Today is Pink Shirt Day, a day to raise awareness of, and to hopefully put a stop to, bullying.
I was a victim of bullying as a kid. I was small, skinny, smart and intellectually curious which made me a target for other kids. Because I didn't share the same interests as my classmates, or looked at those interests in a different way, I was constantly picked on for my size, and my mindset.
My step-father stuggled with a weight problem, so that was a two-fer for the bullies, picking on me by shaming him.
When you're young, being bullied can make you feel desperately alone, and isolated in the world. You struggle wondering what it is you're doing wrong that people dislike you so.
For many people, the desperation can lead to suicide.
I overcame bullying through reason. I made sure I dotted my i's and crossed my t's in life so that I couldn't be accused of wrongdoing. I tried to be the best I could so that no one would have reason to bully me. It didn't stop the bullying, but it helped me realize, over time, that I wasn't the problem - the bully was.
The bully had issues that he needed to distract from by turning everyone's attention towards me.
Bullying is cruelty - intellectual terrorism - plain and simple. No one deserves it. And no one should let it slide either.
If you see bullying, step up, say something. You may save a life.
If you yourself are a bully, best you redirect your attention to a mirror, because YOU are the problem.