Meet 14 year old, Eduardo Solis from California: 

Eduardo, @EndBullyingNow

My name is Eduardo. I am 14 years old. & this is my story.  I’m good at faking a smile & pretending that I’m ok.  I was 8 years old when it started.  At first it wasn’t that hurtful. They just called me “Four eyes” & stuff.  Once 3rd grade year finished, my family & I moved to Houston, Texas.  It was really amazing!  But school wasn’t.  I was the new kid who didn’t have any friends.  I really didn’t have anyone to talk to during lunch.  One day, a teacher called me a “chicken” for not wanting to participate in singing.  That teacher didn’t know is that I was shy.  REALLY shy.  After she called me “chicken” some girl started calling me the same name.  Then after one month living in Texas, my parents decided to move back to California. Again, a new school.  But this new school was WAY better than the other two schools.  I really didn’t get bullied in this school. 2 years went by where I didn’t get bullied.  But then middle school came along.  6th grade was the worse year EVER.  Everyday I was bullied by this kid.  Whenever he saw me, he kicked me, tried to trip me, pushed me, & called me names.  I remember when my English teacher changed the sitting arrangement & she sat me in the worse sit ever. I was sitting in front of my bully. When the teacher wasn’t looking, he would kick me.  That is how cowardly he was.  I was afraid to tell any teacher because I thought it would only get worse.  I stayed strong that entire year.  Once 6th grade ended, 7th grade came along.  At first, I thought it was going to be an awesome year because I had new classmates!  But I was wrong.  One day, a guy called me a horrible name (I’m not going to say the name they called me.).  Then his 2 other friends started calling me that same name.

In the past, I would go home where I could just be happier than at school, not until my parents started to fight a lot.  Then came that day, when my mom found out my dad was cheating.  My dad then left the house, but still visited & stuff.  I always thought “Why does this happen to me?  Why coudn’t happen to someone else?” I just couldn’t take it anymore & one day I was in my room.  I was thinking a lot.  I cried & I just felt that if I died no one would care.  I told my parents about this & they helped me.  I was 12 years old when this happened.

After that day, I decided that it was time to stand up for myself.  I wrote a letter to my teacher that I trusted the most. I wrote her a letter because I was going to cry in front of her & I just didn’t want that.  So, in the letter I told her what was going on.  I gave her the letter in the morning, then in the afternoon she talked to the bully.  I remember her saying to the bully “How DARE you tell him that?”  After that day, I never got bullied in the 7th grade.  I was so grateful that I had her as a teacher.  She was truly an amazing teacher.

During summer vacation, I did something that I will NEVER regret.  I created this account on September 2, 2011. When summer vacation ended, I went back to school.  It was my 8th grade year.  My last year of middle school.  This year was really bad for me.  I was having bad grades, some girl told me that I created fake accounts on twitter to follow myself, & my parents were still fighting.  Then one day, I just had a horrible day at school & after school I was determined to cut myself.  I just wanted to have friends & someone to talk to.  While I was walking to my house (determined to self harm) I heard the most amazing song called “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato.  When I heard this song for the first time, I cried because It was something that I could relate to.  Hearing this song made & still makes me feel good about myself.  It gives me hope.  I always imagine singing this song to my bullies.  One day, a kid from school posted on my Facebook wall saying “I hate you” ,”Go get friends.”  Then at the end he told me, “I’m just bored. That’s why I’m doing this.”  What he doesn’t know is that those word hurt.  

During those dark days, I just wanted someone to be there for me.  Someone I could talk to.  Because of my bullies, I felt insecure about myself.  Sometimes I still feel insecure.  But now, I realize that their words shouldn’t mean anything to me & that the bad things that have happened to me have only made me stronger.  I have stayed strong for a long time & I keep staying strong.   I know that the bad things that have happened to me, are the things that made me stronger.  On June 15, 2012 I graduated from middle school.  Then, in August I’m entering high school!  I am nervous to enter high school.  I hope I meet good people & I don’t have bullies in my life.  Anyways, I am sharing my story because if there’s anyone that is struggling with the issues that I went through, to let them know that they are NOT alone.  Suicide & self harming are not the answers to your problems!  Please Stay Strong<3 & know that it WILL get better! One day. I just want to thank Demi Lovato, Ellen Degeneres, Kelly Clarkson, Shane Dawson, Bree Essrig, & my followers for helping me & making me smile!

Follow Eduardo’s AMAZING Twitter account @EndBullyinNow

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Dance for a Difference

October 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Thoughts | Your Voices - (1 Comments)

Meet Hanna, a beautiful 13-year-old 8th grade student from New York.  I came across Hanna’s anti-bullying/suicide awareness video on the NY Anti-Bully Movement page. Hanna impressed me on many levels (her courage, her ability to speak out, her ability to find ways to help other people, etc.), but what impressed me most was how articulately she was able to explain the situation of bullying, her frustrations with how the school handled her mother’s complaints, the consequences bullying had on her, AND furthermore, how she thinks our schools can better handle bullying.  Hanna has created an AMAZING website called, DanceForADifference to help children and teens who are being bullied and/or are feeling like they may want to hurt themselves.  Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Hanna, and please check out her website!

