To the Child Who’s Bullied Because He’s Different
Dear Self of the Past,
It’s me, your future. I see the pain you are in right now. I see your fears of what the next day at school is going to be like. You’re wondering how much worse it’s going to get. I can understand how you might feel like the whole world is against you, and that the weight of the world is sitting on you. I see the happiness you once shared with everyone slowly being replaced by sadness and tears. I hear your thoughts of “please just let me invisible.” I even see your deepest fear of not being good enough, not being worth it.
I’m sorry you’re living this. I’m sorry you’re experiencing the worst people have to offer. I want you to know you don’t have to worry about taking the risk to meet new people; not everyone will be mean. You can take a chance and come out of your shell. There are some awesome people out there you will meet, and you’ll start to see that kindness overpowers bullying every single time. Even when you feel like no one is in your corner, there are complete strangers out there who care and are sending you nothing but the best of wishes.
You don’t have to stay silent. You’ve been told you have nothing of value to say, but I can tell you that your words matter. They will matter a lot in the future. Your bullies have tried to squash your voice like a steamroller. It’s not because you’re “stupid,” or “a moron” or any other names they want to call you. It’s because they just can’t understand your fantastic ideas.
It takes power to use your voice, and I know you have that power in you. You will go on to use your voice for great things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; it comes from the most unexpected places.
I want you to know you’re worth it. You’re someone who matters; we all matter. You’re worth someone taking the time to get to know. Soon you’re going to help so many people with your experiences, both of bullying and living with a severe chronic disease. I know right now you feel absolutely powerless to the point of tears, but it’s not always going to be that way.
You’re going to take your ugly experiences and make something beautiful from them. You feel the pain of bullying, and you’ll know this is the exact type of person you don’t want to be, and you’ll take action to do the exact opposite. You’re going to learn that our days here on earth can be short, so you will take action to change the world for the better. You will practice kindness because you know life could end at any time, and you want to make a difference before that happens.
I want you know it’s OK to be different. You don’t have to be ashamed of being gifted, of finding schoolwork so easy, you’re looking at university lectures online. You’re going to see there are other kids like you, and you’re going to meet a lot of university kids volunteering at the hospital you can share your ideas with. Different is good. If no one “thought outside the box,” we wouldn’t come up with solutions to problems.
It’s also OK to look different. Your medical problems will make you appear different. You’ll have tubes taped to your face from time to time, and you’ll wear a colostomy bag for life. You’ll need to go on and off steroids, which will cause serious weight gain, as will some of the side effects of the medications. At first the kids will be mean because they don’t understand what you’re going through, but one day the majority of them will cheer for you along your journey. You will go on to inspire them. You just need to get through some rough patches.
Most of all, I want you to follow your dreams and never believe anyone who says you can’t. Make every day about proving you can. Even the greatest of challenges can be overcome. Remember that every small step counts, and that even a single person has the power to make a big difference.
Smile and breathe. It’s going to be all right.
Follow this journey on Jacob’s Healing Rooms.
The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.