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Hear No Evil: My Thoughts On Bullying

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Question:

Hi Mr. Kate. It’s Hannah I have a question  I have a fear of speaking up when some ones not being nice to me  like bullying . Any way could u plz help me I really need some help  I love your YouTube and your website plz answer – Hannah

My Answer:

Hi Hannah! First of all, that sucks that you are being bullied. I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with that. I think most of us have experience being bullied at one time or another and even if you have a thick skin and listen to all the usual advice of “Bullies are just insecure” or “Don’t let them get to you” it always stings to hear negative things.

It’s true that a bully is a certain type of person that is, above all else, extremely insecure. This is the most important rule I’ve found to comfort me when I am the target of hate spewing barf words via the internet, comments, etc. But it’s sometimes hard to remember that in the moment. Especially if you’re face to face with a bully.

I remember the first time I got bullied. I was in the seventh grade (around age 12) and I showed up at school wearing one of my usual “weird” outfits. On this particular day, it was an all-pink ensemble composed of a pink shirt and pink cut off shorts. The shorts were short, but there was no actual butt cheek making an appearance because I would have been sent home by a disapproving teacher.

As I walked past a group of older girls, one grade above me, they pointed and laughed at me and one of them yelled, “Hooker!” as I walked by.

I couldn’t believe it, I was stunned. They seemed so angry that I was wearing a perfectly adorable shorts ensemble on, what happened to be an extremely hot, Los Angeles day. Obviously my outfit had nothing to do with them nor did I, as a rather shy 7th grader – except for outgoing sense of style – ever project threatening or negative words towards them. The bullying laughter and name calling was completely unjustified. But that didn’t make it hurt my feelings any less.

I spent the rest of that day tugging down my shorts and avoiding that group of bitches.

On the car ride home from school, I told my mom about the hooker comment.

“They’re just jealous!” She exclaimed, “You have a beautiful body and a great sense of style. Fuck them!” …gotta love my mom.

The next morning I grappled with a newfound nagging insecurity about what to wear to school that day. I had always picked out my school outfits based off what I was in the mood to wear, regardless of other people’s opinions. But that morning, I had the voice of that bitch in my head. “Would she think this looks like a hooker outfit?” I thought to myself holding up one of my favorite striped dresses, that clung to my little puberty boob nubs just so. “Whatever, she’s chubby!” I mentally bullied the bitch back in my mind and decided to go with the angel on my shoulder, my mother’s voice, who had always encouraged me to wear whatever I wanted.

I wore that striped dress to school that day and when I caught site of the bully, I marched past her looking straight ahead and mentally daring her to say anything. She didn’t. Maybe it was my force field of confidence.

So, my darling and lovely Hannah, people get angry at the things they can’t understand. They’re most likely confronting issues in their personal life or internally that they don’t want to deal with so they project the frustration on others. That girl probably was dealing with her own insecurity about her body and seeing me in an outfit that put my own body on display, brought up feelings about herself that made her angry, or sad. Anger and sadness are usually closely intertwined.

I don’t think there is a point in engaging with people who are bullying. They’re stuck in that downward spiral of negativity and they most likely want a fight. They are trying to provoke you so they can fight with you instead of dealing with the root of their sadness and anger. I wouldn’t get caught up in what they’re saying, just pull yourself away and go get a smoothie.

Now-a-days, the bullying I get is via comments. The name Mr. Kate gets some people really angry.

“Why is your name Mr.!?!? You’re not a man! Are you?” They’ll often write in comments. The moniker Mr. Kate is meant to amuse and represent what we stand for in our business, which is inspiring people to express themselves through style and design and thus celebrate and love who they are. I use the slogan “Because, why not?” a lot because that is really how I feel about creative expression. Of course there are reasons why not when applied to morally wrong things, murder, robbery, hate speech, etc. but when it comes to style, design and expressing yourself, there is no reason why not… and don’t let any bully tell you otherwise.

To be accepting of others will ultimately help you accept and love yourself. Recently I heard an interview with Kevin Hart, the very short comedian, who said that he dealt with his height by making fun of himself before anyone else got the chance. You have to focus on loving yourself and appreciating your short comings, whatever they may be so that it takes the sting out of anything a bully could possibly say to you. It seems like a hard thing to do at a young age but surrounding yourself with supportive friends or parents will help too. It is never okay to hang out with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself.

The sting of hate gets better with age, I promise. The negative comments I get now really just make me feel sorry for the person spewing the hate because I know they’re dealing with something way bigger. Give yourself time to get to know and become comfortable with yourself…. I’m sure you’ll like hanging out together. Be your own best friend… and fuck those bitches!

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