Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Letter to the Bullied Child

Today's Bystander Revolution challenge was issued by Melissa Joan Hart - to talk to someone younger about bullying, and give them some suggestions on how to deal with it. I'm going to do an announcement at school, but I also have a message to share with my past self, with the hopes that it might help someone else who is being bullied right now.

Dear Self of the Past,

It's me, your future. I see the pain that you are in right now. I see your fears of what the next day at school is going to be like, and wondering how much worse it's going to get. I can understand how you might feel that the whole world is against you, and that the weight of the world is sitting on you. I see the happiness that you once shared with everyone slowly being replaced by sadness and tears. I hear your thoughts of "please just let me invisible". I even see your deepest fear of not being good enough, not being worth it.

I'm sorry that you're living this, that you're experiencing the worst that people have to offer. I want you to know that you don't have to worry about taking the risk to meet new people, not everyone will be mean. You can take a chance and come out of your shell. There are some awesome people out there that you will meet, and you'll start to see that kindness overpowers bullying every single time. Even when you feel like no one is in your corner, there are complete strangers out there who care and are sending you nothing but the best of wishes.

I want you to know that you don't have to stay silent. You've been told that you have nothing of value to say, but I can tell you that your words matter. They will matter a lot in the future. Your bullies have tried to squash your voice like a steamroller. It's not because you're "stupid", or "a moron", or any other names they want to call you, it's because they just can't understand your fantastic ideas. It takes power to use your voice, and I know that you have that power in you. Don't be afraid to let it out and never let someone else tell you that your voice doesn't matter. It really does. You will go on to use your voice for great things. Don't be afraid to ask for help, it comes from the most unexpected places.

I want you to know that you are worth it. You are someone that matters, we all matter. You're worth someone taking the time to get to know. Very soon you are going to make some plans that you hope are going to change people's lives. You're going to help so many people with your experiences, both of bullying and living with a severe chronic disease. I know right now you feel absolutely powerless to the point of tears, but it's not always going to be that way.

I want you to know that you're going to learn soon about the person you want to become in the future. You're going to take your ugly experiences and make something beautiful from it. You feel the pain of bullying and you will remind yourself that this is the exact type of person you don't want to be, and you take action to do the exact opposite. You're going to learn that our days here on earth can be very short, so you will take action to change the world for the better. Your actions will be filled with compassion and you will practice kindness because you know that life could end at any time and you want to make a difference before that happens.

I want you know that it's ok to be different. You don't have to be ashamed of being gifted, of finding schoolwork way too easy that you're looking at university lectures online. You come up with some amazing science ideas that are way beyond the level of most kids your age. It's ok, you're going to see that there are other kids like you, and you're going to meet a lot of university kids volunteering at the hospital to be able to share your ideas with. Different is good. If no one "thought outside the box" then we wouldn't come up with solutions to problems. It's also ok to look different. Your medical problems will make you appear different, you will have tubes taped to your face from time-to-time and you'll wear a colostomy bag for life. You will need to go on and off steroids which will cause serious weight gain, as will some of the side effects of the medications. At first the kids will be mean as they don't understand what you're going through, but one day you're going to find that the majority of them are cheering you on with your journey. You will go on to inspire them, you just need to get through some rough patches.

Most of all, I want you to follow your dreams and never believe anyone who tells you that you can't. Make every day about proving that you can, and remembering that even the greatest of challenges can be overcome. Remember that every small step counts, and that even a single person has the power to make a big difference.

Smile and breathe. It's going to be alright.

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