~They Were Wrong, by Rei-Lyn G
“but I want to tell them
that all of this shit
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself
you signed it
“they were wrong”
because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a click
maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
to show and tell but never told
because how can you hold your ground
if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
you have to believe that they were wrong

they have to be wrong

why else would we still be here?”
-Verses from an amazing poem, “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan (All credit for the poem goes to him. My painting was only inspired by it.)

This painting was inspired by this anti-bullying poem. I recommend reading the rest of it and watching the video that accompanies it on his website:

I can’t explain how much that poem had touched my heart…So, I just had to paint something dedicated to it.

Being bullied myself for pretty much all of my 7th grade, I can closely related to the feelings inspired by this poem and by the stories told by many other who have been bullied. It is something that imprints upon your skin like an unwanted tattoo or a stain you can’t wash away.
Still, to this day, my heart races when I hear laughing behind my back even though it may have nothing to do with me. I cannot look in the mirror because all I see is “ugly”. I still remember being picked on because they thought I was “emo” or “gothic”, thought I cut myself and was depressed because I like wearing a particular black jacket. It was stupid, petty but still hurt that someone would spread hateful rumors of me that weren’t true. I would get funny looks and some people seemed disgusted by my presence. I remember a boy scooting away from me and muttering “Eww..” at a pep-rally when I sat had to sit beside him. I barely have any self confidence because I had grown accustom to the mantra “Hope for the ‘not so bad’, and prepare for the absolute worse’. I was even bullied by a boy who singled me out in my last period class near every day that year. I left school that year but returned the year after, 8th grade year, to try and face my fears and be beside my friends. It was rough for a while but I thought I was getting better.
I ended up leaving school for the second time due to severe anxiety. Though I got my GED and plan to go to counseling so I can possible hope to handle being around the crowds of people at collage…due to the bullying and the anxiety caused by it, I am terrified I will ever be secure in my skin again. Some days, I just don’t want to exist anymore.
Yet, maybe one day I will be because as the verse above says, something in me keeps telling me to not give up. Maybe I will always carrying those pains with me forever but maybe I find a way to turn those pains back into beauty.

So, to all those who have experienced bullying, I just want you to know…They were all wrong about you. You are beautiful and strong and still here. It may take very long, and some scars will only fade slightly but that beauty never went away. You just have to find it buried beneath all those lies and debris left behind by all those cruel words and actions…

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