The Bully Next Door

On September 1, 2010, upset with a rash of suicides by gay teens, writer and gay activist Dan Savage launched the It Gets Better Project.  I remember first hearing about it from social and political blogger Andrew Sullivan, and being very moved watching the first videos and the ones that have followed.  Some might say that the project peaked when President Obama recorded his own It Gets Better video, but the project still goes on in an effort to let young people know that it does get better.  And it does.

But the problem is that some people don't get it.  For all the news stories and the attention and the tragedies and the public discussions, some people just don't get it.  You go on living your life, doing what you do, but for reasons probably passing understanding some people can find nothing better to do with their own lives than trying to bring you down.  It may be a complete stranger making a derogatory comment about what you're doing or what you look like, or it may be someone that you've known well for years.  The second can often times be the more troubling of the two.  Is it bitterness that their life is not what they want it to be?  It is jealousy that you're doing things with your life that they never had the ability to do?  It is massive ego that makes them think they know what's best for your life, and you are to be looked down upon if you don't conform?  The reasons don't really matter, but they try to shame you into doing what they want.  They live in that magical realm where ignorance and solipsism meet, and expressing those traits is how they get off.  It's called bullying, and some people never seem to grown out of it.

But one thing that I've learned is that one of the reasons it gets better is that you learn to rise above it.  No matter who we are, what we do, or how well we do it, there will always be someone looking down from their tower, judging.  They yell down that we should be doing or that and they revel in their superiority, enjoying ever minute of it.  But the truth is that when all is said and done, they're up in that tower alone.  And when no one measures up, what a lonely life that must be.

There are some people in this world that want nothing more than to bring you down.  They are sad, bitter, and insignificant.  Rise above it.  Pass it on.

1 comment

  • lekyta

    lekyta

    unfortunately, i experienced many instances of bullying in school. i was "weird" (yes, i am. thank you). i was "ugly." i was "too black/dark" (yup, just like my ancestors and probably some of yours.). i could go on. the experiences were mostly in elementary and middle school, but as i grew older i found myself FEELING judged simply when someone looked at me because i was so used to people openly attacking or taunting me. they may not have been thinking what i assumed they were thinking about me, but that's what my earlier experiences sort of beat into me - everyone is judging you. back then, i did my best to pretend not to care. i refused to let anyone see that it affected me because i didnt want them to think that they were "winning" - i couldnt let the people who thought they were somehow better than me feel any superior than they already did. as long as i wasnt letting them float any higher on their asshole cloud, i was still in the game. those experiences definitely had an impact on my life. in fact, they affected me pretty deeply - almost to the point that i was pushed over the edge. despite everything, i decided that i refused to NOT be who i am. as much as people hurt me and tried to mold me into what they wanted me to be, i just could not let myself fall to the pressure. you sort of realize that the people who feel the need to make fun of others for not being who they think they should be are missing something essential in their own lives. no truly happy, self-loving person feels the need to be cruel to others. kindness is a quality that im proud to have and i choose to share it with everyone i meet. yikes, i know this was super long...but i love that you did this blog, stephen. we're seeing too many people being pushed too far because of bullying and not knowing where to turn for support or what their options are. good on you for encouraging people to take their lives back. give love. live love.

    unfortunately, i experienced many instances of bullying in school. i was "weird" (yes, i am. thank you). i was "ugly." i was "too black/dark" (yup, just like my ancestors and probably some of yours.). i could go on. the experiences were mostly in elementary and middle school, but as i grew older i found myself FEELING judged simply when someone looked at me because i was so used to people openly attacking or taunting me. they may not have been thinking what i assumed they were thinking about me, but that's what my earlier experiences sort of beat into me - everyone is judging you.

    back then, i did my best to pretend not to care. i refused to let anyone see that it affected me because i didnt want them to think that they were "winning" - i couldnt let the people who thought they were somehow better than me feel any superior than they already did. as long as i wasnt letting them float any higher on their asshole cloud, i was still in the game.

    those experiences definitely had an impact on my life. in fact, they affected me pretty deeply - almost to the point that i was pushed over the edge. despite everything, i decided that i refused to NOT be who i am. as much as people hurt me and tried to mold me into what they wanted me to be, i just could not let myself fall to the pressure.

    you sort of realize that the people who feel the need to make fun of others for not being who they think they should be are missing something essential in their own lives. no truly happy, self-loving person feels the need to be cruel to others. kindness is a quality that im proud to have and i choose to share it with everyone i meet.

    yikes, i know this was super long...but i love that you did this blog, stephen. we're seeing too many people being pushed too far because of bullying and not knowing where to turn for support or what their options are.

    good on you for encouraging people to take their lives back.

    give love. live love.

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