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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Overcoming the “Biffs”!

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Tragedy is that our attention centers on what people are not, rather than on what they are and who they might become.” ~ Brennan Manning

Remember the movie, “Back to the Future?” Biff started bullying George McFly when they were kids and it continued over the next 30 years. This was a movie; not real life. In the movies writers can determine any plot and any outcome, but bullying is a far bigger issue than the movie's portrayal. Like George McFly (with his son's help) and the celebrities featured below, many overcome the experience. Many, however, suffer for years.

Bullying is real and isn’t going away any time soon. For generations, children everywhere have faced playground taunts and teasing, and now the Internet has taken bullying to a whole new level. With the click of the mouse, anonymous threats are instantly sent world-wide. Cyber bullying extends beyond the computer and includes any form of communication technology to intimidate others, and it is on the rise.

It doesn’t matter if you are big or small or the class genius or nerd; even big guys can get picked on for just being themselves and having a dream. Kevin was a big guy, the kind of kid you would expect to see on the football field, but Kevin had no interest in sports. He was more interesting in making puppets from scraps of fabric lying around the house. In high school, Kevin was repeatedly bullied for “playing with dolls.” Who is he, and where is Kevin now?

Were you bullied because you are mixed race or had no money?

“I was bullied so badly my dad used to have to walk me into school so I didn't get attacked. I'd eat my lunch in the nurses' office so I didn't have to sit with the other girls. Apart from my being mixed race, my parents didn't have money so I never had the cute clothes or the cool back pack." ~ Jessica Alba

Were you bullied because you were the new kid in school or were shy?

“I moved to London from Ireland when I was 11. I was an outsider and that made it difficult. I was ribbed a lot because of my accent and was nicknamed 'Irish'. I was also very shy-which didn't help. But the important thing is I survived the experience." ~ Pierce Brosnan

Were you bullied because of the way you looked?

“I would have given anything not to have such big ears … other kids knew they could get under my skin by flicking my ears, exposing my ears, even talking about my ears.” ~ Michael Phelps

Were you bullied because others didn’t consider you “cool” or like your taste in music?

“Girls in junior high didn't think I was cool or pretty enough, so they stopped talking to me." Kids also thought it was weird that I liked country [music]. They'd make fun of me." ~ Taylor Swift

Were you bullied because you moved around so much that you were usually the new kid at school?
"I was beat up in the bathrooms, in the hallways, shoved in the lockers — for the most part for being the new kid." ~ Eminem

Eminem said he overcame this tough phase of his life through rapping. “That kid over there may have more chicks or better clothes, but he can't rap like me.”

All too often, victims think bullying only happens to them and it is somehow their fault. Hopefully, knowing they are not alone; that even successful people – actors, athletes, and comedians were bullied and bounced back will help others realize they too can come out on top. Don’t miss the opportunity to be you; don’t miss the opportunity to see who you might become. You, too, could become an Olympic swimmer, rising songwriter, or even the voice of a Muppet.

Bullying should not be taken lightly; it can easily spiral out of control. If you are being bullied and aren’t sure how to stop it or where to turn, or if you are concerned that your child is being bullied, there is help. STOMP Out Bullying and No Bully are two organizations that devote every day to helping educate kids and adults on the dangers of bullying.

Remember, it is your life; don’t let anyone take it away from you. Who do you want to be? For Kevin Clash it was…. Being Elmo!

Have you or someone you loved been bullied? Share your story and help others know they are not alone.

2 Comments

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  1. Vern Dennis says:
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    Cyber-bullying is a new problem and I have no idea how to handle it. It was much simpler when I was a kid – I got bullied but I bought some weights , built up my strength and fought back – just the act of fighting back was enough to curtail the bullying.

    Unfortunately, cyber bullying is anonymous which makes accountability much harder. If anyone has any real answers I’d love to know about it because the bullying of today is for more cruel that what I encountered when tall and skinny

  2. Mark Bello says:
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    Vern: Thanks for the comment. Not every tall and skinny (or short and skinny, for that matter) guy has the ability to bulk up and fight back. I happy that you were able to do that. You are correct that cyber-bullying is a unique problem, but we as a society must adjust our behavior with regard to all types of bullying. Only through education and increased public awareness can we make this even remotely possible. Regards, Mark