My cousin Alicia is extraordinarily beautiful. She has the sort of spark that ignites the air you breathe and makes you gasp with confused awe. With eyes fizzing like neutron stars and hair like a Caribbean sunset, her cheeky yet beguiling laugh is enough to send you dizzy.
But that’s not what she sees. Tormented by friends, bullied by her peers, ignored by teachers and abandoned by her father, Alicia sees someone who isn’t beautiful at all. Or wanted.
The real risk of bullying isn’t the bruises, or the intimidation or even the isolation. The most dangerous and profound effect of bullying is the way it shapes the way you see yourself. It’s the way it convinces you, after a while, that they’re right. It creates a mindset that perpetuates the bullying, long after the bullies have grown bored and moved on.
My beautiful cousin Alicia has struggled with depression, self-harm and panic attacks. She has nightmares. She isolates herself. Her perception of herself dwindled to the point where she tried to kill herself. Such an incredible and unique spark of the divine – reduced in her own eyes to worthlessness.
How can that be?? How can children and young people find themselves so far from hope that they believe there’s no choice to but to evacuate? Death – more tempting than life? It takes profound hopelessness and sorrow to justify.
Alicia spoke out publicly for the first time a few days ago in a demonstration of courage perfectly befitting her character. If you’re against bullying, please read Alicia’s Story here and leave her a comment of love and support. I know there’s enough love out there to go round.
E.A.A Wilson is an author, minister of metaphysics, mom and reluctant bureaucrat. Stay in touch through: