“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the tress and the stars; you have a right to be here.” – Max Ehrmann
When I started high school, it was the year 1989.
Back then the average price of a new house was $120,000…
One gallon of gas was 97 cents…
A BMW 325 would set you back $21,400…
And mailing a letter only cost you a quarter.
One thing you heard very little about in 1989 was a term now widely used amongst teens and young adults – bullying.
Bullying is nothing more than using superior strength or influence in order to intimidate someone. And while such behavior has gone on for generations, it’s only recently been given a name and the attention it deserves in our schools, on playgrounds and in neighborhoods.
As a shy, chubby, insecure teenager, I was often a target for bullying by my other male counterparts (and some females) who felt it their duty to inflate their own egos by deflating mine. Whenever I hear people say they’d give anything to go back to high school, I can say with quite certainty it’s the last place I’d like to revisit again.
Bullying ranges from mild to more severe, and while mine was somewhat moderate, that doesn’t diminish the effects it had on my growth and development during a rather impressionable age.
The constant tormenting and alienation often causes you to question whether or not you really belong here – in a school or even on this planet. While my writing often provided me with solace from the illogical exploitation I found myself surrounded with, some are not so lucky. Their solution is much more permanent at the hands of those who have little to no compassion for anyone who is different.
While I certainly can attest that being bullied is never easy to positively navigate through, it’s important to remember that we ALL have a right to be here just as we are.
Writer Criss Jami says, “A young outcast will often feel that there is something wrong with himself, but as he gets older, grows more confident in who he is, he will adapt, he will begin to feel that there is something wrong with everyone else.”