Today is Pink Shirt Day. I found out about it last night, actually, as I don’t think Nolan’s school is doing any fundraising for it. I found it through Sarah’s Facebook post about her son Q wearing a pink shirt to take a stand against bullying.
I read up on it, and I instantly texted my mother-in-law to see if she could snag me a pink shirt for Nolan. She delivered (as she always did), and this morning I explained to Nolan what Pink Shirt Day was. He was totally game, in his words…”bullying is bad.”
Bullying is bad. Mostly all of us were bullied, some more seriously than others.
When I was in the 3rd grade, a boy started calling me “disease girl“. He’d chant it whenever I was near him. “Don’t touch me, disease girl! I don’t want your disease!”
When I was in high school, a few kids would religiously call me “crutch girl” or “crippie”. I did my best to ignore those few people determined to bring me down, and thanks to my amazing friends it was easy most days….
Until I went to college. I no longer lived at home with my supportive circle of friends. I made friends with a group of girls, and I thought everything was great…until the “ring leader” of the group decided that I was no longer a part of their group. They just “didn’t like me”. As if that weren’t hurtful enough, the ring leader started to bully me. She’d look me up and down when I walked into the classroom and snigger at my wardrobe choices. She’d make her dislike of me known, refusing to let me sit anywhere near them. Other girls in the program started to follow suit. It got to the point where I would have a panic attack when I thought about going to class. I was so miserable, I couldn’t understand what I had done to this group of girls, and why they were growing by the day.
It got so bad, that I withdrew from the program and moved home. I’ll always regret letting the bullies get to me, but the truth is…they do. The bully mentality spreads, so that it feels like everyone is picking on you. The loneliness and depression is hard to escape, especially when you feel like nobody’s on your side. So many young lives are lost because of bullying.
Which is why bullying needs to stop. You don’t have to like every single person in the world, but you should treat everyone with kindness, empathy and respect always.
This is the lesson I hope to instill in my boys. Be kind, be considerate, be inclusive. And speak up if someone is bullying you, so we can find a way to make it stop.
Nolan hasn’t been in school all that long, but he has already encountered a bully. This bully was older than he is, and takes the same bus. He would yell at Nolan any time Nolan turned to look at the back of the bus, and tell him to look at his feet. He was intimating to my small, kind hearted Nolan. As soon as we found out, we spoke to his teachers, principal, and bus driver. It stopped, after that. Thankfully.