This is His Story

*this should have been up last night, but Blogger wasn't publishing.

A while ago, longer than I'd like to admit actually, my brother asked me if one day I would write about kids who are bullied. I promised him I would. After a long day at work (with a new boss) and a long drive home in slushy weather, I sat down a while ago to catch up with Victor Newman and the Genoa City gang and logged in to Facebook. A video had been posted and I couldn't watch it on my phone earlier today, but knew I had to see it. If you've been online at all since December 1st, chances are you've seen this video. If you haven't yet, promise me you will. Right now.

Chances are, your life has been touched bullying. Maybe you were bullied growing up. Maybe the kids at school tormented you. Maybe you were terrified to face your tormentors every single day. Maybe you needed a friend. Maybe you were on the other side - maybe you were the one throwing stones. How do you feel after watching Jonah's video?

Kids don't understand the weight of their actions. They don't realize that the names they call other children will stick to them - possibly forever. A couple of years ago my sister was being bullied at school. She's had a rough enough life as it is and the anger that churned inside me when she told me what kids were doing to her made me consider inflicting pain on people like I never thought I would. We're ten years apart, so me settling the score would have meant I was breaking the law as an adult threatening minors. I fought back the only way I could - I educated myself on the school board's policy on bullies. Turns out it's zero tolerance. In one lively conversation with the school principal I chimed off the board's exact wording on the subject and said that unless he was prepared to expel the entire graduating class (these were 18 year old young adults), I was taking this issue higher. I said I'd go to the news if I heard of any more delinquents making life for my sister Hell. In truth, I bullied the principal. It wasn't fair. It wasn't his fault. I felt like I had no other way of expressing just how serious I was about the subject. I have no excuse.

As it turns out, I've been a bully (with my sister's principal) and I've been bullied (in elementary and high school). I'll never know just how terrible life was for my sister during that time. I've only had a glimpse of that - just a flicker of what it's like to feel shunned by your peers. Knowing that my sister got on the bus every day, knowing that she was headed to a building full of hatred aimed at her for the very reasons I've always known she was an exceptional person, shatters my heart into pieces I can never put back together. It still makes me feel sick, angry and heartbroken at the same time and for that reason, I stand up against bullying.

In Canada we have Kids Help Phone. A resource for kids and teens who need support. It's so important that we let kids know we're here for them - whenever they need us. If you're reading this right now and think you're alone, please know that you're not. You're loved in ways you can't imagine and by people you don't even me. You're perfect and you deserve happiness. I'm here if you need a smile.

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