Blog introduction by Rosie C North
“I bet you can’t even find a mirror to look at that fits your whole body.”
It was a perplexing comment to digest then as it is now, but my first memory of being bullied for being a chubby girl still fills my mind with unanswered questions (note my school photo.) First: “How is that kind of girth possible when a whole room can fit in a mirror?” Second: “Did Josh Bro not realize he was literally a head taller and twice my size?” No, I’m not calling out my bully to shame him. In case someone passes the word along that he’s mentioned here, I hope he gets this real message: Josh, last I heard you were on your own weight loss journey as an adult and I genuinely wish you the best. Self-improvement is a lifelong endeavor.
I could run through the list of events where personal humiliation was brought on by multiple bullies. Instead, I wanted to give an honest introduction to who I am these days as acting campaign director: I am a person who feels lucky to not be the target of abuse. Despite my current lack of a bully, my heart will always go out to those having to face any antagonist at any age (because some bullies become adults.) I would be lying if I didn’t admit feeling blessed to have lived long enough to recognize the motivation of a former bully. Seeing a Facebook post about JB’s weight loss goals gave me an ‘ah ha’ moment victims of bullying rarely get: a realization bullying is indeed the result of someone not addressing their own personal issues. I would argue this is always the underlying motivation of bullies; the cowardly behavior that results from a lack of effort and interest in self-accountability.
Truth is, I feel I have grown to carry a genuine indifference to what a bullying persona pretends to offer to our society: “Honest” and “helpful” advice. Bullies tend to believe they have the answers for everyone/any situation; even if no one asked them in the first place. What do bullies really offer? Instant, unreasonable judgement. Scarring memories. Hurt – for both their victims and whether they are aware of it or not, eventual hurt for themselves.
Working on this anti-bullycide campaign, however, I’ve found our student followers reminded me of a related emotion that had a nasty habit of lingering even after a bully left the room: a recurring sense of hopelessness. I remember being an age where I wasn’t in control of anything (with the exception of homework and that was hit or miss control wise). Even if allowed to stay the night with friends, knowing I had to answer for where I was at all times fed a longing to “hurry and grow up already.” I have no doubt this feeling still lingers in the minds of those children currently in school, just as I’m sure bullying is still prevalent in schools. A true sense of Freedom, especially in America, is sought for by everyone, including children. Which brings us together online in 2015, where even elementary school students grow up searching for a sense of freedom and self – often through the escape of the internet. While I am thankful to have found mental peace at understanding my bully’s motivations online, it would be naïve to expect every victim to be owed an explanation for why they were targeted. The reality of our time is that the internet has extended the “playground” for bullies. Add in the element of abuse through anonymity and a child’s small world can grow even smaller. Or worse. Darker.
Bullycide is absolutely worst case scenario that can result from consistent abuse victims receive. The subject is grim, but very real. Many shirk from the topic, including adults with the freedom/ability to step in and protect the largest group of those affected by bullycide – children. Maybe it stems from a lack of remembering what life was like before achieving the freedom that comes with adulthood. Maybe it comes from a complacent belief that bullying “is just part of growing up.” Maybe, like me, those who grow old enough are able to find the answer to why they were a victim. But just because my experience found resolution – I am not convinced this is no longer an issue worth addressing. Too many young lives have been lost long before they truly started. While I truly believe the bullying behavior is cowardly, ignoring the reality of bullying just because I’m not currently affected can be just damaging. Thanks to our founder, Robert Cabell, I look to this campaign as a great opportunity to learn how to make the internet a safer, more positive place for those still needing it.
Please feel free to email me with your thoughts or suggestions for spreading awareness on the need to address bullycide: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, if you are still a student aged 13 to 18 – why not look into spreading positivity through our music video contest? ^_^ I know its kept me going!