Bullying Made Me Stronger

Hi! I’m Jasmine Gemmell, I’m in grade 9  and am 15 years old. I love space, cats, and makeup and I am currently Miss Teen South Central Saskatchewan-World. My platform is the Kind Campaign, which is a campaign that focuses on the elimination on female to female bullying. Lets start this off by saying I hate the word bullying. It is overused and the meaning is misunderstood. People don’t take that word seriously. The topic of bullying is taken too lightly. You have to speak up, tell whats on your mind, and put an end to it. Feel strongly about something. Stop mistreating people, everyone’s different, thats never going to change, but the acceptance of those differences is what we must strive for.  Everyone has their place in this world, so let them get there. Don’t block their path by putting them down. Most kids don’t even tell anyone theyre being bullied, I sure didn’t.

The Kind Campaign is an internationally recognized movement, documentary and school program based upon the

"BE KIND" bracelets

powerful belief in kindness that brings awareness and potential healing to the effects of girl to girl bullying. We’re not alone. Every single girl has experienced becoming aggressors or victims of girl against girl crime. Physical fighting, name-calling, threats, power struggles, competition, manipulation, secrets, rumors, and ostracizing other girls all fall under the category of girl to girl crime. We need to band together and realize these similarities and learn from our mistakes to move forward. To be honest we all want to be liked. It’s hard enough to accept ourselves for who we are, let alone accept the judgments other girls have for us. The idea of female bullying has become a glamourized issue, especially in the media with “cat fights” and making fun of anytime girls aren’t getting along. We often choose to ignore is the fact that these experiences very often lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug abuse, and suicide in millions of girls lives. It’s hard to be a girl sometimes. And with everyones judging eyes watching its even harder. We all aren’t going to become best friends, we all have different interests that make this impossible. But we can do something, very simple, we can be kind, to ourselves, and everyone around us. To get along, is the easiest thing to do. Things will run so much more smoothly.

“We’ve all been the victim. Unfortunately, we’re also the cause. Help us change.”

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you, but the truth is they do, they hurt a lot. I can’t exactly remember when it all began, the day I became their target. They took my happiness away and I cant get it back. And what I dream of is my time in a place where I can be alone, no one to hurt me. There is no one to judge me. This is where I forget the pain that builds up inside me, this is my piece of heaven, and no one can take that away from me. But this is only temporary, once I go back into the real world, it all starts back up again. The smiling face I put on for you is only a simple mask, to please everyone else, so they don’t ask questions. I laugh with people I am close with, but then remember how it feels when I am here, and alone. Some days I have no friends, no one to tell, no one to explain my feelings and thoughts to. When you’re out at a party, or hanging out with friends, do you ever wonder what someone else is doing? That kid you see at school, you don’t really know. Does she have friends? Ones who won’t leave her side in a bad time? I’m so lost in my loneliness. So I sit here for hours, crying tears that no one ever sees, saying things no one ever hears. No one knows everything that is really going on. Everyone sleeps peacefully in their beds, looking forward to the next day. You see I think too much about what tomorrow will bring, I know it already, made my predictions, and have no exciting expectations. I’m sorry if I hurt you, but they make it this way. I can’t change it, until you do.

Here’s the thing. This does not just mean this is for you girls, its the general statement that we all need to be kinder, to males, to females, to everyone. Here’s my story. I grew up in a small town, I went to elementary with the same kids my entire life, did we get sick of each other? Yes, we did. And thats when the trouble started happening. In early elementary I will begin my story that was the first time I’d ever remember feeling left out. One day at school, and I know its going to sound silly now, but to a little 9 year old girl, it was pretty much the end of the world. Anyways, everyone had made hand shakes up at lunch one day, and I didn’t have a partner to do one with because there was 9 girls.. See the problem? Theres always that one kid left out. Then in grade 5 I decided I’d like to be a rock star, and this still embarrasses me to this day, but I have come to the conclusion that I have to make peace with my past and realize that at that time that something meant the world to me. So I chopped off my hair and got new clothes. Go to school the following September, get beaked out of my mind, by grade 8’s. So in grade 6 I had a crush on a boy, and then one day, he decided to think I was weird and tell our school how obsessed with him I was. See, boys are the problem too!  Also in grade 6 I got glasses, and one girl felt the need to remind me every day how the glasses I chose didn’t suit me. As well as the days I forgot them, she’d be the first to let me know! So grade 7 I got contacts, and wore make up and got “pretty” this was around the same time I put on 18 lbs in a year and that pretty all went down the drain again. So I joined volleyball, and some girls told me I was terrible, so I quit. I know my life sounds pretty pathetic so it probably won’t come as a shock that I became a bit suicidal and depressed around this same time.

