Letter to my Middle School Bullies

Hello.

How are you.

I’m good, thank you for asking.

So, here we are. Four years later. Six, from when you started—decided—that it would be fun to tear down the spirits of a twelve year old. I wish six grade me could see me now. Happy. Relatively well liked. Accepted. She dreamed of this day. She hoped that it would happen but each day she walked into Ms. M classroom, she began to believe that it would never come.
She never understood why you treated her the way you did. Why you called her the names you called. What she did to make you… hate her so much. She started the first day in that school a happy-go-lucky child. A—dare I say—confident, chatty person. She was always a social person. She had to be, the constant moving forced her to. She never had trouble making friends. She never had enemies, until you decided to make one out of her.

When looking back at grade 6, all I can remember is sitting in the girl’s washroom, crying. Bearing my soul to the empty tiles of the bathroom floor in the form of sobs.

Staring at the cold mirror, trying to wash the redness out of my eyes so you wouldn’t know just how sad you made me. I think the worst thing was knowing that it wasn’t anything that I had done that made you treat me this way, it was simply who I was. Because I wasn’t pretty enough, cool enough, rich enough…THIN enough, I wasn’t deserving of your… kindness. I wanted to tell someone but I couldn’t because if I did, they would tell my parents and they would pull me out of the school. It was a private school and I knew how much they were struggling to give me the best possible education they could afford, I couldn’t break their hearts by telling them that it was hurting me. So instead, I let my own heart break instead. And crumble it did. Until there was nothing left in me. Until the will to live started to diminish. How bad would I be if I died really? My parents would be relieved the financial burden of raising me. You guys, you would be forced to say nice things about—as is what we do when speaking of the deceased. It would almost be poetic. Somehow, I carried on. I woke up every day and walked into Ms. M class, choked down my lunch in the washroom, rinsed my face and repeat.


Eventually it stopped—you stopped. I wish I could say it was because you matured, but the truth is, it was because you found a new target. I think the worst thing is slowly, I became like you. I was thirteen, scared of you turning back on me so I joined you, but that’s no excuse. It’s one of my biggest regrets. And to the girl we talked about—I’m sorry, I truly am. Even then when you all claimed to be my friend, I knew you weren’t being completely honest. I still heard the unkind nicknames, the mean rumours, snark giggles. The only difference now was that these were done in whispers.


 It hurt more.

It hurt more because this time you were supposed to be my friends, but every time I turned my back to walk away, I saw your knives in my peripheral vision.
Now years have passed and I have moved on. The memories still remain, they always will. They have become a part of who I am and my story. And as I sit this cold February evening, now “officially” and adult, vulnerable, I have just one thing to tell you all:

I forgive you.
Sincerely,
Natalie Stravens
Song of the post: Mean by Taylor Swift

Quote of the Post: Sometimes bullies are your friends and very rarely do bullying prevention tips acknowledge this fact or what to do about it. -Rosalind Wiseman

The Value of life

So the hashtag “pray to end abortion” was trending on Twitter today. I’ve always been very passionate about the subject, so naturally, I checked out people’s tweets to see the varying opinions. Reading people tweets made me angry, and then frustrated and then plain sad… disappointed. Now, to clarify my personal stance on the subject, I’m pro-life. 

Now let’s cue the so called feminist beliefs about how I’m not respecting a woman’s choice, it’s her body, yada yada yada. I’m sorry if that sounds insensitive but that’s just a load of bull. However, will defend myself against this point because otherwise, you’ll just right me off as another brainwashed conservative (which, honestly, I don’t think I’m conservative in most of my beliefs, but that’s another story). Back time feminism. The reason people give to why a woman should have control over her own body is because if she’s having this unplanned baby, she’s ruining her life. I heard many pro choice people say how we reduce women to baby bearing vessels when we’re all like they must have that baby! I’m response, “what?” Isn’t the fact that a woman’s life could be destroyed because she had a baby just a reflection of how anti feminist our society is. Why can’t someone be a mother and a career woman? Why must our culture shun single women instead of help them? And, why should someone who had sex-knowing that there is a possibility of getting pregnant-be allowed to erase that mistake so easily. Again, I’m sorry if that sound insensitive, but you kind of made your bed, now you have to sleep in it-no pun intended. If I slacked around in school and ended up never going to post secondary or getting a good job and all that, it’s my own fault. There’s no way to erase it, no get out of jail free card, and quite frankly, this part of the argument just annoys me because there is no real substance to it.

Now I know what you’re going to say next, what if she was raped? It’s funny how that’s always the argument even though you know that not all abortionists are rape victims. Nevertheless, it’s a valid point. My response is simple: why should an innocent infant have to suffer the consequences of his/her father’s actions. People are protesting against North Korea’s 3 generation punishment law and here are we practicing a variation of it. 


