Here at Strawberry Scented Burnout, my message to my fans is clear. Stand up for yourself and raise your geek flag loud and proud. That’s somethin’ I’ve learned through my 29 years of living on God’s green earth. But…I know that it’s never an easy thing. And high school can be a pretty daunting battlefield.
With the high-profile cases of Amanda Todd and now Felicia Garcia hitting the internets, one can only be alarmed with the trend of increasing harassment and bullying that’s going on in America’s schools. It’s a pain that I know all too well.
You see, all throughout elementary school, I was a skinny runt. But most of you probably already knew that. Once I got to high school, things got pretty bad. I was picked on pretty bad for my stutter, stature, and really squeaky voice during my freshman year. One bully in particular took to picking on me, and I didn’t really know who to turn to for help. Thankfully the bullies got kicked out of school after one semester, but the damage had been wrought. I didn’t want to do any schoolwork, hell, I didn’t want to even be there anymore. I was this close to being kicked out academically. My parents took me to a shrink and after getting reports from all of my teachers, the diagnosed me with ADD. I knew that wasn’t the case. I lacked the confidence to live. Somehow, I squeaked through the second semester of high school by making friends with John Rodriguez and Ryan Day, two of my dearest friends from high school.
When that summer happened, I decided to make a change. I asked my mom if she could enroll me in martial art classes. She took me to the Pan-Am Taekwondo Academy…and well, the rest is history. Training in taekwondo gave me confidence and self-esteem. Yes, martial art dojos really do that. Seriously. Once I got a handle on who I was, who I wanted to be, and where I wanted to go, High School didn’t seem so bad. I later wound up being the ASB Senior class treasurer and other things besides.
Even today, some of my students tell me about bullies in their school, and I have to tell them how to act in the face of bullying.
So what’s the point of all this? It’s simple. Bullying sucks. But what can you do? Well, there are a bunch of things you can do.
1. If you’re being bullied, find someone to talk to about it. Like an administrator.
2. Tell your friends and don’t keep it bottled up inside.
3. If your friend is being bullied, sometimes simply offering a shoulder to cry on is more than enough. Be there for your friends.
4. This is the hardest point…but you’ve gotta make a stand. Bullies like to prey on the weak in order to make themselves feel better.
Unfortunately bullying is a problem that’s not going to go away. If bullying nowadays is driving teenagers to suicide, then there’s something really wrong. It needs to stop.
And to all the bullies out there, remember that no matter who or where you are, there’s always someone bigger and badder than you. Don’t cause trouble for other people, because karma’s a bitch.
This entry is dedicated to all the victims of bullying out there. Stay strong.
RIP Amanda Todd and Felicia Garcia.