It's come up quite often lately, that touchy and heartbreaking subject; bullying.
It's so sad to see that even though schools have a "zero tolerance" policy that SO much bullying is still happening in schools and outside of them. It doesn't matter whether you're 6, 16, 26, 36, big or small, male or female, young or old; the bullies definitely exist.
Recently I've been hearing a lot about young children, ranging from 6 to 10, being bullied. Imagine an innocent child being made to feel that they aren't enough at just six years old. And, what about the children bullying? Thinking that they can judge another child at such a young age. Personally, I think that reflects a lot on society and the media. The media has always had a huge and touchy impact on this subject. But, it's up to the adults to make sure that the children aren't affected by such things at such a young age. As hard as it is to keep children in a positive mindset, we have to try and find a way. Yes I know, what would I know? I don't have children. But I do have a 12 year old sibling who has been a victim of bullying since she was 6 years old. I also know that by allowing her to watch certain shows (by an accidental lack of Netflix parental controls) that it can make things a lot worse. Introducing her to suicide and depression in the media gave her ideas that I know she wouldn't have come up with on her own at that age, otherwise. Luckily, in this particular case, it was a cry for help and attention, and bullying is attention given in the wrong way. It feeds fear and negativity.
Now I was not a victim of bullying as a child. I was very, very lucky. My parents also taught me not to sit idly by and watch it happen. So yes, I had my fair share of squabbles over standing up for bullying injustices that I knew were definitely not right. Examples; girls calling other girls too fat to run in gym class, teachers accusing girls of not being able to get out of a burning house if their lives depended on it, and as an adult grown women talking constant negativity and creating rumors about other grown women, authoritative figures molding younger girls into versions of themselves that those girls aren't comfortable with. The list can go on and on. The point is, we need to stop it.
I might have escaped bullying as a child, but I experienced bullying as an adult. This is why this topic hits home for me. Adults bully too. Not only is it as bad as bullying a child whose character is influenced by the circumstances in which they deal with, but worse in the sense that as an adult, you're trying to figure out who you really are. Not only that, but trying to define yourself, and figure out what your childhood experiences mean about who you are. Then take another adult and throw intentional life manipulation into the mix and you have yourself a real mess.
I know what it feels like to walk into a room just in time for whispering to stop. To pull up to work and feel paralyzed because there's no way of getting out of the car. To know that when I walk in; no one will be happy to see me, no one will even speak to me. Just behind the back whispers. All because I also know what it's like to try and do things a different way, outside of the box. In my core I feel wrong to partake in gossip and negativity, which bullies will not stand for. So I do preach to those of you women AND men who are in positions of power; try to use it for good. Try to use it to build bridges and confidence for those under and around you. Not walls of negativity. It's much more beneficial to use power for love instead of falling in love with your power. It's time that power becomes a positive word again. That we stop letting it feel dirty because so many have made it that way.
Knowing what I went through, and still go through, I do what I can to make sure people who matter most to me don't have to go through the same thing. I have had to stand up for people to ensure that they were no longer bullied by grown women who simply did not want to see them succeed. I survive being bullied by women in a very small town, who have nothing better to do than try to bring others down and crush their success simply because they CHOSE not to see their own true potential. They wallow in every negative experience life throws at them instead of dealing with them head on, putting all of their energy into trying to make myself and others feel just as bad as they do.
Here I am though, I'm alive, I'm happy and successful. I'm no superhero though. Did it bother me? Yes. Did it make me cry? Hell yes. I'm an emotional person. But did it teach me a lesson? Absolutely. I learned that adults, much like confused children, have bigger issues. Adults are jealous of other's successes. Adults do not want other adults to do even as good as them, especially not better. Adults are shaped by their relationships, their careers, their friends or lack thereof, and everything in between. Being an adult is complicated. And you don't have a parent there always telling you which scenarios to avoid. It's messy. So take a child with a rough upbringing, bad circumstances; they grow up, never learn from them, and you potentially have yourself a damaged controlling person. Who takes their personal vendettas out on everyone around them and tries to manipulate each situation.
So yes, there are real-life Regina George's out there. The type that comment on your weight whether you're too small or too big, the type that tear your work down and make up rumours about you, even the type that loathe you with every fiber of their being for absolutely no purpose other than to ruin your life if they can. But it's OKAY. If I can survive, so can you. Whether you're in a small or large town, big or small school, or whatever point in life you're at. It's okay to admit you're hurt. To admit that you hurt. It's a hurtful and sad scenario. But you are stronger than them. You control you.
I am here to tell you it is okay. You will survive. The moment you free yourself from letting those people control you, guess what? They can't. The only power they can have over you is YOUR emotions. And YOU control those. You control if you step out of the house with a smile on your face. YOU decide if you let those rumours get to you. And what about the people who believe them? That's on THEM. You have no control over other people. They will think what they want and one day they will figure the truth out for themselves, and if they don't, they aren't important to you anyway.
So the next time you walk out your door, try to remember to smile for the person you know you are. The next time you see someone doing or saying something mean about someone else, stick up for that person in a nice way, or walk away. I know you know that just one person standing up for them will make the world of a difference. But you also know that the person doing the bullying has a lot of demons they need to deal with too. I am proof that standing up for one person can change their world. And I know that if one person had have stood up for me in my situation it would have also made the world of a difference. Every person just needs one helping hand. ONE other person to question 'is this right, or is this wrong?'
Humans were created with the choice to be good or bad, to make right and wrong decisions. Some people simply take longer to figure out that the decisions they're making are the wrong ones. And remember that you never fully know any one person's circumstances; the person being bullied or the person doing the bullying. Act with kindness, but be your own moral compass.
Spread love, my loves.