horribe experience!!! Keep your chin up, Steph, for each mean person in your life there is a thousand who love you!! =))

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with bullying. It's a very though and hard to handle subject I believe, as people that were bulliers will most likely never confess - or downtalk it as if it were necessary. I experienced the impact of bullying myself when I was young, and in both ways. I thought bullying the even "weaker" (it isn't about weakness but that's how it felt back then) in my class would save me from my own bullies. Can you imagine an insecure girl with braces, floppy ears and glasses? Yeah, that was me. With my actions I hurt 3 other girls the same way as my other classmates hurt me. I shouldn't have acted like that but neither was the school very aware of the problems or trying to solve them, they only patched things up after fights and arguments but never really got to the core of the problems, the disrespect and anger in the classroom. I feel I "survived" the bullying quite okay but sometimes I feel the need to go talk to someone - still debating wether to do so or not.

  4. My nickname used to be bubble butt from a girl named Veronica in fifth grade, I was told not to smile because my teeth were crooked, and my gma still tells me not to eat any dessert. I'm extremely shy and socially awkward. But... I've tried to build a kind of special confidence, and it helps. They can say things about me, but people can't hurt me! I'll just smile in their faces. I don't waste my time on it, and I try to stand up to anyone to does anything to people around me. Thank you for sharing your story. It can be hard to realize you are worth it. You totally are!

  5. Excellent, important post. Abuse and bullying are so much worse when they're kept a dark secret. Raising the issue and bringing it out into the open is the best thing we can do. There are always going to be mean people, hatred and cruelty in the world, but if more of us are willing to confront and stop that kind of behaviour, people's lives will be saved. Steph, you've done a wonderful thing here in turning your bad experience into something incredibly constructive.

  6. Children can be so extremely cruel. I, too, was bullied as a kid. I was usually the only Asian kid in a sea of white faces, so I used to get picked on for looking like I got "hit in the face by a Mack truck" and also for being overweight. It continued for several years, and I just sucked it up, miserable and alone. My grandmother was the same as yours, too, so your story really touched me. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Wow such a great post. I have to be honest I nearly cried I mean I was about to but don't want my husband to see me cry lol. A lot of people go through bullying, even though I didn't go through such terrible experience like yours but I remember when I was a kid, a few of my male classmates call me "Big Eyes or Bulging Eyes" and I don't even have big eyes. It is really sad that how people can be so judgmental and harsh. I applaud you for sharing your story of bullying, that's one big step of letting go of the pain you kept from yourself. I really think you are very genuine and precious. By the way your mani is gorgeous. Keep your head up Steph and be proud of yourself :)

  8. This is an amazing post Steph and you are s very brave for telling us your story. I am so glad to call you my friend and know that you really are such an amazing person! I won't get all sappy on you but thank you for taking your time to write this post and show such a beautiful polish to top it all off.

  9. former bullied personOctober 3, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    i was bullied in 8th grade. some guys played a horrible "prank" (if you can even call it that) on me and after that, i was called "pissmouth" by basically everyone except my friends. i was still in middle school & kids from the high school would somehow recognize me as i was walking down the street & yell it out of their cars as they were driving by. thank god for my friends. i never really considered myself the victim of bullying because it did stop after a couple years, and probably because i don't even really like to think about that incident. 16 years later the only "bully" in my life is my french bulldog :)

    thank you for sharing your story. it breaks my heart that someone would do these things to such a sweet little girl! i don't know if the parents of these kids are just completely fooled but i sincerely hope i will never have to deal with this out of my own kids, or that i will not be in the dark about their behavior.

  10. Not only are your nails beautiful, but you are too! :D You know when someone says 'she couldn't even harm a fly'? That's you. Can I punch those brats that bullied you in 8th grade?

  11. Steph, you're very strong for speaking out so candidly about your experience of being bullied. I really respect you, and instead of feeling sorry for you, I feel proud of you because I can tell from what you've written that you've become stronger and wiser after having been through all that.

