Bullying is not funny. It is not cool. It is not right. And more importantly, it is not okay.
Most of us are, thankfully, residents of countries that support tolerance and many of our families have settled in these places simply for that reason. Generations later, it is our responsibility to perpetuate that message of tolerance across our new social platforms, including the internet.
As members of the nail polish blogging community, we all share a love of beauty, color, and lacquer. Other than that, we are remarkably different: from our race to our religion to our hair color...even to our polish application techniques. To marginalize anyone because of those differences is completely unacceptable and today I take a stand against that. I refuse to allow other people's view of "normal" dictate how I behave, believe, and blog.
In solidarity with a multitude of bloggers linked below, my purple manicure represents my proud commitment to the No H8 movement. Today, November 8, I dedicate my post to ending bullying of any kind and to encouraging diversity and imperfection among our colorful community.
Like many others who are posting today, I have been bullied. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, almost everything about me was up for ridicule. In elementary and middle school, I had glasses and braces. That was a fun combo. I got called "four eyed metal mouth" all the time.
I was scrawny. I've always been thin, and the comments were ruthless. People accused me of having eating disorders. When I would make a big show of eating all my lunch in the cafeteria, they accused me of throwing up in the bathroom after lunch. I could never win.
I was never big enough, strong enough, fast enough, or coordinated enough.. but I had always been smart enough until I got moved into advanced classes in the middle of seventh grade. Then my peers who had accepted me as an equal turned on me because they finally realized I wasn't as smart as them, simply because I changed classes and hadn't been learning what they had for the first half of the year. They were pretty good at letting me know that I wasn't good enough to be friends with them anymore. In eighth grade, it only got worse and my grades suffered. My parents had no idea why, and I was too afraid to tell them. I hated school. I'd cry myself to sleep at night but every day I went back.
In high school, I got out of my braces and got contacts. I thought it was a new beginning and a step in the right direction.. but I was still never good enough or pretty enough. I wasn't popular, and I ended up getting forced into doing other people's homework for them, while still being made fun of for being smart. (Really?!)
In the middle of ninth grade, all of my friends turned against me. I still have no idea why, but it was miserable. I had no friends at all, yet I had every class with these people. By the time we graduated, we were able to be barely civil to each other.. and I'm actually Facebook friends with some of them now.
On the looks front, I was still scrawny, had bad hair, a weird fashion sense, and the stress caused me to have bad eczema or psoriasis almost everywhere, including in my scalp (it looked like dandruff and was awesome) and on my face. I had huge inflamed, red, dry patches of skin that would flake off every time I scratched them.. and they were on my face. There was NO hiding them. The more I got teased for them, the more inflamed they got. I would be so stressed that my legs would itch and I clawed at them until I bled.. and I had horrible stomach problems also due to stress.
There's more to my story, but the rest of it I'm simply not comfortable discussing in a public platform at this time.
I'm not sharing this for sympathy. Trust me when I say that I'm in a much better place now, and going through what I did only succeeded in making me stronger. Bullying aside, I rather enjoyed my childhood and I'd give anything to could go back and do it again, knowing what I know now.
I'm sharing this because I want people to know that YOU'RE NOT ALONE. And it does eventually get better. Sometimes it takes going off to college, or even graduating college, getting a new job, or moving.. but once you're able to free yourself from the negativity, the chains of self-loathing and self-doubt will slowly start to fall away.
I have so much more self love now than I ever have, and I've learned to accept myself as I am.. perceived "flaws" and all. And you know what? Once the bullying finally stopped, my skin conditions and stomach problems cleared right up.
My wish for anyone being bullied is that you say something.. to anyone: a parent, a teacher, a counselor. Let them help you. Be stronger than I was. And please, please remember that you are perfect just like you are.
Diversity is beautiful and the world needs you to be YOU. You're special. You're amazing. You're unique.
If you're scared to reach out to someone you know, please visit StopBullying.gov (you can also report cyber bullying there as well) or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Please check out the other bloggers listed below who are also participating in today's event. Together we WILL eradicate H8.