Thursday, December 1, 2011

"I'm not stopping for you-No matter what you do-I'll just keep on dreaming"

“Weren’t you the one that said I would be nothing

And now I am about to prove you wrong”

-Rebecca Black

In one of my middle school yearbooks, there's a message scrawled out making fun of my bright red face that never seems to fade. There’s another message noted about my hair and another about something dismal. In middle school, these words hurt—and they are forever engraved in a yearbook that I look back on.

The truth is—middle school is tough. Kids are mean. As 12 and 13-year olds we endure some of the hardest times of our lives. We aren’t even really beginning to figure out who we are yet and suddenly we are answering to classrooms of kids who think they know exactly what our life is going to look like—and what we are going to look like and what our lives will be for the rest of it.

If we are too tom-boyish as a girl, we may be the last invited out for a girl’s night. And if a person is too girly as a boy—they get ridiculed and picked last in kickball. Kids use words like gay and fat and ugly and corny and loser and suck-up to harm others. They tell peers they would be prettier if they just ______. They make "jokes." They make internal bruises.

If we put ourselves out there—and let people define us, we are often harassed to the point of exhaustion. It’s sad, and hurtful, and terrible—and PAINFUL.

On Monday, I will be acting on set as a suicidal figure for a PSA that my station will be releasing next year. To get into the role, I will focus on sad thoughts and sad feelings. I will channel middle school—I will channel moments where I felt little—where many people feel little.

About seven months ago, I heard the song “Friday” for the first time by Rebecca Black. Until now, I didn’t know how young she was—I just knew that I envied how viral her video went in just days. Katy Perry then asked her to be a guest in her own video and Jimmy Fallon parodied it with Taylor Hicks and Colbert. I thought it was awesome. And now that I know she’s just a young teen…I think it’s even more awesome.

Rebecca Black was 13 when the video dropped. And immediately thousands and thousands of people began hating and ridiculing her for “nasalness” and “cornyness.” She received hundreds of thousands of comments telling her how horrible she was. And up until recently I didn’t realize just how drastic the insults and words were. She received messages that she was fat--and that she'd just be so much prettier if she became anorexic. She received DEATH THREATS. People are fragile—we tend to forget this…we break.

If anything, Rebecca Black, now stands out as a role model as she has handled the bullying with grace. After having to leave school she told her story to ABC –You can see her interview here:

Just a few months ago, Jamey Rodemeyer was bullied, literally to his own death.

When we are younger, our parents teach us that sticks and stones will break our bones but that words will never hurt us—but they do—and they can cause a whole lot more pain than a scratch or break or a bruise…They can change us for life.

We need to stand up in the face of bullying—no matter what the circumstance and remind ourselves—our 13-year-old-selves—and our 23-year-old selves—and our 50-year-old selves that the only person who can define who we are—is us.

“Your life is in your hands

So take it just as

Far as you can

But trusting in yourself.

Forget everyone else”

-Rebecca Black

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