A Darker Shade Of Pink A Bunch of Bull(ies) Stephanie Sparer

Everybody is bullied as a kid and it affects us in different ways.

I know I was teased a lot as a kid, always for one thing or another. That’s just a part of growing up. That’s what makes us stronger. It’s what builds our personalities.

Maybe. So all the books tell me.

Frankly (luckily, I might also add), I come from a very supportive family. My mom had a golden rule – “No name calling” – and I’ve carried that with me through life the way people allergic to bees carry an EpiPen. I understand not everybody was fortunate enough to have a great family, but I still never quite got why some people thought it was okay to make fun of others.

Then something clicked: these bullies just want to feel better about themselves. It actually had nothing to do with me.

So, girls – impressionable young, bright things and college freshman who were passed over for a spot in the sorority because they weren’t blonde, and 30-year-old women dealing with a bitch in the office or a jerk boyfriend, or both if you’re that ill-fated – please understand: What people say and do has absolutely nothing to do with you, that’s totally their own problem. That’s years of parents accidentally saying the wrong thing. That’s a kid who was once teased for liking a video game too much. That’s a girl who was overweight but wanted to learn ballet. It’s a vicious cycle.

But that’s no excuse because people need to grow up, right? Like, that’s all fine and well for a 10-year-old who bullies because they’re hurt inside and don’t know any better, but what about the 23-year-old who bullies because their father was mean to them growing up? Who calls names because they hate themselves? Who makes you feel bad about yourself just because they feel bad about where they are in life?

You can’t fix people. Unless you’re Oprah. And you can’t change people’s lives. Unless you’re Oprah. These people have to want to be better, but that can sometimes take years of getting help. Like you know how Bender miraculously changes from class bully to Claire’s boyfriend at the end of The Breakfast Club (spoiler, sorry.)? Yeah. That actually doesn’t happen in real life without thousands of dollars in therapy.

The only thing you can do when dealing with a verbal bully is to just not take it personally. But, I getcha. That’s way easier said than done. Probably, unless you’re Oprah.

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