Talking at school about the Kind Campaign

I’d always conjure up ideas in my head how I could end it and make it the most dramatic to make people realize, hey wow, I was mean to her. I wish I wouldn’t have been the reason. But then a friend of mine did commit suicide, and I saw the pain her family went through, and I knew I couldn’t. She has people writing on her facebook wall everyday about how much people miss her, its all a crock! If they miss her so bad now, why didn’t they do anything about it when she was still around. She had a wonderful home life, great siblings, athletic, pretty girl. But kids are evil, mean, catty, jealous, and unkind. Then in the summer before grade 8 I made a YouTube account doing make up for myself and other people, that was fun while it lasted, until people I knew personally found it.. Then a group of girls made fake accounts commenting nasty things to me, apparently even kids in the big city found out and called me “the youtube girl” Now days you can say the meanest things all behind closed doors, where no one will find out, because of your account hiding behind that identity, its so cowardly, yet we do it. I had a plan now to lose all that weight at 20 lbs heavier than I am today, I decided I was going to work out every night and cut down on what I ate. Seemed flawless, until I got addicted, all I thought about was food, it was one thing I could count on, it was my friend, and my enemy. Anorexia was the next step, without a positive self image from being put down, I was a vulnerable wreck, easily warped on what was a good body image. I ended up losing about 25 lbs, and wanted to lose more, because as I lost weight, I got more attention. I liked it, and I felt special who was “too thin?!” they had to be so special. So now it came time to pick a highschool… I knew too many people going to my closest highschool, they knew my past, they knew what hurt me and what cuts the deepest. So my grade 8 teacher suggested here, I came. And ended up knowing a lot of people. But the trouble didn’t end there.

I got to a private school and realized girls were mean everywhere I go, the situation is inevitable. Girls are all the same! They want the guy, they want the popularity, they want to go to lush parties, buy hip clothes, and to have great friends. But the truth is, while your pushing your way to the top to get these things, you dont realize the people you hurt. For the first few months of school every now and then I’d just sit down and bawl my eyes out because I had no real friends, I’m not sure if I do yet, I’ve only hung out twice with people from school. I guess I’m kind of a loner, maybe I like it? No stress. But without companionship, the world is a very lonely place. But now, I’ve figured out my place in the world, and thats through knowledge. Its the one thing I’m good at and can ensure won’t leave me at any time. I don’t NEED a best friend, just people to be kind to me, through whatever I choose to do with my time. And yet I still want to be “cool” I still have that wish, but what can I say? I’m a 15 year old girl. I know I’m annoying, I know I’m awkward, I know I’m a walking pity party, I know I’ve made a joke of anything I’ve ever said. But I don’t need anyone to tell me so, I know it might be a good topic to talk about behind my back on the bus about how annoying I am, pump yourself up a bit. Make yourself feel super cool for the few minutes while your putting someone down who isn’t in the presence to stand up for themselves. Its not like I would anyways.

The other ironic thing is that some people get stronger through bullying people, initially for sure, the rush of getting a laugh out other people from putting someone down. But people also learn, and realize from their mistakes of once bullying a person of taking a step back and taking a walk in their shoes. I’ve realized myself that the feeling of getting other people to laugh is a great one, no matter what way we get those laughs from. The fact is, as we grow older, we usually learn from our past mistakes and apply them to our present. No one wants to get bullied, and no one wants to be known as a bully, its a hard thing to come to conclusion with, that I have hurt people, intentionally and unintentionally. I don’t want to be known as that person, I want to change. I am changing, and I did change. Now days anytime I will go out of my way to apologize for doing something that may have even remotely hurt someone. I am in no way here to single out people for their wrong doing, just make the awareness that bullying is a real thing that needs to end.

Now thinking back, I don’t even remember half the reasons for the times  I spent my night upset in my room, so truly it didn’t mean much to me, and the fact is: I got over it. Bullying made me a stronger person. This is only half the story, the other half I’m too embarrassed to even say, because it makes me sound more pathetic than believe I am. The way I tell these stories is by making fun of myself, and the only reason is my way of coping, without breaking down. For some reason, making it seem light hearted, but in no way it is, makes me less emotional. I did a presentation in my elementary school about this, and the funny thing is, after that I gained some friends. People realized they did wrong, and I realized I’m not a perfect person either. But here and now I’m not claiming to be. I’ve been a part of every aspect of bullying. I’ve been the bully, the bystander, and the victim. But now I am here to be the change, of the end of cruelty and the beginning of a kinder world.

Please just be kind.