"Shane Koyczan was bullied a lot when he was a kid. So he took that pain and made this stunning video with the help of some amazingly talented people. It's kind of breathtaking and powerful, just a warning. Also, it has a happy ending." - Adam Mordecai, Upworthy.com
I don't know how many people reading this have been bullied at any point in their life. Many people have never been bullies, or they have been bullies, and those people often have no idea what the victims have been put through, and are still going through. The words and names you're called as a child stick with you for life. We would like to hope that those words can bounce off, but most are not strong enough. I know that I never was. Words sink in, and grow uglier and uglier the more you think about it. Words echo in your mind, forming a nest of pain and hurt deep inside your heart and soul. It damages you. It wears you down, until you believe it. The people saying those words often have no idea, but they know that it hurts you. It is impossible to defend yourself when you have no other option but to think "Maybe they're right". To anyone who has been bullied, who has been hurt, who still hurts because of it... My heart goes to you.
When I watched this poignant video and listened to the heart-wrenching spoken word poem, I wept. My heart burst and constricted, as every second of the film I related. Either I related on a personal level, or thought of people I knew, people I care about. Year after year, there are videos and stories and articles about victims. Victims who have killed themselves, teenagers who have brought guns to school, hurt youth who could not take it any longer. It is painful how many stories are brushed aside. How many stories are answered with some excuse or reasoning that blames the teen instead of something else. The last anti-bullying day or month, the main article was of a pretty young girl who went through naked photographs of herself getting spread on the internet, and she responded to cruel words by committing suicide. At the same time, a young boy, who would not be considered handsome by most, had been bullied for years, ended his own life, and no one heard about his story. We respond to the anguish of the beautiful, regardless of what they may have done to others. This is how we respond to bullying.
Every time anti-bullying is mentioned, I cringe. I think of my own experience as a young child or pre-teen, in a new school. My mother asked the principal about bullying, and what the tolerance or action towards it was. The response was that there was no bullying in that school. Later, I was called freak, implied that I was abnormal because I didn't want to date boys as a 12 year, and more. Why is it that bullying is overlooked? To attempt change on one day of the year... it's hurtful to those who experience pain and doubt every day of the week.
I often worry that bullying will never be solved. I worry that if I ever have children, that bullying will be the same issue for them as it was for me. That they will grow up to have depression and anxiety, and not know what to do because they believe that no one will listen. I was fortunate to be able to talk to my mum, but the fact that the rest of the world will not listen is terrifying. I worry that the issue of bullying will not end. However, I worry less when I see artistic creations like this video, the To This Day Project. If bullying ends, it will not be because of one story. It will be because of artists like Shane, who were once victims, and have chosen to rise up, but not hate the world because of it, but rather attempt to change the world. This video made me weep, and not many things do. Change needs to occur, and I believe that it could start with To This Day.