Just to warn you, some of the things I am going to share with you today may make you uncomfortable, but the truth is often just that. Uncomfortable.
Perhaps the only image that needs to be shared in this discussion is this one, scanned in from my seventh grade yearbook. It was in 1993, and I’ll never forget the haste with which I permanently disfigured my own photo so that those in my future would never be able to see that hideous, fat loser from my past.
The image above is just one small symptom of a much larger problem, “bullying”.
The recent news events about the drastic and tragic bullying going on have caused me to pause and lend incommodious thought to my younger years. You see, I haven’t always been the extremely confident and sexy man who you know as Single Dad Laughing. There was a large span of my young life when I hated myself, I hated my life, I hated the world, and my daily wish was that it would all end. Somehow. Some way.
Forgive the length of this post, but a real discussion about bullying is not something that can take place over a few paragraphs. Please read to the end; I have put everything I have into this message because I can no longer sit back and do nothing about this ongoing problem which is leading our children to kill themselves and others. I just can’t anymore. Not knowing what I know about it.
I’m sure your heart has raced, again and again, as you watch and read of these horrible events going on around us. Children retaliating. Children hurting. Children dying. This bullying is an enduring endemic right now, for which there are solutions.
I only hope that my words today will be potent enough to spread to hundreds of thousands, or if God is on my side, millions. I pray for the right words to help me do my part in the quest to drastically reduce these heart-wrenching events. I have faith that those who read this will have the courage to share it, look at it, and change it.
No part of me wants to write this. The truth of it is something I’ve never openly discussed, with anybody. It is something I’ve never had the courage to confront. It’s somewhere to which I have never allowed my mind to wander. And yet, it’s something that has probably had more impact on me than just about anything else in my past.
I was bullied.
Repeatedly, and without end.
Up until fifth grade, I had friends. I fit in. I was “normal”. We moved around a lot, but it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t remember any serious heartache or sadness during my first ten years of life.
But in fifth grade, all of that changed. In fifth grade, somehow a permanent target got placed on my back…