Hello Coremag readers,
I’m beyond thrilled that I have been invited by the Coremag staff to write a monthly blog. I don’t take it for granted that I have been given an outlet to reach thousands of young females on a monthly basis. The thought of it also makes me a little nervous. How many girls are interested in the opinion of a preteen 12 year old? Well all it takes is one. If something I write can make a difference to just one young person than the jittery nerves will have to take a back seat. My faith has to replace my fear. Yet as I set in front of the computer typing and asking my mom for help I realize the jittery nerves did not take a back seat. They were front and center. Using one of my favorite spiritual lines, “my faith has replaced my fear”, wasn’t working as I battled what would be my first blog. I’m constantly told by my mother that first impressions are so important. So you know my first blog has to be on point. “Mom, please help me.” As she gives me that, ‘this is your project’, look she asks what is the biggest issue I face as young girl. Ahh there it is, bullying.
I can’t look at the news anymore when it comes to young people killing themselves because they have been bullied. Maybe I have a hard time watching or reading about bullying because to think that someone can be driven to that state of mind by another classmate is so frightening. As someone that has been bullied a lot in school, I don’t like to think about it getting so bad that it could drive me to suicide.
I have come to the realization that it seems to get worst in high school. The bullying in middle school has been bad enough so that is not a comforting thought. It does not matter that I have been on television. It does not matter that I’m a youth leader for Rev Sharpton’s National Action Network. It does not matter that I’m a child. What matters is I know like most of you what it feels like to be bullied. What we have to be careful with is not to become like the people bullying us. This is not the time to apply the saying. “ if you can’t beat them join them”.
Some times the kids that are being bullied do become bullies themselves. They feel if they are doing the bullying than maybe the bullying against them will stop. I even very, very briefly thought about becoming friends with the mean girls in school so they would stop picking on me. I realized all I would be doing is making someone else’s life miserable and being a part of the problem instead of the solution. I hate to think that I said something to someone else that brought their life down instead of saying something to bring their life up. Also I would be a homeless 12 year old bully. My mother doesn’t play that. If there are any girls reading this blog that bullies, tease or pick on other people please stop.
You might think you are being funny because other kids in the class laugh when you say something mean to someone but you are not being funny. You are being cruel. The kids that laugh when you bully someone only do so because they are glad they are not the subject of your bullying. That nervous laughter is a sign of relief that it wasn’t them being picked on. How miserable someone must be when making fun of people is their only form of communication. Kids are losing their lives because a miserable person have bullied them to the point of not wanting to live anymore.
How many kids have switched schools because they could not deal with the teasing anymore? How many young people’s lives have been turned upside down because of bullying? Social media has taken bullying to new heights of despair and made it easier for bullies to pick on others even when they are far away from their victims. Let’s try to understand what makes a person a bully. Usually they are just unhappy with themselves. Because they are miserable they want someone else to be miserable also. Hence, they pick on someone so they can see the look of misery in that person face and that makes them feel as if they are not the only unhappy person in the world. It also gives them a false sense of control and power. Bullies also pick on people to get attention. If saying something mean is the only way for you to get attention then you need to find a new outlet. Pick up a skill or hobby and become good at it. Trust me, positive attention feels way more better than negative attention. If you are a bully ask yourself why you feel the need to make someone unhappy. Then don’t be afraid to find help so you can stop being a destructive person. There is nothing wrong in asking for therapy. It is better to get mental help now than to be dead later because you picked on someone that had nothing else to lose in life and they decided to do you harm.
Recently a girl called me a freak and the whole class laughed. Yet this freak, as she called me, stood at the National Mall in our nation’s capital, Washington DC on October 15th and delivered a speech before thousands on national television. How ironic that now I’m blogging about her and other bullies like her. She had an audience of a few. I have an audience of thousands. I have empowered myself against bullies. Calling me names doesn’t change what is on my birth certificate which is Victoria Pannell. It doesn’t take away my sense of who I am. I will not let it stop me from being the creative person I was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always feel as strong as I do now Bullying still hurts, but I deal with it in a different way. At one point I was bullied so much I didn’t want to go to school. I don’t get bullied as much but it still happens. It helps that I have great mentors and other young people around me that rather uplift than put down. Not everyone has that circle of support. Create that circle. Find other victims of bullying and befriend them. There is comfort and strength in unity. It also empowers me when I realize that bullies are not born but created by circumstances and pain in their life. I refuse to be bullied now the way I was before. I will do something about it if it gets to the point where it interferes with my life.
There are different levels of bullying. If you are bullied to the point of not wanting to go to school, have a drop in grades, suffering from depression or heaven forbid, you no longer want to live, tell someone. The first place to start is the principal. Put the school on notice that this is happening to you. If you don’t have a parent that will do something find some adult that has always been kind to you and notify them. You can also try your pastor, priest or bishop or someone at your place of worship. My mom has decided to take a more direct approach. If I ever get bullied again the way I use to, she is taking the bully, their guardian and the school if they didn’t help, to court. It is not that hard to start a lawsuit. You don’t need a lawyer and it is not expensive. People get paid thousands everyday from someone that caused them emotional damage. And we all know bullying is very emotionally damaging. If even if you don’t win you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did something about it.
Our educators need to stop bullying from happening in the classroom. If they have a bully in the class they need to do something about it. My teachers will call my mom for me talking in class but will not call authorities on a bully. To that I say, “No more”. The US Department of Education and local Departments of Education have to be held accountable for letting bullying continue. If they can create laws that stop prayer in schools nationwide they can create laws that will stop the bullying.
To Coremag readers don’t let a bully destroy who YOU are. Years from now when people are calling you the next Oprah or Warren Buffet, that bully that picked on you is still going to be simply known as that bully from school. To the bullies, head into a new direction and lift young people up instead of putting people down. If you have mistreated someone, say you are sorry and ask if you can start fresh. You just might end up meeting your new BFF. Even if the person you mistreated doesn’t become your friend after you apologized and stopped bullying him or her, you will probably sleep a lot better at night. Thanks for reading and see you next month.