I recently had the privilege of attending the Bully movie premiere in West Hollywood. I went in with rather high expectations and I wasnâ��t let down. The movie followed a handful of students and parents on their journey through Bullyville. The opening scene was almost more than I could bare. It showed an up close picture of a mourning father over this 17-year-old boy who had recently taken his own life after spending the majority of his short time on earth bullied.
To say it was “hard to watch” is a gross understatement. Not only do you fall in love with the sweet, reticent characters highlighted, but you’re also made aware of something that often flies under the radar and is a tragic reality for so many people. While I certainly had my tiffs in middle school, my insecurities in high school and my self-doubts in college, I don’t remember a time when I was bullied to the degree that it severely affected my life, confidence, personality or self-worth. This movie made me realize I was one of the lucky ones who came out of school rather unscathed.
So while I was grateful to not have undergone a fraction of what I witnessed in the documentary, I felt huge guilt and responsibility for not taking more time to notice the people who did. I certainly donâ��t remember ever intentionally disrespecting or Â making fun of someone, but I donâ��t think thatâ��s good enough. Watching this film made every cell in my body rage for the underdog, for the person who never felt like they fit in and cried in the bathroom while the rest of us ate lunch in relative bliss. So yes, itâ��s easy for me to want to beat up every bully, which was the feeling (though neither appropriate or lady-like) I had after sitting through two tortuous hours of witnessing kids being bullied. Rather than jump onboard with the concept of â��teaching kids not to bullyâ�� or â��figuring out how to properly prevent and punish bullies,â�� Iâ��d rather take a different approach.
My call to action is for every kid to stand up for the little guys, for the awkward girls and any other person with a target on their back. I believe we have the potential to be everyday heroes and ordinary people have the ability to become extraordinary, especially when they selflessly stand up for someone. I can’t say I was picked on as a kid (unless you count my four big brothers and my normal little sister scars), but I do know that now at 28 years old, I seek out the bullied in hopes of reminding them of their worth, taking the time to really see as well as validate them and love them back to life. We have a responsibility to take better care of each other, to recognize that words hurt exponentially more than sticks or stones. So take a stand with me, fight for those who have no fight left in them, stand for those who are too tired to stand alone and lend your voice to those voices that have been silenced.
When I think of what it really means to be "That Girl," I think of the chick who stands out in front of the crowd, throws her arms around the pour soul caught in the middle of meanness and hugs them with all her might. I also think she’s the chick you don’t want to mess with because she might be so inclined to knock a bully out.
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