Now, here comes the part I’m most passionate about, defending the rights of the unborn itself. The thing that angers me the most is when people say it’s not a baby. As if it’s not human. As if its DNA is that of a -Irk-a fish and it randomly becomes a human after it’s born (or 3rd trimester, depending on the people). It’s human! granted it’s at a different stage of development, but it’s still human! How it’s age or where it currently occupying changing that. How is the value of life determined by a detail as meaningless as that. Is my life more valuable than my sister’s because I’m at a higher stage of development? After all, I’ve gone through puberty, she hasn’t. That’s absurd, right?! Exactly! So how is that any different? And don’t give me that crap of it being part of a woman’s body. Yes, the mother is holding the body and they are connected physically but the baby is not part of it. I’m all for a woman being allowed to do what she wants with her life but it’s not HER life she’s affecting, it’s her unborn child!
Ok, I lied. It is hers to. My last, point I guess, that I want  To leave you with is the lie that people give women about abortion. That it’s easy and that it’s not That  big of a deal. First of all, that’s a sick ideology. Secondly, uh… no. Abortion affects the mother emotionally forever. Every woman I’ve met who’s had one(and I’ve volunteered at help centers for pregnant single women) regrets it. Their conscience is forever plagued.
Now, surprisingly, I’m not saying we should revoke the law. I’d rather girls get it at a hospital or clinic with the right facilities instead of a dingy basement so they don’t die as well. If someone wants an abortion, they’re going to find a way. What I am saying is we need to educate people on the true implications of it. So I ask you, “How much do you value life?

Well, ok, I’m done with my rant. Sorry, about that.
Song of the post: “Lucy” by Skillet
Quote of the post: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” –Dr. Seuss. (I know he was’t specifically talking about this but it applies non the less)


“How can the “Dream” survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (before you say it was his niece that said that, I did the research, she said it was something HE told her)

The Other Kind of Bad Person

I think I truly have lost hope for humanity. 

Yesterday was a perfect example of this. There’s this girl in my school, she a sweet girl but admittedly, a little (ok, quite) weird and can get pretty annoying at times. She always comes up to me and says “hi, how are you” and I usually just say “hi” back, because, that’s what you do- You are nice to people, even when they make you uncomfortable. Continuing with the story of yesterday, she came up to me as I was getting stuff out of my locker and greeted me. We talked for a bit then  I started to walk off while she went and said hi to another boy who was passing us. She tapped his shoulder to gain his attention and how did he react? He exclaimed, “Ew, get away from me,” and ran off. The girl, she maintained her smile and walked away before I could do anything. I can honestly say I admire her though, for keeping her chin up despite everything. The boy? He walked off to his friend and told her what had happened. His exact words were “(girl’s name) just touched me.” I expected the friend to be like, “So, what’s the big deal?” or something along those lines, but she replied, “That’s disgusting, you should put hand sanitizer on that or something.” I was disgusted at their behavior. Yes, I acknowledge the girl makes many people uncomfortable, but that doesn’t make her any less of a human. She is a human being! 

I was so outraged then I realized- I did nothing about it. All I did was tell my friends what happened and we all gasped at the inhumane actions of the people but what good is that? It’s like that scene in Mean Girls when Janis says  “There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”Well, she right (technically the screenwriter who wrote Mean Girls is right but you know what I mean). What good is complaining about how awful our world, our society, and do nothing about it. I tried making excuses for myself to why I didn’t do anything like “She had already left” “I don’t even know those kids” “I had to go, my friend’s were waiting for me” but they are just that, excuses, each one more stupid than the rest. I’ve realized, I was no better than they were.

We all watched those cheesy anti-bulling videos that were probably done in the eighties where there’s the victim, the bully and the bystander. They are usually so boring and terribly done that we all tune it out, but there is some truth to it. I’ve come to believe that the person who holds the most power in these scenarios is the bystander. It’s not the victim, for obvious reasons, and while it may seem like it’s the bully, it’s not. Chances are, the bully’s just another child who’s hurting. The bystander is the one who can turn the situation in two directions, do nothing and let the cycle continue or try and change things. Even if you don’t change the bully’s mind, by simply standing up for them, you’ve already impacted the victim’s life.

I didn’t intend for this post to be an anti-bullying rant. Actually, I was planning for it to be a whole thing about pop culture and why stupid thing get popular, etc. Somehow this happened instead and I think that it did for a reason. Maybe you’re reading this and tomorrow, you’ll have the opportunity to be the bystander and make a difference (ok, I’m sorry for this cliché). As for me? I’m gonna have a talk with a certain two people in my school tomorrow, lucky for me, their locker’s are near mine. 😉 

Song of the Post: Hero by Superchick
Quote[s] of the Post: (all by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”


 “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”