    And now you're sharing it with the world. That's incredible! It's a great thing you're doing - reaching out to those who are going through the same thing or who have gone through the same thing. And who knows? Maybe you're also reaching the actual bullies and it'll make them think twice before acting immature and hurtful.

    Your courage and eloquence on the subject will hopefully help lots of people realize that they'll make it through as better people.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog post. You've touched me.

  12. The one thing that bums me out is the fact that you're in Florida and I'm in Chicago and a hug is next to impossible. However, consider this a HUGE internet hug!!!! I really wish I knew you in person because you seem like such a strong, fun, AWESOME,down-to-earth person and I bet we would have a fun time hanging out, talking about polish, and just being girls. I am sorry to hear that growing up was not the easiest, but I hope that you are realizing that you don't need to be anyone else but YOU. You were created as a unique person who is unlike anyone else on this earth. I completely understand everything you struggle with...I've been through a lot of it myself. It's hard to overcome, but I can tell you are one kick-ass lady who can stand up and say, "This is ME and I am PROUD!" I'm so proud of you for this blog entry and everything else you do through this blog. You inspire me!

  13. I'm very sorry that you had to go through all that. Kids can be such incredible jerks. I, too, was bullied and made fun of constantly. I was overweight all through school. I had big cheeks, and smallish eyes, so my eyes would practically close when I smiled. Because of that, kids would call me Chinese-eyes. Also, my last name is VanBeber, so I got called Amber VanBlubber practically daily. One of the most memorable moments was when I was in my 10th grade Biology class. We were working in groups and the group that was working behind mine was a group of boys. They started quietly singing "Fat guy in a white t-shirt" to the tune of Chris Farley's "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" SNL song. It didn't occur to me until much later that I was actually wearing a white t-shirt and they were talking about me. To this day, and I'm 32-years-old now, whenever I see the "head guy" from that group on Facebook, I want to tell him to go f*ck himself, though I'm sure he doesn't remember the incident. I so wish that I could go back in time and tell my high school self that by the time she's 30, she'll be smaller than she was in high school and all the guys and cute, skinny popular girls that made fun of her to boost their own self esteem will be pretty large.

  14. Thank you for sharing!!! You're an inspiration for me

  15. You're one of my pretty people, and you shine from within. Thanks for the inspiring story. :) HUGS!

  16. Then you have anti-bullying 'advocates' who are nothing but bullies them self. Ive been watching this mess unfold on my Twitter for months now. I think they all need to be committed.

  17. Ugh horrible. I was bullied too but moreso behind my back than in front of me (although I had my fair share of that too)- 6th graders apparently think it's funny to ask a "fat" person to go to the gym with them and then think it's hilarious when I said yes...sigh...

  18. Stepahine, Thanks so much for sharing. I came across your blog while researching "Bullying Awareness" and can't thank you enough for the information you shared. I am hopeful that as more and more individuals share their stories we will realize "ignoring" the problem is not the answer. With your help, I've come across some great videos I hope can be used to help "Stop Bullying".

    Stop Bullying: Stand Up For Your Classmates

    Stop Bullying: The complex problem of bullying in schools

    I'm not sure if you appreciate Fireworks as much as nail polish :) but if you do, to draw attention to this month (October) being "Bullying Prevention Month", we are giving away (yes, totally FREE) an iPad/iPhone app we created called Fireworks Blast-Off:

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Thank you for the link to the news story; I hadn't yet seen it and it was very moving. And thank you for sharing your personal story. It's very powerful to hear from someone who was strongly affected by a bullying incident that some people might write off as minor. It's not something a person can just shake off. Especially when the victims are children. I only wish I'd had more of an idea of how to combat the bullying I saw happening when I was in high school. I disliked it and tried not to participate in it, but I know I was a silent bystander many many times when I should have actively tried to stop it from happening. Ten-plus years later, I can only hope that the victims from my high school days have gotten help like you have.


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