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A Balancing Act Of Beauty

Kristy Plaza |
March 5, 2013 | 3:16 p.m. PST

Columnist

Editor's Note: "A Balancing Act of Beauty" is part of Kristy Plaza's series, Kristy's Corner.

On February 20, I opened up my Gmail. I was expecting the usual Facebook updates—I really need to un-synch my email from my Facebook—and maybe some announcements from the magazine sites I subscribe to. What I found was an email from Upworthy, a site that shares amazing and inspirational videos and stories. Considering the site’s purpose, I should not have been surprised by what the email shared, a video called “Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This.”

 

The animated video gives life to a spoken word poem by Shane Koyczan. In just under eight minutes, he tells three distinct stories of children who were bullied—one himself. One was bullied for a mark on her face. Another because of his depression and loneliness. Koyczan himself was tormented and called “Pork Chop” for his weight.

I cried the first time I watched this video. And the second. And the third. Every time, I thought about my own precious friends that had been bullied. About the countless people who have suffered and the cruelty that kids can show toward one another. The loneliness that some are suffering now. The pain to which the next generation—the people not even born yet—will be subjected. Bullying is not a new behavior. Humans are capable of hurting one another and bullying is one example of this practice.

Why do kids do this to each other? What do the perpetrators hope to gain? Well, I can’t answer that using the correct psychological terms, nor do I know the character of every person that chooses to bully another. What I do know is that the bullying I have seen is about power and entertainment, a result of being bored of one’s own existence. Of wanting to do anything that will validate or justify one’s purpose, life, choices, goals, identity or self-worth.

Yet the boredom does not justify the hurt such behavior causes those who are bullied to feel. It does not equate to impunity. Those that bully are responsible for the suffering and emptiness that they force upon their prey. There is no excuse that can pardon the destruction of a person’s will.

“And if a kid breaks in a school and no one around chooses to hear, do they make a sound?” There are people breaking because they have been cast out, pushed aside and thrown down. When those who see someone being bullied don’t take the proper course of action, they share in the responsibility for the destruction.

There are, fortunately, those who give support to the bullied, some who acknowledge, care for and love those subjected to this tortuous experience. We who try to mend the broken heart are giving a piece of ourselves to those who in pain so that they know they will never feel alone or unloved again. It isn’t easy to vanquish the hurt and sadness, nor is it possible to make everything become perfect or normal again. We merely hope to help take responsibility for the emotional, mental or physical oppression our loved one has endured.

For it is important to remember and constantly remind our loved ones that they did endure; like Shane says: “We are graduating members of the class of ‘We Made It!’” They made it through the pain and didn’t give up. They may have cried, screamed, lashed out, hurt themselves or woken up wishing they were dead. But they never stopped rising up to face the life that was causing them emptiness and self-loathing. They are standing, trying to accept and move on.

I don’t know everyone that has ever been bullied, nor have I experienced serious bullying myself. I haven’t felt the impact of bullying on my own spirit. But I refuse to stand down and let others be bullied. I am joining the countless other voices that have risen to end bullying. I will lend my strength to this quest to balance out the beauty in the world. Victims of bullying are individuals with strengths and weaknesses and lives, who need to be reminded of the beauty they possess. A beauty that everyone has, but maybe forgets to acknowledge. A balance must be achieved, because this problem cannot continue.

 

Find out more about Shane Koyczan's "To This Day Project" against bullying here.

Reach Columnist Kristy Plaza here.



 

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