From Jen to You
Where do I fit in? That’s perhaps one of the most vexing questions of a teenager’s life. All of us have experienced that longing to feel that we fit in, to have a sense of belonging. We all have a unique identity that we want to share with the world.
But what happens when that identity is not accepted…when we are told that because we are different, we are “less than”?
All of us can remember a time when we were made fun of, or called a hurtful name, or even physically assaulted. We remember wishing that someone would stand up for us.
We also remember the times we saw these things happen to others. We wanted to say something…do something…but we didn’t know the right words or actions. We ended up being the ones who stood by while someone else wished we would stand up for them.
I can recall many times when I witnessed bullying or taunting and stood by, watching it happen. Why didn’t I speak up? Why didn’t I say “stop?” It seems like such a simple thing.
I remained silent because I was afraid. I was afraid that if I spoke up I would become the target. I would be the one being called the hurtful names; being told I wasn’t good enough.
The truth is that we are all afraid. But the even bigger truth is that we all want the bullying to stop. We all wish we had the courage to speak up.
Let’s remember that the next time we witness someone being called a hurtful name. In that situation, let’s take a look around and remember that we’re not the only ones who want to speak up. Let’s realize that we don’t have to be afraid to say “stop.” Because chances are, if we speak up, others will too.