Your Bullying Kids Are Gonna Be the Subject of Somebody's Blog Post, Too

BullyingThe teasing you endure as a child can haunt you long into your adult life. I should know. I was one of the kids who was on the receiving end of it when I was a young whipper snapper. And now that I’m a grown-up with the responsibility of raising my own daughter into a confident woman, I sure thought I’d be over the effects those snarky comments had on my self-esteem by now. Alas, I thought wrong.

I’m still feeling it, steady weighing myself against pretty women I see on the streets like the awkward little girl I was once upon a time, oohing and aahing over the Miss Black America pageant.

All this fallout and ramification because a few classmates didn’t learn how to exercise self-control over their minds and mouths. So this is a public service announcement to all moms: please give your children the values and home training to not intentionally be mean to other people, especially other kids

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Even though the term “bullying” is a relatively new catch phrase, the concept behind it is nothing new. At its root, it robs the individual on the opposite end of the right to be proud of themselves, just like they are.  

Every day, I’m thankful to wake up and have a body that functions the way I need it to even though it doesn’t necessarily look the way I want it to. Then I turn around and slap my Creator in the face because I spend the rest of the day exerting my bad habit of comparing myself to other women.

I wish my hair cooperated like this one’s does. I wish my complexion was smooth and even like that one’s is. I wish I was put together like another chick over yonder — I mean, outfit flawless, makeup perfect, teeth like something out of a Colgate ad, before the Photoshop touch-ups.

More than anything, though, I measure my body against the beautiful women I see daily here in D.C. Wish I would’ve know before I moved here that being stacked and shapely was a citizenship requirement. On the platform waiting for the train the other day, I saw a woman about my age with a brickhouse body that would bust her right to the front of the line at any hip-hop video shoot.

Man, I thought to myself, must be nice to have that figure. And I commenced to going comparison crazy.

I’ve never been enamored with the outer Janelle. There was never really an opportunity for me to be. Those folks whose parents raise them up to not have a filter and say exactly what’s on their minds kept me abreast of my physical shortcomings when I was coming up. They didn’t let anything slip past them, and gave me a full report about it as often as they could. My big lips. My buck teeth. My dark knees and elbows. My bad skin. My chunky body.  

But when I’d go home, all hurt and dejected because somebody had teased me that day, my mom’s reaction was always the same: concentrate on school, get good grades, just ignore them.

So I grew up having been the smart girl, the talented girl, the funny girl, the nice girl, but never being the pretty girl, the confident girl, the girl that everybody wanted to get with, the girl who got guys’ attention. So now, it’s difficult to receive a compliment or really believe that I might be beautiful. The Boyfriend’s been trying to convince me, but it’s hard to reverse 20-some years of being told the complete opposite, especially when that mess from grade school is on constant mental replay and me busy pitting myself in Physical Female Olympics.

The blessing is I worked overtime to make Fab Tween Girl know from the time she was a toddler that she is cute just like she is, no matter who says what. The child has greater body confidence than I ever did at her age and truth be told, probably has more than I do now. That’s a wonderful thing because I don’t ever want her to look at someone else and feel like she’s less than. I want her to be able to appreciate another woman’s beauty, but see the distinctive gorgeousness of her own. Like bam. Me too, boo.

And if anyone ever tries to fill her mind with insecurities and doubts about her beauty, I want her to be able to look into the mirror for herself and know for sure that they’re the flawed one, not her.

Were you ever the victim of bullying? How have you worked to protect your kids from it?

Image via Eddie~S/Flickr

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