Ask Andrew W.K.: Dealing With Bullies
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
Photo Mallory Turner
I'm writing because I'm being bullied every day and I just can't take it anymore. I'm going to be starting my sophomore year of high school this fall, and every day I've just been fearing it worse and worse. I used to be a pretty happy person. I was picked on a little bit in middle school and before, but once high school started it's just way more and I'm so depressed now that I just hate my life. There's this one group of students, both girls and guys, and their whole hobby is making my life miserable. They go on everywhere and say lies about me, and also make fun of me in class and say I'm a slut, which isn't even true at all. They've stolen my backpack a bunch of times, and one time they gave it back to me and they had dumped soda all over everything. I hated every day of my freshman year. My mom let me stay home from school as much as possible, but if I miss too many days next year, I won't pass my classes, and the teachers were already getting mad at me about it. I just can't win no matter what I do. My mom has tried talking to the teachers and the principal and even the parents of these kids. But the more they teach them about how bullying is wrong, the more they always find a new way to be even more mean to me. We are now considering trying to move me to a different school. My mom is hoping to move to a different town, so we can have a fresh start. Why are people so mean? They are ruining the happy person I once was.
Help Me Please
Dear Help Me Please,
No one can break you. You are a billion times stronger than these bullies will ever know. You are even stronger than you know. No matter how hard it may seem to keep your head up and keep going, you must hold on to your power, and not give in to their cruelty. hey want you to feel bad, and your feelings are the one thing you have control over. You might not have control over what they do, but you can always control how you respond to them.
You can simply refuse to let them break your spirit. The most important and valuable possession you have in this whole world is your spirit. Your spirit is where all the best things about you reside. Your spirit is where your courage, strength, kindness, love, creativity, happiness, inspiration, care, belief, and imagination all live. The mean people of the world want to break down your spirit so they can destroy all the beautiful things that are protected inside of it. But guess what? There is only ONE person in the world that can break down your spirit, and that's YOU. You have the one and only key to the lock that guards your spirit, and you never have to give it to anyone unless you want to.
Bullies are very tricky. They work very hard to manipulate your emotions through fear, cruelty, and brutality, until we think the only way to get them to stop is to give in to them. They trick us into giving them the key to our spirit. That's the game they're playing, and their delight is in seeing if they can win the game by breaking down the walls that guard your precious heart. They will tempt you in every way. Just like the wicked witch tried to tempt Snow White with that delicious apple, these bullies are tempting you with relentless and exhausting abuse.
Just like Snow White, you have a true beauty that they don't think they have, so they feel the only way they can enrich their souls is by sucking the beauty out of yours. But YOU CAN STOP THEM. It takes two to play this game, and the most surefire way to never lose to a bully is to never play along with their stupid game in the first place. That's how bullies work. They start this game with you and your mind, and if you simply don't play along, they can never win. People often say, "Just ignore the bullies," but that's not the same. Ignoring them doesn't work. You simply just don't let them break you down.
It's like being afraid of the dark. If I'm afraid of the dark, I can't simply ignore that it's dark. It's too obvious and in my face. But I can feel afraid of the dark, and just choose to not give into the fear. You just feel your way through the dark and keep moving, instead of collapsing on the floor and cowering in fear. Some people see a problem and run away because they're scared. But courageous people see a problem and run towards it -- even though they're scared too. We don't ignore the problems and hardships and fears in our life. We keep living and doing the best we can, even with the problems, and the mean people, and less than ideal situations. Why? Because we have spirit. We have heart. We refuse to be beaten. And all you have to do is just - keep - on - going. Especially in those moments when it feels like you can't take one more breath, your spirit will see you through.