Tomorrow is a day that has been designated as a “Wear Pink for Anti-Bullying” day. I have to admit I am feeling a bit anxious about it.
A few months back I would have said that my years of being the target of bullies no longer bothered me, and that I had in fact become a stronger person as a result of those experiences. Then we had a designated non-instructional day as staff to learn about an anti-bullying program. Somewhere along the way I started to flash back to those feelings and situations. I feel it’s risky to admit it, but I had a bit of a meltdown. I managed to draw away to a quiet corner and pull myself together, but those feelings have stayed with me and have threatened to resurface a few times since then.
So now we have a day when everyone is supposed to wear pink, and that is somehow going to end bullying. I want to support this, and I will certainly show support to those who wear pink tomorrow. I won’t be one of them. And that’s the point I want to make. It’s okay to be different. Whether, as when I was a child, I am different simply by being who I am, or whether it’s a choice to dress in my own way, as I will tomorrow, it should be okay. Ostracism and coercion are two of the tactics of bullies. I am a little afraid I will encounter these, even among those adults who are supposed to be teaching children not to bully. To be honest, the thought of it is giving me knots in my stomach right now.
I am nervous about going public with this disclosure, but I realize that if we want to end the stigma of being bullied, I cannot in good conscience remain silent. If I can stand in solidarity with one child who feels like he or she does not fit in, I will have accomplished exactly what people are supposed to be accomplishing by wearing pink. I pray it will be so.