I just had the conversation today with my hairdresser, Heather, that so many times out of bad comes so much good. Such is the case with Stand For The Silent, a non-profit on a mission to end bullying and youth suicide by helping youth develop an empathetic awareness through education and understanding. Grown from a family's tragedy, Stand for The Silent is on a mission to make sure every kid knows they are somebody - that they matter. Do you know you matter?
When I was in middle school, my entire class except for a handful of kids bullied me. I was a goody two shoes (that didn't last long) and got straight A's (what can I say, I'm a genius) which probably piqued my peers' jealousy. I would find nasty little notes that had been shoved inside my locker that said things like I was a prostitute.
At the time, I had no idea what a prostitute was and had only kissed one boy. And that was an innocent first kiss. It happened when I was in 5th grade inside of one of the big, huge ass tires that we all played inside of on the elementary school playground. Lord, just thinking of it now, makes me nauseated, not the kiss, the smell inside of those petroleum based, carcinogen laced tires.
Sorry, I digress.
It went on for almost the entire year with people bashing into me in the hallways, nasty notes being sent my way and dodge-balls being thrown directly at my head during PE. It was a fun year.
The one thing that I learned out of all of that bullying was that there were people who were truly my friends. They stood by me. They stood up for me. The "School-Streeters", "The Choir Geeks", the future Mensa Members, my best friends, they were there for me. Thanks to them, and my parents, I got through it, but it did change the way that I viewed human nature.
I realized that some people, no matter how much they want to, cannot let go of the hurt and pain that they have felt themselves so they lash out and hurt others to minimize the importance of their own pain.
I realized that some people, no matter how much they want to, cannot find enough value in themselves and their opinions to feel free enough to stand up to the bullies. So they join them instead.
Stand for The Silent is empowering today's youth to believe one of the ultimate truth's in this life on earth that I believe we are all meant to understand. We are all somebody and we all matter.
What kind of a world would humankind create to live in if every single one of us, knew we mattered?
What would that world look like? What would that world feel like?
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