Sunday, June 2, 2013

Speak Up and Be Brave!

I've been thinking about what I wanted to do for a new post here for the past week or so. 

A few days ago I came across a video for a song by Sara Bareilles. I had heard the song before but thanks to a post she put up on Facebook I saw the official video for the song and I fell in love with the song even more.

The song is called Brave, and the basic message behind the song is to not be afraid of who you are or what you do. Don't let others decide who or what you should be and stand up for what you believe in and your own desires. The video shows this message through a series of clips they rotate through of people dancing in public spaces outrageously without any thought of what others think. It shows people being who they want to be. I think it's a great message. It's a message that I think needs to be told more and more often in today's society. 

It's a message that hits fairly close to home for me.

When I was younger and to a much lesser extent these days I was a very shy and quiet person. I didn't have many friends in primary school. Not so much because I didn't want to have friends, but more because I didn't really know how to connect with most of the people I went to school with. I always felt like an outsider and putting myself in the spotlight was something to be avoided. Not only that, but I was also I guess a bit more of an I guess intellectual child compared to most of my classmates. I spent a lot of my time reading as a child, which is something I am not ashamed of by any means, and I spent many lunch times in the school library both in primary school and high school. 

The problem was not my being ashamed of who I was and what I liked, the problem was other kids making fun of me for those reasons. I was teased for wearing glasses as well as reading and had books snatched from my hands and thrown across the playground on a few occasions as a child. Because of these incidents I ended up with pretty low self esteem. I used to pretend I was sick at school so I could go home because I didn't want to be at school. It was my way of trying to avoid the bullies because the school wasn't doing anything to help with a problem they had been told about.

As I got into high school things changed for me. I went to a high school where there were very few people from my primary school and they were people that I could and did get along with mostly. One of my first moments in high school that I remember was being asked by someone I had known when I was quite young what I was interested in. I told them that I loved Star Wars. The response I got was along the lines of "Star Wars? That's for boys!" She then turned to a random girl behind her and tapped her on the shoulder and asked her "Don't you think Star Wars is for boys?". The response was unexpected by both myself and the girl who asked. "No, actually. I quite like it myself."

I made new friends in high school including the girl who also liked Star Wars, friends who liked to read, who liked science fiction and fantasy and I could talk to them about these things. We shared books and spent as much of our lunchtime in the library as we did out of it. Just from having those friends and being able to talk to them about things I began to truly feel that I wasn't a freak and I wasn't so strange. I began to embrace my "weird". I still got bullied on occasion but I didn't let it get to me as much as previously because I had a support system in my friends with similar interests

At around the same time as this I started to get into online forums and message boards associated with my fandom of Star Wars. It was a very liberating thing because I began to connect with people who had similar interests. Many were around the same age as me due to the resurgence of the series with the prequels. Some of my best friends to this day I made through fan sites.

So when I heard the song for the first time I really felt close to the message of the lyrics. I know what it's like to have words thrown at you so as to belittle you. I know the feelings that you feel when that happens. I know what it feels like when the adults who are meant to be your support system and and guidance don't do anything to stop it or help you. I hate to see bullying.

Most recently as I have mentioned on several occasions I have been working as an au pair. In the first family I worked for the children would often call each other names and I really hated it. One day when it was getting particularly bad I got the three children together- even the four year old, because I think you are never too young to learn not to be a bully. I had them in a circle and I asked each of them what they felt like when someone called them names. I asked each of them what it felt like when their brother or sister called them names and I asked them what they think their brother or sister felt like when they called them names. The response was they they felt horrible and that their brother or sister or anyone else they called names felt horrible too. I told them I knew what it felt like. I was bullied as a kid. It is NOT a nice feeling. After that day I do believe I saw and heard less name calling and teasing between the kids. Maybe I was just imagining it or maybe I really did see less of it. Either way, it is better to try than to let bullying go on.

So I just want to say if you are reading this. Watch the video. Listen to the lyrics and if you have children, work with children or just know children- then share it with them too. It's never too soon to teach children both not to be afraid of bullies, but also that it isn't right to be a bully.

~~Random Logic~~

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I quite agree. I've seen that before (and experienced it), and eradicating things like that is something that should be done for a better experience for all of us.

    Also, I would generally find that people we're forced to spend time with make for less good friends than the ones we can choose (so the difference between your original school and the ones you made in high school).