Bullying.

I wanted my first post of the semester to be something inspiring and upbeat, about pretty pink and blue thoughts and all the hope and promise that a fresh slate brings, but sadly, recent events have spurred me to instead talk about something somewhat less than nice. 

On our first day of Psychosocial and Ethical Issues of Death, Doctor Warren brought up an excellent point about bullying and harassment: It doesn’t end in grammar school. It can happen at all levels of schooling, and indeed, above and beyond up into the professional world, into adult personal life. And it leaves marks.

It seems these days that everyone is touting a “zero tolerance” policy on bullying and harassment, but it also seems like enough is never enough. Social media has brought on an entirely new level of cruelty. Rumors can spread faster than wildfire, all with a simple click, and it breaks my heart.

From what you’ve gleaned of me from my posts and my twitter account (if you follow me), I’m sure that you’ve assumed a few things about me. I’m a dedicated student, a compassionate and loyal friend, and a confident, well adjusted person. What is not so apparent, however, is the no-nonsense attitude I could only have gotten from an Italian mom from Brooklyn.

My mom, bless her, taught me a lot of things. I was by no means an easy child to raise, given to fits of melancholy and creative outbursts and a whole heap of crippling laziness, but rudeness and deliberate cruelty were not tolerated in my house. There’s this thing my grandpa always said, this little mantra my mom always said to me when I told her to not bother complaining to a major company about an off-tasting bag of cookies or some such thing, and it resonated. “Know your rights, and do anything in your power to keep those rights.”

This, I think, helped mold me into the outspoken young woman I am today. If I happen to catch someone gossiping, sniping, or being generally malicious towards someone I know, I can never keep my mouth shut, even if its just a very loud throat clearing and a pointed look. If someone says something about me behind my back, I can shrug it off. If they say it to my face, I have no problem laughing and asking why they even began to consider it their business. 

I understand that it’s not so easy for most people to deal with this kind of nonsense, and I consider myself lucky. But, my lovelies, if you are dealing with bullying and harassment, please, I beg you: keep your head high. Keep going. It may seem like the end of the world right now, and it will certainly feel that way, but it is most definitely not. Don’t let the gossip drag you down and turn you into something that you’re not. You are not weak, you are not a victim. You have the capacity in you for many, many good things, and the best of your life is always ahead of you if you have the courage to keep putting your feet one in front of the other. Get help if you need it and do everything you can to live a good life. There is nothing more insulting to bullies and naysayers and negative people than an overwhelmingly positive attitude. Write down nice things that happen to you in a notebook so you can look at them when you feel down. Call a friend. Hug a pillow. “This too shall pass.” Know that you’re not alone and, if you’ll pardon the tired phrase, things will get better. And remember that if I could, I would be there wiping your nose with my sleeve and giving you a giant hug, because you matter. And you are somebody.

I hope that everyone tries to treat others with the utmost respect and courtesy. Try to be kind to everyone you meet. We all carry monsters on our backs, some big and scary and some small and annoying, but they’re there and they can feel like they weigh a million pounds sometimes. But we still have to drag them around. 

Until next time,

Marissa

PS: “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Vonnegut.

PPS: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Churchill.

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~ by mementomorissa on January 30, 2013.

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