I Was Bullied Too – A Note of Love and Happiness

Each day I have woken up to read of a new tragedy. The details of horrific crimes, murder-suicides, rape and murder overflow from my computer. What hits home the most though, is the story of children committing suicide.

I read through their blog entries, their Facebook updates, their words of desperation typed out to the internet and feeling as though it will never be found. They are seeking for confirmation, for no one to read and comment, or ask if they’re alright.

It hurts me, so truly, because I know that feeling. I have felt the despair, depression and general desire to give up. I have sought to end my own life’s breath, naively thinking that no one would care. In the back of my mind, I knew I was being irrational. I had a strong, supportive and loving family that for some reason, I had chosen to shut out. My family would have gathered around me and provided the strength I needed a lot earlier, if I had only sought to ask.

So I have a message to you, the hurting teenager, the unpopular junior high kid. You might want to grab a drink and a snack, it’s a little lengthy. Also, go ahead and clear the bladder now. Because it doesn’t have the same depth if you get up to take a piss halfway.

There is hope in the distance - Anti Bullying - Koogimama Ponders

What can I do to show you that it’s ok to dream?
How can I convince you the world isn’t that scary?
I wish my words would be enough, the voice of hope that managed to break beyond the pain
It’s rough now, but I know and I want you to know that your life is not worth missing out on

No matter how your self was brought into being
By accident, planning or something horrific
You were allowed to develop and encouraged to come out and join us
With your first breath, you knew love, cradled by your mother who knows it was worth it
In your first sleep, you knew peace, though your parents hovered frantically above you all night
The first step you took showed you knew determination
And that first tickle’s giggle gave you the knowledge of happiness

And then you learned to speak and the power of words
With the ability to say “I want” came “I don’t”
And with “I love you” came “I hate you”
“You’re beautiful” also taught you the opposite, “You’re ugly”
Each sweet word spoken was met with its opposite, quickly and harshly
Beginning when you could determine which toys were yours and which ones were theirs

In school, the vicious taunts and insults, naive kids struggling to decipher society’s norms
You all were learning the ways around, but most often were exposed to extremes of love and hate
You learned what it was like to be ignored, cast out and shamed
For your appearance, your heritage, your family, your handicap or seemingly just for existing
No matter the reason, you were made to feel small and unwanted
And I’ve been there
I was taunted mercilessly, bullied through elementary school, middle school, high school

The most common nicknames were:

Bullying is Wrong - I was Dumbo

Talk about creative genius, huh?

Bullying is Wrong - I was called monkey

The monkey face may have only accelerated the name calling, looking back on it.

Bullying is Wrong - My ears were butterfly wings

This one came from my best friend in 6th grade. So I went to the bathroom and wrote her an angry letter. It’s kind of funny lookin’ back on it.

Believe me, I know what you’ve been through – to a much deeper level than those photos suggest
I know the thoughts that you’ve had and the nights upon nights of tear-stained sheets
Sobs muffled in your pillow until you fall asleep from exhaustion
I know this because I’ve been there
I have also dreamt of the escape, running away or releasing myself from the daily task of breathing

But I said no
I rose up from my pain
Musty curtains rained specks of dust as they were thrown open
The sunlight reaches so much farther when you open your eyes to let it in

The shaky muscles will grow stronger, I promise
They just need a little practice
Standing tall is a state of mind, not just a stance, and it only happens when your heart feels the desire to beat with a purpose

To the bullies, I won’t tell you I fought back because I didn’t
But I stopped cowering, I stopped believing their taunts
I didn’t throw insults, I just stood straighter
Mean people are a lot smaller when you stare them down with a smile

You can rise up, knowing that you’re not defined by words or looks
You are defined by the heart, by your strength
By the courage you feel to hold steady and brave the tide

It gets better
When you believe in your bones, your muscles, your tendons and soul
When you breath with a purpose and welcome the vital air

You are free, with the world to explore
Do not settle to stay in your city after you can leave
Do not remain where you hate, with memories that sour each day
Grab a map and a pen
Close your eyes and let your dreams guide your hand
And when the ink meets paper, open your eyes to your destination
A booming metropolis or a corn field in bum fuck nowhere,
I bet you haven’t seen it and I bet with a few clicks on the computer,
You can get there pretty soon

It’s the race of adventure, exploration and knowledge that brings the brightest light to your eyes
You have the choice
Empower yourself not with bitter old feelings but with experience of a place and memories that can never be touched

Just do what I do and when you’re ready, as in you truly believe in your heart of hearts and your smile is genuine and your stride is long
Leave a nice little note and maybe they’ll find it

You can overcome the bullies

I really hope someone sees this and reaches for their own pen and paper.

