It’s been awhile, I know. There was so much going on that I never got a chance to sit down and write. I’m sorry! I’m back, though, so let’s reconnect.
It’s October! Not only does that mean my favorite holiday is coming up in just a few weeks (Halloween!), but it’s National Bullying Prevention Month! Get out your orange shirts, sweaters, pants, and show your support!
It’s a rainy, cold, dreary evening here in Nashville, and it’s the perfect time to blog! In my previous post, I said that I would talk about my experiences. I do believe that I went through all of that pain and torture so I could use it to help others…help you. I will go into my experiences more and more with each post, but let’s start here. It was 5th grade. I thought I would be going into the next grade the same way I had before (I went to a private Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade, with the same classmates all the way through.) But, for whatever reason, 5th grade was not the same as before. I still am not sure what happened, but suddenly kids were starting to turn on me. People I thought were friends, suddenly weren’t anymore. I used to enjoy going to school, but that all changed that year. It started the way you would think: name calling, suddenly being excluded from “groups”, talks, games, etc. That was the year I started to slowly shut down inside. I spent so much time trying to figure out what happened, but finally just gave up. Kids can be cruel. That’s really all it was. One kid can do something, and others want to be like them and be “cool” and that’s really all that happened in my case. It’s different for every situation, of course, but I do believe this is all that it was with mine. No child deserves to be treated like that, I don’t care who you are.
I recall one day on the bus ride home after school, I was spit on numerous times. No matter how many times I moved seats, they followed. I broke my ankle once, and was on crutches. First of all, being on crutches was bad enough because at my school, there were about five flights of stairs to deal with, not to mention being on them with the kids I went to school with. I was constantly being tripped on the bus. The worst experience of having those crutches, though, started in science class. I had propped them up against the wall behind me. It was a Friday, and after Science, we were walking over to church (every Friday was church day.) After class, I leaned back to get my crutches to walk over to church. Well, half-way down the stairs, my crutches gave out and I fell the rest of the way down. Everyone was laughing, and of course, no one came to help. One of the kids had snuck back there during class and unscrewed the bottom of my crutches, so when I used them, this would happen. It was humiliating. But, I fixed them, got back up and went on my way as if nothing had ever happened. At the time, I didn’t know how to defend myself against this kind of abuse, so I always acted like I didn’t care. I had made a promise to myself that year that I would never, under any circumstances, let them see me cry. I always held it in until I got home and I would lock myself in the basement to cry. Once I cried it all out, I started writing songs. It was my only outlet for that pain.
I am going to stress this in, probably, ever post I write: if you are being bullied, tell someone. That is a promise I need you to make to me and to yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to tell people how much pain you’re in, or that you are being called names, but you have to. Here are some resources/places you can go to reach out to someone:
121Help.me Youth Crisis Hotline. They provide 24/7 confidential help. You can call them up at: 1-855-201-2121 or visit their website at: www.121help.me
The Trevor Project: Preventing Suicide: www.thetrevorproject.org OR you can call 1-866-488-7386
PACER National Bullying Prevention Center: One of the largest bully prevention organizations in the U.S. Visit their website for help, resources, or to get involved. www.pacer.org/bullying
Stand for the Silent: Kirk and Laura Smalley’s organization. They lost their 11-year old son, Ty, to suicide brought on by bullying. They travel the country speaking to schools, and inspiring kids to stick together and be equals. Their passion, drive and kindness is infectious. www.standforthesilent.org
Girl Talk: Started by Haley Kilpatrick. This organization is designed towards young girls for peer-to-peer mentoring. High school girls mentor middle school girls to share their experiences, and help them get through the difficult times. They have chapters started in almost every state in the U.S.! desiretoinspire.org
Phone number blocking: A Thin Line (MTV’s digital abuse campaign): Under the “Draw Your Line” tab: http://www.athinline.org/facts/constant-messaging
I know it’s sometimes easier to talk to someone you don’t know, so please use any of these resources above. Getting help is the best thing you could do for yourself!
I would love to hear from you, too! You can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re all in this together, you are NOT alone! Until next time, be strong, have faith, and don’t let anyone tell you you are anything less than wonderful.