Bullying and the Power of One Man’s Words


Today I stumbled upon this video about bullying by Shane Koyczanhttp://www.upworthy.com/bullies-called-him-pork-chop-he-took-that-pain-with-him-and-then-cooked-it-into?g=3 it’s a beautifully written, spoken poem with animation, the animation is beautiful and touching in it’s own right.

This is an incredibly important video and as a person who was also bullied as a child I found myself crying over it. There is one part where he says “we grew up believing no on would ever fall in love with us, that we’d be lonely forever, that we’d never meet someone to make us feel like the sun was something they built for us in their tool shed. So broken heart strings bled the blues as we tried to empty ourselves so we would feel nothing.” That particular collection of words really hit home to me. I was bullied from grade 6 into high school simply because I had buckteeth. My parents were not able to get braces for me until I was 16. The happiest day of my life, and it is sad to say so, is the day I had my braces put on. I grew up in a military family and spent my childhood moving every 4 years. In grade 6 I started in a new school in a smaller town and that’s when the bullying started. I can remember laying in bed at night and thinking the same thing that Shane Koyczan says in his amazing poem; that no one would ever fall in love with me, I was going to grow up lonely, that this would never go away, this would never get better. It did get better as my teeth were straightened, as I grew up and found beauty in myself. However the pain you endure as a child, being barked at all the way home from the bus stop, being called bucky beaver, ugly, freak, the pain of those words carry into adulthood. They make you fear the day your children start school, fear that they will endure the same pain. Or worse that they will inflict pain on others.

Because of my teeth and the relentless teasing I learned to hide away, to not get too close to people for fear I would get too comfortable and maybe forget to cover my mouth with my hand when I smiled or laughed. I was always so careful to cover my mouth. I was one of the lucky ones though, I had friends, friends that considered themselves good people for allowing me to hang out with them, you know, considering…. Friends that would think it were okay to say, “you are the nicest person in our class but you are the ugliest.” I never want my children to have to plan out how they are going to walk from one class to the next to avoid certain people, to have to walk down a hallway while the name calling hits you like a slap in the face. I never want my children to have to laugh when someone makes a reference to how you remind them of bugs bunny, like laughing at yourself will make the humiliation less intense. I never wanted anyone to know their comments hurt me, somehow that made it worse in my eyes. So I laughed along with them and they in turn thought I was so nice, with no idea how much I actually hated them. Thank you Shane Koyczan, your words WILL make a difference.

Please note this blog post was hard to write, I still feel the sting of humiliation recalling that time in my young life. Share Shane’s video, like his facebook page, follow him on twitter; watch him as he makes a difference.

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Emotions in Art – Painting Sadness – A Visual Diary


Never Tell - Hand Painted Original on Canvas

Never Tell – Hand Painted Original on Canvas

I’ve been asked what inspires me to paint and while I struggle to come up with the obvious answers like my surroundings, the beauty of nature, my love of life what truly drives me to paint are my emotions. Sometimes the more emotional or stressed out I am the better the painting turns out. It seems I’m painting sadness. I have had more than a few people tell me that my artwork is packed with emotion. I guess I wear my heart on my sleeve; at least when it comes to painting. In life I keep my emotions to myself on the most part. I don’t share my inner pain with friends or family or even my spouse. Maybe from an artistic point of view that is a good thing. For my aching soul it’s a terribly lonely feeling. When I paint from an emotional frame of mind the end product is so drenched in sadness I don’t think I could honestly call much of my art therapeutic. Mostly it’s a visual diary to the ups and downs of my life. A life filled with love and betrayal, struggles that reach beyond just the financial burden I often face. When someone buys a piece of my art they are truly buying a piece of my soul, my very own visual diary.
You can find more of my art for sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ourhouseabstractart