Most gay men understand what's it like to be bullied as a youth. I remember the constant bullying from 6th thru 12th grades. It was every day, and how I survived it I'll never know. This bullying followed me well into late my 20's, it changed how I viewed people in social scenes, and I spent years trying to run from those feelings.
It wasn't until I went to complete my masters degree that I realized how ill prepared I was to deal with most social situations. I was withdrawn, quite and very shy I didn't make friends easily, and in public social settings I was a total "wall flower". I didn't think that I was good enough for anyone, I wasn't attractive and I had little self-worth for myself. I felt completely isolated, here I was hundreds of miles from home. My parents lived in New Orleans and here I was at the University of Michigan.
It wasn't until I was in the last term of my masters degree that I sought help from Mr. Nickolas, he was my adviser and I remember going into his office and the lowest point I ever felt. I couldn't understand why after all these years I still felt the same way. How could what happened in school still affect me? What was wrong with me?
What I had to do was face my past and stop trying to run from it. Learn to love, respect myself and understand that I was stronger than I ever thought. It would take two years of therapy to completely understand what happened, and to leave that in my past.
Today I reflect on that time of my life and know that I will never allow anyone to hurt me that way again. It's the reason I am so direct, blunt and honest. Never again will I cede control of my life to anyone for any reason. Bullying has affects that last much longer and effects our lives in ways we never think of.
How do we deal the bullying? How do we protect and help those in need?
Ditch the Label a anti-bulling website has some good advice on how to deal the bullying. It's worth reading.
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