I’ve seen a few Tweets about Cool 2B Kind. Didn’t know what it was, assumed it was about animal cruelty issues, for some reason. (And, technically, it is… sorta.) Tonight when I signed on, I saw the tweets from a few days ago, not much new, and being bored, decided to Google C2BK and get the skinny on it.
Google offered me a link to the Cool 2 B Kind home page: www.cool2bekind.org/ In a minute I realized there is more to it than just animal cruelty. It’s all about bullying, and making people realize it isn’t ok to pick on people.
I’m not sure where I want to go with this so please bear with me here for a moment. There’s a lot of stuffed emotion that I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with, so this may or may not get posted.
I was bullied all through school. My family was poor. We always wore hand-me-downs, whatever my mom could find at a thrift shop to keep us modest. I was smart, but incredibly unpopular. I won’t go into all the details here on my beliefs about why I was so unpopular, but I had no friends, only a few girls who felt sorry for me and occasionally spoke to me out of pity. I can still hear the taunts of my schoolmates, telling me how worthless I was, that I was a pig and a slut (neither true but hurtful nonetheless) and that I stank.
Before I entered high school, I had tried not once but three times to end my life, from eating a whole bottle of painkillers (turns out extra strength aspirin just makes you *very* sick but won’t kill you), jumping in front of a moving car (not much damage when the speed limit is 30mph) and my pathetic attempt to slit my wrists (I could barely draw blood, the knife was so dull). Maybe I wasn’t so smart after all.
Nobody even noticed. I decided I must be here for some reason, since I couldn’t find a way to leave, and trudged through the rest of my youth feeling as if the world would be a better place without me. I was always surprised when someone would be nice to me. It seemed that strangers were much kinder than those who were close to me.
As I became an adult, the blatant bullying stopped. With the exception of being beaten up a few times in high school for my crime of being white, it became more subtle, less open, more veiled. People said the right things to keep me in their circle of acquaintances because I was always ready to lend a hand with anything if someone asked for help. I still help when and where I can, but I no longer do it because I think it’s the only way someone will like me… I do it because it feels good to be able to help. I eventually came to grips with the reality that the way other people treated me was more a reflection on them than on me.
I have come to love myself and have even found a few other people to love me as well for a little while. I’ve learned I have the strength to walk away from the people who say they care but treat me badly, but that is still the type of person I attract. I seem to be scarred for life that way. I’m lonely, but I like my own company. It’s so much better than having criticisms thrown my way.
Cool 2B Kind is changing that for young people nowadays. The thought that children might be allowed to grow up in peace is mind boggling for me. I used to wonder how far I could have gone with a little encouragement, a modicum of self-esteem. I’m probably too old to worry about it now… still I’m not ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, so I suppose I should do something with the time I have left instead of just hanging around waiting for my number to be up.
Yeah, bullying hurts. It has lasting repercussions. Lifelong scars. Don’t do it. If you see someone being bullied, say something. I have done this a number of times. I can’t sit back and watch someone be bullied by someone else. It makes me crazy. I have to speak up. I can’t stand idly by and watch someone suffering abuse at the hands of another, whether physical, mental or emotional. I have to do what I can to stop a bullying act from occurring, and I’ve found that many times the perpetrator of the aggression is unaware of how badly they are behaving. Perhaps the purpose for my life is to show others how badly bullying hurts.