When you stretch your life beyond its limits and past that little line of chalk the bullies drew
Your imagination can stretch your future even farther
But before you go, be sure to send your old “buddies” a nice little goodbye.

To my bullies, fuck off.

Psst… bullies! Can’t touch this, duh nuh nuh nuh, du nuh, du nuh, CAN’T TOUCH THIS!

Could You, Would You, In Your Life?

Truth and Beauty

A Softer World

There’s a thousand and one ways for you to kill the passing hour
There’s a million and one ways to kill a day
A billion and one to kill a week

A trillion and one in your lifetime

I think a big part of growing up and becoming an independent being
Involves a major lesson on how to be a child again
Actually, growing up involves a lot of lessons

1. Appreciate the little things
It’s the simple, small things that allow you to really grasp how awesome your life is. I know the bills pile up and the days seem to get longer, but it doesn’t matter against the little things.
Your loved one puts a simple post-it on the front door saying “I love you” that you see just as you leave for work.
When you only need a twenty five cents more for your purchase and the person behind gives it to you.
Your waiter offers free refills on something that normally would’ve been extra.

Last night I had one of those moments. We were sitting at the bar and watching as Flash, an older black man, sings soulfully into the mic, smiling at the women who giggle to each other. All of a sudden, a new song comes on and my love sets down my beer, grabs my hand and pulls me onto the dance floor, where we sway slowly, spinning softly, to Elvis.
“Take my hand, take my whole life too / For I can’t help falling in love with you.” 

2. Do not regret what you’ve done in life because at that time, it was exactly what you wanted.
I’m guilty of sitting and regretting A LOT in my life. It’s something everybody does. But there’s value in those things you “regret”. Those drunken nights, those loud arguments in the driveway, the desire to run from the only people who’ve been there from the beginning, not staying in school, quitting a job for false pride. All of these things people can look back on and regret but honestly, would you be where you are today if they hadn’t happened?

Each experience, action, or memory that you look back on with just a little bit more perspective and a tighter hold of the big picture is something to be appreciated, not regretted. Those times built you, showed you where to go, who to trust, gave you the opportunity to be the bigger person, and challenged you to not be content with what you used to be and instead seek improvement and betterment of your self.

3. Remember that the internet isn’t life. There’s the outside as well.
This one’s silly and something that we all heard from our parents growing up.
“It’s a beautiful day today, why don’t you go outside?”
Despite how many times they said it, we still had to be locked outside for a decent couple of hours on a regular basis. At the time, yes, you’re having a fantastic adventure through jungles and hiding from cars but it’s not until years later that suddenly, as you’re sitting in an office or on your lunch break, sweating from manual labor or wearing a jacket in your cubicle, that you miss being able to go play in the mud.

Even if your not an outdoors person, you can still enjoy a nice afternoon outside. I know here in Houston that’s a little impossible right now but eventually!!! A picnic by the bayou, take the dogs to the dog park, challenge your friend to a go-kart race, or just join friends/family for a dip in the pool.

Whenever I get bored with being “grown up” and “responsible”, I invite someone out to eat. And then I initiate a spitball war. Or just throwing random things at each other war. But it never hurts to relax once in a while and just act like a child.

I remember going out to eat and getting told to be quiet and sit still a couple years back by someone. Said that I was being childish and embarrassing them. What I remember most though, was the fact that while they were embarrassed, I was just mad they didn’t try to understand. You don’t have to act like a grown-up all the time. Remember that, boy.

Life is something to be cherished, fully appreciated, a reason to be grateful and an opportunity to do more than just make a paycheck.