Bullying isn't a new topic. It's something most of us have dealt with in our lives either with our kids or in our own childhood. Our station is doing an awareness campaign to help start the discussion about bullying. Sometimes, these campaigns need a story. I think we all have one and I am going to share mine.
I am under five feet tall. I have always been on the petite side of life. My childhood is full of memories of being called, "shrimp, shorty, midget, etc."
Come on, why be so sensitive? When you are called out for being "different" it has an impact on you. As a kid, you want to blend in and go with the crowd. You long to be just like everyone else. When the person calls you out, usually in front of others, it pretty much means that you are no longer blending in...
As an adult, I am STILL being called names and getting patted on the head. SERIOUSLY. I've learned that it's no longer a reflection on me but the person patting me on the head. THAT person is the one that has issues. The one resting their arm on my head as though I were an armrest. THAT person is the one that needs their head examined. I know they aren't trying to be mean but it's embarrassing. Sure, you can mention my size to me--I KNOW I am "short" and this is not new information. I am different and I embrace it, most of the time .
HOWEVER...when you put your stinky armpit on my head and mock me because I am short, I call that bullying. That's nothing more than a bully in the hallway at school making fun of the kid that's different. So, as you can see, bullying continues and I don't see it stopping. However, it's your reaction that can change and I've decided to feel pity on those that pat me on the head or pretend to use my head as an armrest. MY REACTION to the bully is to tell them that their behavior is not acceptable. Of course, I am nice about it but it brings me back to the days of the bully in the hallway.
As I was writing this, I read it back to myself and wondered what my point was in this narrative. I am not sure I have a point other than we've all been there and EVERYONE has a story. If you are being bullied or someone makes you uncomfortable, it's okay to ask for help. In fact, I wish I had asked for help when I was a kid. Talk to your friends and ask them about "their story" and what they did to work through it. Childhood is tough and we all had to get through it. It's easier if you talk to someone about it and find out that you're not alone.
Also, I want to share a partial conclusion to my childhood bully story. There was one person in particular that used to say those cruel words to me. As an adult, I confronted him. He had no idea that that those words hurt me so much. HE HAD NO IDEA!!! What if I had told him back when we were kids? Would he have stopped? Would the teasing have increased? We will never know but the fact that he had no idea how hurt I was tells me the outcome may have been different had I said something. You can't change the past but you can change your reaction to hurtful people. Hold your head up high and know that being different is a GREAT thing . Embrace it and be kind to one another. Take the pledge here and pledge to help lift people up instead of tearing them down.
Be part of our Stand Up to Bullying Campaign. Take the pledge and see us at the Wisconsin Valley Fair for your I STAND UP Bracelet!
More bracelet locations coming after the fair. We will list them on www.wifc.com