Based on the title of this post, I think we all know what I’m gonna chat about here. I know it’s a little different than my normal posts, but I can’t hold my tongue when it comes to this. While the word bullying ALWAYS has a negative connotation, a lot of people don’t realize what qualifies as bullying. Whether it’s a single event or repeated behavior, it’s not acceptable.
Of course giving someone a swirly or an atomic wedgie is classified as bullying, but what about a prank phone call? Or posting something on social media? Or even provoking with just your words? All of these things are bullying and they are certainly abuse.
While bullying is often considered “part of the journey,” it shouldn’t be. It’s absurd how many times we have to tell kids “it gets better” or “they’re just mean, ignore them!” I say these things to those close to me who are bullied and I also thought these things in my own head when I was bullied. When you’re deep in the moment, it’s one of the very few things that makes you feel better. It provides a solace and a place you learn to swim when it feels like you’re drowning.
I love the “It Gets Better” campaign. I love that so many celebrities and AWESOME people are involved with it because it shows kids that there is more to life than being picked on by the jerks in high school. It really DOES get better. It’s the fact that these sort of things have to exist that makes me upset. We shouldn’t have to tell kids it gets better. They should be able to grow up in a safe environment and worry about whether or not they passed their math test rather than will they make it through the hallway without being ridiculed.
Whether it’s your race, your weight, your height, your intelligence, the way you talk, your hobbies, gay, straight, bi, weird, quiet, loud, it shouldn’t matter. Everyone should be free to be themselves and not have to worry about being judged or made fun of. We should be celebrating kids who stand out and are different. That quiet kid in your math class? Maybe he’s AWESOME at playing guitar. The really pretty girl who sits at the next table at lunch? Maybe she suffers from terrible anxiety. You don’t know what other people have going on and it’s not our place to judge.
While I hate that we have to live in a world where bullying exists, I am so happy to know about so many organizations that are helping kids fight this battle so they don’t have to do it alone. The Bully Project and Stomp Out Bullying to name a few. Studies have shown that kids who are exposed to the dangers of bullying are less likely to bully others when they are older. Schools need to start following suit and taking action. It should not be “part of the path.”
Enough is enough. I’m a crusader for those who are too nervous to stand up for themselves. I’m an advocate for all those teens who are too scared to speak up. I hope that everyone reading will say the same. Take a stand because there are too many kids who can’t.