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Friday, October 23, 2015

Soapbox Rant: Bullying, and What I Think We Should Do About It

I post these things on my Facebook that I call "Soapbox Rants." These are things in which I begin with: *steps on soap box* and end with *steps down from soap box*. These are little rants in which I say my annoyance/disdain for a certain issue, back it up with the reason I think it's happening, and usually offer a solution that I think would be good. It's a way to ramble, and also a way to get a conversation going.

I think that problems can be solved with communication, and problems can be started with either lack of communication or just plain poor communication. I've been posting soapbox rants on my personal Facebook feed for some years now, and have just recently been reminded as to how important it is to share your thoughts with your friends. Enjoy, now, my soap box rant on bullying, available on my Facebook page for WannaBGourmande.

*stretches* *steps on soap box*
I feel like the whole bullying thing has gotten out of hand. I feel like that instead of saying "stop bullying", or go with the argument of "don't let them make you a victim", let's do something else:
Let's figure out WHY kids become bullies.
See, I feel like kids are products of their environment. Sure, they have their own personalities, but they still act the way that they're taught is acceptable to act, and that begins at home. What if that child is acting out because they're abused at home? What if they're just being ignored? While I'm not excusing being a shitty person, if a kid is bullying another kid, it really is a severely misguided cry for help.
I feel like this whole anti-bullying movement/mass shooting thing has gotten to the point of no return. Bullying has become routine. Mass shootings, in the United States, have become routine. That's wrong on so many damn levels.
Is there a solution? Sure, we could argue gun reform, we could argue better access for mental illness and healthcare...but I feel like that's a long way's away. I think there's something we can do now:
Engage someone.
See a person sitting alone at lunch in your school's cafeteria? Ask to sit with them.
Is someone crying? Ask if they're alright.
See someone having a rough time on Facebook? Private message them and ask them if they want to talk about it.
See someone looking lonely, make eye contact and say a quick and friendly hello. It doesn't have to be a long conversation. But if you make eye contact with someone, smile, nod, and move on your way. Remind people that they're not alone. Remind people that there's anonymous good in the world.
It doesn't take much. There were days where a smile or a tiny "have a good one" from a stranger that really made a difference to turn my mood around if I'm having a bad day.
Maybe you have social anxiety yourself? Don't be afraid to engage in someone; I know it might be hard sometimes, but it could end up being your new best friend. If it doesn't, though, it still doesn't hurt to be that anonymous good person that reminds another human being that they aren't alone.
*steps down from soap box* *goes to get more coffee*

The idea of sharing these thoughts publicly came up today because a friend of mine commented on this photo that I shared to my own private Facebook page.

A friend commented on it saying: "I can't even begin to express how much it helped seeing this, this morning. After nightmares all night [...] this really helped. Thank you."

That hid me hard, man. It made me realize that, although it may not be necessarily meaningful to me, it could really help someone else. While it might make me seem narcissistic to be sharing MY thoughts to the world because "I HOLD THE SOLUTION TO ALL", I'm willing to look like that narcissistic asshole in hopes that it might help at least ONE person.

Maybe there's something to my Soap Box rants? I'll be posting them here, too, from now on, in hopes that someone out there will see it, and know that they're not alone.

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