I want you to take a moment and listen to this song. Watch the video. Read the lyrics.
The first time I saw this video, it actually made me cry.
(And believe me folks, it takes quite an emotional response from me to make me shed tears)
I’m sure all of you have either experienced or been witness to a scene similar to the ones shown here.
I’m sure some of you have even been the bullies in situations similar to this.
I get it, it’s hard. Peer pressure and all.
But that’s not a good enough excuse for me to accept.
I was a victim of bullying. I know what it feels like. I’ve gone home and cried. I’ve moved schools. I’ve wondered if it was EVER going to end.
There were times when I really felt alone. I didn’t have a single friend to talk to.
There were times when I was afraid to get up in the morning, knowing what was waiting for me at school.
There were times when I really felt like I was living in a personal hell.
Luckily for me, I have an unbreakable streak of stubbornness that refused to die. Every day I’d get up and go to school. Kindergarten (if you think that’s too early to be bullied, you’re wrong) to grade 5 were the worst years. But even after I moved schools it started up again to some degree. I was not even fully free from it by high school, although by that time I had become so shy I went by more or less unnoticed.
When I think about it now, I was lucky. I was lucky I was stubborn, and that my mother was a constant support to me. I was lucky that I refused to back down and by refusing built my character. I was lucky that I had such a burning hope that things would improve.
Some aren’t so lucky.
We can never be fully aware of the consequences of our actions. I hope that by sticking up for people when I was younger that I helped them. I regret that I didn’t do it more.
When you bully someone, you’re hurting them in ways that you probably don’t even know. You’re breaking their confidence and making them feel small. For what, to make yourself feel better? Is the price really worth it?
When you witness an act of bullying, what you don’t realize is how much power you have. What you say is almost more important than what the attacker says. You can change the scene before you. You can help someone. So why wouldn’t you?
You can make a difference.
Now, if you did not watch to the end of the video, I will post the website there here (also, go Rise Against for being so damn awesome):
When you click the link, you’ll be asked to sign a pledge. Do it. All it’s asking is for you to do your part and work to eliminate bullying as best you can. Do your part to save a life.
Also included in the website is a page for those who need help and don’t know where to look. On this page are numbers for help hotlines organized by state, Kids Help Phone, and The Trevor Project hotline.
Besides signing the pledge, there are also numerous other ways for you to get involved. You can donate to the foundation, create an It Gets Better video like the clips you saw in the video above, share your story on the website, buy a t-shirt (click the photo to go to the t-shirt page) and wear it to let others know that It Gets Better.
I’m buying mine as soon as I can.
To the victims: this post is for you, to tell you that you are not alone.
To the bullies: this post is for you, to tell you that you can save a life.
To the witnesses: this post if for you, to tell you that you can make a difference.
I’ve said it before people. You can make a difference. Your actions influence the world around you, regardless of how small they are.
Every person is unique, and should be accepted and respected for that. But just because we are all different does not mean that we are all alone. We are not alone. We live in a world of over six billion people. We have the power to make it stop.
It does get better. I’m proof of that. And I will go on living and being myself.
Do not let other people push you around. Do not let them suppress who you are. Because it really does get better. There’s only one of you, and you are important. Nobody’s dreams are yours. Nobody thinks like you do. You have more power than you realize: one day you could be the one saving a life. The world needs you.
Like Rise Against sings it,
It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
So stay awake with me, let’s prove them wrong.