Happy March everyone! 🙂 It has been a really busy and stressful time but I’m pleased to announce that I am going to Simon Fraser University next year! It’s all come down to this, finally. Thank you all for bearing with me!
So with this post, I might be just a tad late to the party. On February 26, people across Canada and the world wore pink to rally against bullying on the 7th annual Anti-Bullying day. Earlier this past week, I had read an article in the paper about a 9 year old girl from Nanaimo, BC who was bullied relentlessly because of her weight and physical appearance, forcing her to change schools to escape the bullying. The two events – one going in a positive direction, one not so much – both show that bullying is not a one time thing that can be stopped overnight. While there has been so much growth and progress, we are still so far from where we want to be as a society.
Reading this article made my heart break for this girl. At 9 years old, you shouldn’t have to be focused so much on physical appearances. For that matter, no one should be so hung up on their own appearance or how others look. At 9 years old, you are supposed to be happy-go-lucky without a care in the world. Because of the mass amount of bullying, this girl could not experience this, and instead was forced to “grow up fast” (Connie Walker, CBC News). Comments made towards this little girl were unnecessary and so hurtful, that it made me hurt for her as well.
Unfortunately, cases like this are not uncommon. Bullying is still a major issue not just in elementary schools but also in high schools, universities and even in workplaces.
As someone who has been bullied before for various reasons ranging from physical appearance, ethnicity, religion and even the people I hang out with, it has impacted me in a way that changed my life. Obviously, the feeling is not great when you are in the situation, and even in the months and years after, it still affects you. It has been nearly 4 years and yet, the wounds and scars still remain whenever I read about incidents like this.
Bullies have altered my life and have taken my ability to remain care free and replaced it with constant fear. At the present, I realize now that if I continue to live in the way that I used to – filled with constant depression, anxiety and fear – then I have let them win. I have become their victim. Not to belittle my own or anyone else’s situation, but we must stay strong. We must stand up for what is right, and that is to prevent other people from going through what this 9 year old did.
This life experienced changed me for the better, even though I could not see so at first. Without them, I would not be the strong person I am today. I would not be able to take on the bigger challenges that life throws at me. I would not be so passionate about the whole issue of bullying without them.
I urge you all to take a stand. Pink shirt day should not just be a one day thing where people just wear pink shirts; rather, it should be every day, even when you are not wearing a pink shirt. I admit, sometimes it is difficult even for me to stand up to people and tell them to stop. I know full well that being a bystander is just as bad as being a bully, because you are choosing to turn a blind eye and let it happen. I hope that, even though no one maybe doing it, remember that it is the right thing to stand up. You could save someone’s life.
On that note, I realize that it is worrisome. What if no one backs you up? What if you get made fun of? What if you become the next victim? Maybe you are the one that will prevent this from happening again. Maybe you will be the first person that initiates the right thing, something that others want to do but are too afraid to. Maybe you will be the one that turns the victim’s life around and helps the bully to realize the error in their ways.
Bullying is not an issue of people not being able to defend themselves, or not being able to conform to society, or because people are just mean. Bullying is an issue because majority of the time, we just let it happen. Something that seems so difficult to fix actually has a simple answer – we just need to put time and effort into correcting it. As mentioned earlier, it will not change over night, but if we speak up every day, change will come. Change will happen, and it will be change for the better.
I hope that in time to come, bullying will not be an issue anymore.
Until then, take a stand, speak up, and spill some more ink.