So the other day I participated in a friend’s photo shoot they do in recognition of GLSEN’s Day of Silence which is April 17th. This initiative in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
FYI, I’d never done a photo shoot before so let’s just say the photos look better than I felt taking them. lol.
Anyway, since the shoot, I’ve really been thinking about the Day of Silence campaign and its mission. I also just happen to be doing a full Glee Marathon starting with season one and watching the character Kurt progress through his character’s journey and struggling with bullying has exacerbated my thoughts and musings.
I’ll be honest it’s actually hard to watch some of the bullying scenes in the show. Not because I was the one being bullied, but because at times, I was the bully. I, myself, was bullied, but I also did what I had to do to survive high school and that included bullying certain peers. And on top of that, I did a lot of just standing by and letting it happen.
I was the quintessential closet case in high school. My heart went one way, my mind went another and my survival instinct told me which way to go all the time. There were a lot of times that after being an aggressor I’d shut down for a bit, trying to figure it all out and if it was worth it. However, in the end, high school still prevailed. Those were not my proudest moments, and I hurt people just as much as others hurt me.
It’s taken a lot of time, especially since coming out, to come to terms about the way I treated people in high school. I’ve come to learn that we all have those moments in time that we are not proud of. That we did things to others that we regret, all for the sake of fitting in and surviving the environment we are in at the time. But I think what makes it a journey is learning from it all and growing beyond those moments or situations to share our stories and help others learn from them.
Bullying is prevalent. We all know this. Its in high school, in college, in the workplace on social media, and even in your general community and family. But as one who has been both aggressor and victim, it needs to stop. We need to recognize that there are stories on both sides that run deep.
The unfortunate part is that there is not always an environment where everyone is able to be brave and supported to learn the stories, and survival instincts kick in and bullying occurs.
I don’t have any life changing answers to stopping bullying. I can only say for me that, I’m accepting myself and others more and I’m not “standing by” any more. And I’m sharing my experience. Because whether you’re the bully, the victim, or the stander by, there’s a story behind your actions and thats what will get us to learn how to overcome bullying.
To check out the other photos in this shoot visit: https://mbpruittphotography.wordpress.com/
Or to find out more information on the Day of Silence visit: http://www.dayofsilence.org/
Until next time
Peace, Love and Pandas!