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Stand up! Written by Brandon Gilligan

International STAND UP to Bullying Day.  

I was bullied through out Elementary school and high school, it still haunts me, but I can now speak of it from a position of strength

(Beep Beep Beep) It’s 7am. “Get up, your going to be late for school!” My mom yelled I think. “I’m sick I re-butted.” “You’re fine, you’re not running a fever. Come on, let’s go,” she said again. As I get in the car, my anxiety is running wild. My heart is racing. Scenarios are running through my head. My mom asked, “are you okay?” “Yea I’m fine” I said. “Okay have a good day, I love you” she said. “I love you too,” I replied. As I walk into my school, all I can think about is how much I am dreading gym class. Where he will be.

As the day went on, my hands would get clammy. I‘d be so nervous. Finally, I see him in the halls. He smacks my books out of my arms, papers fly out, homework stomped on and ruined. “What a loser! Look how pathetic you are! You probably have a hard time even carrying those books toothpick.” I walked away silently, gathering my belongings. This went on for some time. Everyday, these three bullies would torment so many of us. They were bigger and much stronger than us. Others almost believed we were worse than they were saying. After years of bullying I went on anti-depressants, just to feel like an empty vessel. I thought feeling no emotions was better than feeling scared and depressed every day. Then, the last few months of my grade 12 year at Keswick High school, in my gym class my final project was to lead the class in a physical activity. Football was my chosen spot. This bully got extremely confrontational with me in front of the whole class. He threw the football aggressively at me then started pushing me and saying “what are you going to do about it?” The whole class just stared in complete silence. We were squared off outside in the school field with the whole class watching. I was done being pushed around! I was done with putting others before myself! I was done seeing my friends feel defenceless and trapped! I punched that bully as hard as I could in the face. He fell to the ground, he got back up and we fought for a few seconds before our teacher separated us. I was escorted to the principal’s office by my gym teacher. I was brought the long way to cool down and collect my thoughts. My entire class was outside and they were all applauding and cheering me on. For once I felt proud and courageous. Every classmate was looking at me with pride and respect in their eyes. Later that week the bully and his two friends cornered me in the change room. My friends who were all bullied and belittled before, all stepped in front of me. Then more guys stood in front of me. They said if you want to fight him you’re going to have to fight all of us! The bullies never bothered me again.

Let me state, that I do not condone violence, but don’t be pushed around either. You all have something unique and interesting about yourselves. Embrace your individuality, don’t feel insecure because you are different. People will judge you no matter what you do. There will be ignorant people you will face throughout life. Love you for who you are. High school is such as small fraction of what life has to offer. Learn as much as you can. Explore hobbies, step outside of your comfort zone, that is where great things happen. But believe me these bullies who believe they are so cool and tough all by making others feel low and weak about themselves usually end of not developing essential life skills to succeed in life. They are insecure even if they don’t show it. They burn all their bridges with everyone they encounter. Lets fast forward to now. I am 26 years old now. I live in Edmonton Alberta. I am driving the car of my dreams. I am a journeyman architectural cladder with Flynn Canada. Most importantly though, I am happy! Have I achieved all of my goals? Nowhere close. I have come a long way from where I was. I still have a long way to go. Learning every day and striving to be a better man than the day before. I have a loving family supporting me every step of the way. A lot of good friends by my side. Stick to your dreams and goals no matter what anyone tells you! You can do anything as long as you work hard for it and stay with it. Prove them all wrong by crushing the goals you set. Stand up say I CAN DO IT!


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