For most of my life, I have been "reminded" by family and bullies alike, that I'm fat. But unlike Jennifer, I didn't have a thick skin and resorted to hating myself, hating my body. It didn't matter that I was a great student, talented at music, a loyal friend, someone who cared passionately about animals--to some people, all I amounted to was a number on a scale. And while my husband and kids love me just for who I am, it still hurts when comments about that, my illnesses, my blogging (particularly on this one) or the fact I make my own choices are ridiculed.
So to see Jennifer, a strong confident mother standing up to a bully gives me hope that I, too, can take action against bullying in my own life.
To Jennifer I say, YOU GO GIRL!
3 years ago, I got to know a young man, Jaylen Arnold, then 9 years old. Jaylen was passionate about stopping bullying due to his battle with Tourette Syndrome, OCD and Aspergers. He began Jaylen's Challenge, and his motto is BULLYING NO WAY! Head over there, take the pledge, and make a donation to get a cool glowing bracelet. All proceeds go to allow Jaylen to visit schools to talk about bullying--where each student gets a "anti-bully" pack and teachers are given anti-bullying curriculum.
I got to meet Jaylen last year and burst into tears. After all, it's not often you get to meet your hero, someone who truly saw me for who I am and who encouraged me to fight against my bullies.
There is NOTHING pretty about bullying. In fact most bullies feel inadequate about their own lives and go after others to make themselves feel better. How pathetic is that? And as Jennifer points out, children learn what they are taughter--parents who bully are going to raise bullies.
I am proud of my two kids who not only stand up against their own bullies, but look out for those who are being bullied. I wish I were as strong as my teenage daughter--who is stronger at 17 than I could ever hope to be. I've worked hard as a mom to teach my kids they are awesome just the way they are, that they are loved unconditionally, no matter what. And it makes me proud to see them model that behaviour when they accept others, no matter if it's religion, disability, race, gender, or sexuality.
There IS hope for our future that bullying will be a distant, bitter memory. And THAT is a beautiful thing.
"While bullying doesn’t cause suicide, a stressful environment and persistent, emotional victimization can increase a person’s risk of suicide. Together, we can create awareness about the dangers of bullying and give emotional support to those who may be contemplating suicide. If you or someone you know is in an emotional distress or suicidal crisis, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)."