It’s hard to find something original to say about bullying. It’s kind of all been said. And we all know it all already. We know that bullying is bad. We know it destroys lives. We know the effects are hard hitting and long lasting. So then why is it still such an issue in our society? This past year, my seven year old daughter had her first real experience with bullying. And the kid probably didn’t even think much of it. A simple note passed, criticizing her big head and skinny legs. She’s seven. She’s never thought twice about her body or how others are judging it. She still gets out of the bath and runs around in the house in her underwear, laughing while I chase her, trying to get her into her pyjamas. At the end of a good meal she still puffs out her stomach to show me how well she ate - expecting me to be impressed at the increase in size. “Look how much I ate, mom!” she’ll say. “Look how big my tummy is now!”. It broke my heart to hear that confident language change to a much more insecure “well… DO I have a big head mom?” and “…DO I have skinny legs?”. It’s not this other kid’s fault. There is something intrinsically wrong with the way our children are taught to see themselves and others. As items to be compared and judged and held to a standard. Big compared to what? Skinny compared to what? I watched a video recently where a woman, who is an actress, talked about style. And how differently would we see each other if we wore our personalities as clothing? If instead of crop tops or long t-shirts or ripped jeans trending, compassion was trending? Or kindness was trending? And we wore our character on the outside where everyone could see it. How differently would people behave if that was the first thing we saw when we looked at each other? What if we celebrated each other’s differences instead of being afraid of them? Maybe the world would have a few more artists, a few more singers, a few more creators. Maybe there would be a few less suicides, a few less kids eating their lunch alone in the bathroom, a few less people thinking they have to go it alone.
Yeah, I'll wear a pink shirt today. I'd wear one every day if it would help. And I don't even like pink.
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- Lauren -