When I was a kid, I got bullied all of the time. You see, I am a little person – not a dwarf, but I stand at about 4’5. I would walk down halls and kids would crouch down and point. I would be asked by teachers, custodians, and bus drivers if I was sure I was old enough to be in high school. When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to a restaurant and was offered a sippy cup.
When your differences are on the outside, out there for everyone to see, it can be really hard to keep your chin up. Even if no one said anything, I would feel different. I would know that I was not like everyone else. But people did say things. People did cruel things. And I would get really sad as a result.
One day, when I was feeling particularly down, my mom took out a ruler. She said, “Okay, let’s think about the height you wish you could get to, which is five feet. Now, what is the difference between where you are and that height?” She pointed to the space on the ruler. It was such a small difference. All of these people were making me feel miserable, and it was all over a difference that could be covered in the span of a wide-open hand. I can’t say it made the bullying easier to take, but it made me realize that the fault was not mine. The people who made fun of me had a much bigger problem to deal with. They were small on the inside.
If you are being bullied right now because of something on the outside – if you are too small or too tall for your liking, if you feel too thin or too overweight, if you have freckles or pimples or glasses or braces or anything else that people might be giving you a hard time about, I can tell you that eventually, all of those people, all of those unhappy times – they will come to make you laugh. I laugh at the people who offered me booster seats at restaurants. I laugh at the people who let their kids point at me. Because you know what? They are laughing at this carrier case I’m in, and that’s all. They have no idea of who I am, and therefore I know it can’t possibly be about me. They see me, or you, as a chance to make themselves feel better. They have to push someone down so that they can feel better. We can just be ourselves.
If you are being bullied, do not despair. You can get through it. You can be the victor. Just hang in there.
Image by Andrea De Stefani. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/deste