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Alicia talks about bullying on CTV News
With all the speeches I have given, I planned to never speak about bullying. I artfully avoided it, because finger pointing on people who didn't truly deserve it was not my thing. So when Pauline Chan asked me to speak about bullying ( assuming I had been she never asked :P) I was really tempted to turn it down. I am not a fan of the whole bullying causes depression or suicide line of logic ( sometimes it does, but i know some kids who are kicking ass right now who have been bullied, and people lost to suicide who were never bullied). But after a talk with my friend, I decided to do it. I was terrified. I knew that I would indirectly be talking about people who bullied me and were connected to me over social media, and even worse I would have to talk about my experience bullying others. I really knew though, that the message of someone standing up for you was important. I also wanted to push that hating bullies isnt the solution to this problem, but prevention to the issues causing them to bully is (whatever that may be). As a bullied kid I heard a lot of horrible comments about my weight, how i interacted with others and many other things. As a bully I took my insecurities out on other people. I understand both sides of the story well. TV appearances is TV appearances, I am no stranger to cameras and bright lights at this point. What struck with me was the TV anchor's response on CTV national: "I deal with researchers, teachers, and campaign leads all the time, but the only people I have all the time for is the people that have lived through it. Thanks for sharing your honest, albeit critical view on the bullying campaign". It was wonderful to know that even though I am not a fan of campaigns that rely soley on pledging to change one's action for social change, my opinion was still respected and heard.
When I finished speaking, I got the reaction I kind of feared but expected: people calling my friend who defended me through part of the bullying, asking, "we weren't that bad, were we?". I struggle with a feeling that what I have been through is not enough to warrant the respect and attention I have been getting over the last few months. Hearing these comments was heart breaking, but they reminded me of a psychological finding: as people who have acted negatively towards someone, we always try and downplay our actions. As a bully, I struggle to come to terms with how bad I actually acted every day. Others also have that problem because to them it's not seen as bullying but as trying to fit in at the expense of someone else. At this time, I want to remind those who were bullied that you don't have to be bullied to the extreme of Amanda Todd to share your story. You deserve to have a voice and feel the relief from no longer hiding. Bullying comes in many different forms, so if in the moment, it felt like bullying to you, you are the only one that matters. It was bullying and don't let anyone tell you differently.
Watch Alicia's interview on CTV News.
Alicia is a mindyourmind volunteer and public speaker. Because the whole cat whisper thing didn't work out. She loves to write, speak and just finished her undergrad at uwaterloo. One of Bell Let's Talk campaign's Faces of Mental Illness, Alicia works to reduce stigma and open up the conversation on mental health. Read more of her blogs on Mental Health Superhero.
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