Bullying: You're A Faggot

Is something I heard in some form everyday of my life growing up.

From as far back as I can remember, I was bullied so badly that I would often go home and cry, wishing that tomorrow I would wake up as a different person.

I was bullied well into parts of college, and still today experience moments of bullying; however I no longer wish I could wake up as someone different.

I feel like a lot of people don’t understand just how horrible it was for me growing up because they see the person I’ve become. Someone who has found his stride, grew out of his awkward phase, and learned not to be embarrassed about who he is.

I wish I could say that I even forget about those awful days, but that just isn’t true, and I consciously make sure I never will because those life experiences taught me so much.

Being bullied relentlessly takes a toll on your soul in ways that one could never imagine unless they’ve experience it as well. It crushes your confidence; it makes you feel embarrassed to chase your dreams; it makes you feel like you truly are worthless, and in extreme cases, like you aren’t worthy of living a life.

To be honest, I can say I’m one of the lucky ones that never got to that extreme feeling, and when I really think about why, it’s because of my friends.

Growing up I moved around a lot, and for anyone who has ever been the new kid, you know just how hard that can be. Well, imagine being the new kid, but you have a giant red target on your back because you’re different.

I dreaded the first day of school every year that we moved because I knew kids, who felt threatened by my differentness would subject me to an unyielding torture.

Survival mode kicked in, and you just wanted nothing more than to be invisible.

However, what would save me each time I moved was the kindness that someone for some reason would show me. Kindness that they didn’t have to show me, kindness that might make them a target as well, kindness that came from just being a humane person, and kindness that they didn’t realize was saving my life.

To this day, those people, who took the risk at being my friends, are still people I go to in times of need. They’re the people, who I’m not blood related to, but blissfully bound to for life by compassion, love and yes, kindness.

An event I recently attended, and an article I recently read, reminded me of how far I have come, and how far many of us have come, all because of the kindness we were shown by others. 

Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to make it to this point, and that is the fact I hope to remind you of while reading this piece.

Yes, many of us have grown up to become better versions of ourselves and leave those bullied little boys and girls behind; however, we should never forget about that weaker, sadder, and lost soul.

This is not to say that you should sit and stew in that old version of yourself because that is equally unhealthy.

What we should do is remember.  

Remember what it feels like to be on the outside, remember what it feels like to be so isolated, remember what it feels like to be an outcast because we were different. And then we should remember to offer our kindness in small ways everyday because you never know whose life you’re going to change, or save, with a simple act of kindness.

This isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that I feel needs to be shared more now than ever because we’re constantly bombarded with so many messages of hate.

Donald Trump, ISIS, the new legislation being passed in Mississippi and North Carolina, terrorist attacks in Africa, Europe, and here in the United States make things look very dark.

We don’t need others to fail to succeed. We don’t need others to feel badly about themselves for us to feel great about ourselves. We don’t need to put someone else down to build ourselves up.

Rise above the bullying, shut down the gossiping, be the example you wish to see in the world.

And lastly, remember to let your light shine beyond bright for others to see, so that they too remember, we all have moments of ups and downs, and sometimes it just takes a kind soul to turn things around.

I dedicate this to my friends. The people who without realizing it showed me my own light and helped find my direction in life.

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Posted on April 1, 2016 .