Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm wearing purple

I'm wearing purple today, in observance of GLAAD's Spirit Day. Unfortunately, I'm a cynic. I don't think that my purple fishnets and t-shirt are going to stop anyone from bullying anyone else. I don't think that it will make anyone who is being bullied say "Well, at least that person supports me." But I do think it's just one little way that I can show that I do care, and I want the world to know that I care.

Because I'm straight, I've never been bullied because of my sexuality. But I have been bullied for stupid physical characteristics beyond my control. I've been picked on because I couldn't afford the nice clothes that the cool kids wore. I've been teased because of things my brother did. I know all too well the pain of being ostracized for stupid things that don't matter, and that you can't change. All of those stupid, hurtful left me with little sense of self-worth for most of my teenage years. Even when you know, intellectually, that the opinions of small-minded people don't mean anything, they leave nagging doubts in the back of your mind.

The prevailing message right now for bullied gay teens (and I think ALL bullied children and teens should take it to heart) is that it gets better. It does. Honestly. It's never perfect. You'll still run into prejudiced adults who can't keep their mean thoughts to themselves. But you'll grow into your own wonderful person, you'll get past the teenage awkwardness and angst, and you'll be surrounded by people who love and care for you, and you'll find that you care less and less what the stupid jerks think. You might even find that some of the things that people teased you about become your greatest strengths -- I still wear cheap clothes, but I get compliments on my outfits all the time. You can't buy style, you can't buy taste, and you sure as hell can't buy tact.

So I'm wearing a very stylish purple outfit, culled from the clearance racks of Target. And I feel good about it. And my wish for all of you out there, who are being bullied, or who are still carrying the scars from the wounding words of your youth, is that you will take this moment to think about your strengths, and all you have to offer the world, and know that there are people out there who see the best in you and want the best for you. Hang in there.


  1. Wow! When I was joking about it being purple day over on FB I didn't know about the GLAAD Day. Most days, chasing a toddler, I'm in my own little world.

    Growing up I was never been bullied for my sexuality, or my looks, or clothes. I have sort of that "Don't bother me" aura. I was also know as a hot tempered bad-ass who would beat the crap out of anyone who made fun of my brother because he has some physical deformities.

    I don't know first hand how painful it can be to be bullied for something like that, but I did see the pain it caused.

    In high school I was beating up one girl in particular on a regular basis. She just could not leave my brother alone. I finally sat down with her one day, told her how sick I was of having to beat her up, and asked her why she couldn't just leave my brother the hell alone.

    She said she didn't know.

    So we talked. She wasn't being sarcastic or evasive. She really had no idea as to why she had to be so cruel to someone who looked so different. But she did finally stop bothering my brother.

    It's something to think about. Some people are just mean. They enjoy hurting. And others, like this girl I encountered in high school, may be genuinely unaware of why they do what they do.

    It was a rare encounter, most mean-spirited people can't be dealt with so easily, but it does happen.

    Sorry for the long reply.

  2. AJ and Sarah Beth, both excellent articles. You'll find mine and about my brother. (This thread is closed -- PNH thought it was time to let it go.)

  3. SaraBeth, please don't feel like you have to apologize for a long post! I think this is a subject that we should all spend some time examining... and it's good to hear that sometimes, if you talk to the bully, they can realize the error of their ways and stop the bad behavior.

    Marilee, your stories are a good reminder that we can still run into bullies as adults -- especially as women in a male-dominated field! I'm glad that you stood up for yourself and didn't tolerate the sexual bullying of your peers.