When you shut a door, sometimes it's hard to open it up again. I don't talk about being bullied while growing up. It brings me to instant tears. It's one of those doors. I just spent the past week with a group of good friends (Friend Movement) on a quest to bring awareness to communities on the importance of being a friend and not a bully - The New F Word. I think it's time to open a few of my own doors.
I didn't have many friends growing up. Part of the only child curse I suppose or partly due to the fact that the kids I grew up around were mean. I was teased at a young age, called a faggot, called gay, called a homo long before I knew what those words meant. Tears would run down my face, I felt lost and alone. I didn't understand cruelty. I'd talk to my parents a little about it and although they would make me feel better I still didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to hurt inside.
It didn't stop there. I was teased for the way I talk, sound. A voice is a powerful thing in life. Its who we are and how we communicate and mine is unique. It's not strong and its not deep. Combine that with being called gay and life was hell. There were days I just didn't want to exist. I was embarrassed to talk for fear of being teased and made to feel different; for fear of not being accepted. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't change how I was made. It cut deep.
I still carry that fear. You'd never know it. I grew thick skin and learned how to talk myself through my anxiety of being in front of new people. Trying not to wonder what they think of me when I speak.
Ironically I have a lot to say; there's a lot that I believe in and there's a lot to fight for. I imagine kids today that are experiencing the cruelty that I did; the tears that run down their face and it keeps me going.
I sometimes think about how funny it is that I have this fear and insecurity and I chose a career in communications and public relations. There are still days I'd rather run and hide but to the core, that's not me. With this being said I proudly stand up against bullying and am willing to be a friend to those who think they are alone in the world. You're not? We are here together!