South City Confessions: Bullies are the worst

I once had a terrible stutter.

Try being a talkative fella and feeling the need to do some mouth and tongue stretching before a conversation. For the first two thirds of my life, I had a stutter that jumped up and snapped up sentences out of thin air, wrestling them to ground and making them disappear. It was embarrassing, agonizing, and all together a horror show at times.

My mouth couldn’t cash the checks my mind was writing, so I got lost and crawled inward due to the abuse I took at times from strangers, friends, and sometimes, family. It wasn’t pure insults, just a gentle chuckle and smirk at times. That’d do the trick. I’d just quit and walk away.

Yeah, the guy who has become a frequently ambitious voice on your local radio stream once had a bad stutter and took abuse for something he couldn’t control.

Let’s just say I had it a lot easier than a young Australian boy named Quaden Bayles. He has a condition called achondroplasia dwarfism. The nine-year-old suffers from a rare bone disease, but that’s nothing compared to the abuse he took from other kids. It got so bad that the boy’s mother filmed a tearful video where Quaden talked about suicide. It went viral, and the good celebrities showed up, the ones who care.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hugh Jackman, Jon Bernthal, and several others showed up. Quaden took the field with the Australian rugby team to a rapturous applause from the home crowd. The big guns came out and supported, but they really shouldn’t have to.

Bullying is just so pointless. Taking the time, air, and energy to belittle someone’s condition and ruin their day. Think about the time. You recognize the kid you want to make fun of, and then devise a thought or hateful sentence in your head. You go over it once and then fire it out. Target struck. The kid tries to shake it off, but instead bursts into tears. This assault will be repeated over and over again … for no real reason.

I understand the concept of chirping and playful banter among adults and maybe even teenagers, but when it happens with a kid in a negative way, the results can be dire and quite bad. And for what? Someone gets to feel better about themselves for a few minutes. What a waste.

Quaden didn’t bring this on himself. He was born with a condition where a young kid’s body doesn’t grow at the pace the rest of him does, thus giving him an aboriginal appearance. He didn’t choose that, the cards were dealt and he rolled with the punches. For some evil reason, certain kids will use this as ammunition to smear him-instead of taking the extra energy to comfort him.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If we eliminated some hate and inserted some love in its place, the world would be a better place to live. Delete bullying and see how far we can take this. Imagine what we could do with this endless playground.

There are some things you can’t control or logically fight in this world. Cancer is one of them. Alzheimer’s disease. Parkinson’s disease. A bone disease is another. We can’t delete those. We can’t stop those from taking over everything at times. We just fight them as best we can.

Bullying is different. A bad guy with no motive. It needs to die. Right now. There’s no benefit from it and the long-term effects are sharp-shifting villains.

I once was bullied by people for my stutter. Over time, I found a way to outsmart and defeat it. Some aren’t as lucky. Quaden will fight his condition until he falls.

A lot of kids have it worse than I do. It’s a New Year, but old demons are still affecting our lives. This year, there will be kids and young adults who take their own life after years of abuse. It will happen, there’s no stopping it now, and that’s unfortunate.

And I always think to myself … what is going on and how did we get here?

Bullying is the worst.

Thanks for reading,

@buffa82

*If you are a victim of bullying, feel free to click the above tag and contact me via direct message. Sometimes, all someone needs is a voice that listens. That’s it.

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