Hello, I’m Hanna a 13 year old 8th grade student. I’ve been through more than most kids at my age could even think of. I’ve been bullied since 6th grade. Would you have been able to tell before I told you? Most kids don’t realize what effects bullying has on people. Some kid’s runaway, shut everybody else out, turn to hurting themselves or even attempt suicide such as I tried to do. Through my past experiences I have come to realization that I have the ability to help other children my age who have been affected by bullying.

I’ve been bullied since 6th grade. I did everything I possibly could do to try and fit in. Including cutting my hair, dying it, changing my style of music and clothes, and changing the way I interacted with my family. These girls who bullied me did things like taking my gym clothes and putting them in the toilet…They made up rumors about me and made it impossible for me to make friends. School was supposed to be a place that I could go to, to learn. It was my favorite place to be, until bullies took that away. It was a battle to get myself to go to school each day knowing that throughout the day it would be a struggle. As a result of bullying I attempted suicide less than a month ago. I spent four days and three nights in the hospital. The doctors told me I was going to die the first night. They pumped my stomach and I needed to drink liquid charcoal. My family was by my side the whole time, my huge loud Italian family mushed into a tiny hospital room as they cried and blamed themselves for my attempt. It was never their fault, it was the bullies. My mother contacted the school on several occasions, and the school did absolutely nothing about the situations. They put it off consistently as if I was not as important as other students. I feel like it took my suicide incident to show them that I was there and to really pay attention to bullying in my old school. I now attend a different school in a totally different district. I am now doing several things to help raise awareness about bullying and suicide. I have made videos sharing my story and also sharing awareness of suicide prevention. I made a website danceforadifference.webs.com and started an organization Dance For A Difference that helps children’s teens and young adults who are feeling suicidal or have been bullied. I’m beginning to plan a walk spring of 2013 at the moment a date has not been set, but definitely a Saturday in March or April weather permitting. I’m trying to raise awareness about bullying and suicide prevention because I believe god kept me here today because he has great for me, plans of me helping other people who have gone through things that I have also dealt with. I believe that we as a nation have the ability to make a change in our schools by making our schools address every single case and or complaint about students being bullied, and harassed, and making a school take immediate action. Having severe consequences, not just lunch detention will also help. School’s need to take bullying very seriously, not just ignore the situation until a student does an serious action and gets recognized.

I decided to incorporate dance into my decision to stand up and speak out for the victims who can’t do it themselves. The video below is me, feel free to watch comment like or share. Thanks!

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Nathalie’s Story (Part 1)

June 19th, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Your Voices - (2 Comments)

Nathalie is the AMAZING woman behind the Twitter account @BKindToOthers. Over the past few months, we’ve exchanged a number of emails and through these interactions, I have gained so much respect and admiration for what she has gone through as a child and the outstanding work she is now involved in. In regards to this post and Nathalie’s story, I was to note that Nathalie has sent me SUCH great information on her background and what she is up to these days. I know it can be hard to read super long posts, so I thought it might be a good idea to divide Nathalie’s story into parts. So, this is Part 1. Please read, share, and let her know if you’ve been through similar adversities. Feel free to contact her on Twitter or leave her a comment in the Comment’s section below.

My name is Nathalie, I am 22 years old, I live in Brazil, and I am one of the founders of a group against bullying called “Give your hand”(‘Dê a sua mão’ in Portuguese). This group was created 2 years ago by ME, my best friend Anna(An), my boyfriend Michael, and Michael’s aunt Elisa(Lis), who is a psychiatrist and the one who make this group real.

I’ve always been a tomboy. I love to skate and play basketball, and structurally, I’m think I’m pretty big. When I was in the sixth grade, I had to change schools and because of the move, I lost all my friends. I went through a really tough time and as a result, suffered immensely. On my third day in the new school I was in a gym class that I loved. I saw these girls jumping rope and I went to them and ask if I could play too. One of the girls said, “Of course you can!” So, I started jumping and the same girl who was holding the rope made it so I purposely fell straight to the floor. They started laughing and the girl screamed, “The whale fell!” I didn’t really get the joke because she had been the first person in my life to allude to the fact that I was fat. Instead of taking it as a personal attack against my weight, I was mad about falling and started arguing with the girl. Well, arguing with that girl just made matters worse because for weeks after, the girl and her friends followed me. Other people in school were also afraid of these mean girls, so they didn’t want to be my friend. As the new girl, I had no friends. The girls beat me up and called me fat, and one time, even tried to push me down the stairs. I had almost fallen down, but instead a girl named Ann caught me. That was the day I met my best friend. Ann understood what I was going through because she had been bullied and tormented by tons of kids at school for being openly gay. Even though we were picked on for different things, we were able to stick together.

For me, the worst part of the bullying was the humiliation. One time, when the teacher called my name, the mean girl screamed “FAT” and everyone laughed. The teacher didn’t do anything. Another time, they dried their hands on my shirt in front of everybody and nobody said or did anything. I became very depressed. I stopped playing basketball and instead just stayed at home and watched TV. At the time, my parents were also going through a very difficult time, so after working all day and coming home tired, they never realized how depressed I actually was. This dark period went on for about two years.

A few years later at a family reunion, many people made a point to comment on the weight I gained. I heard them saying to my mom that I was fat and that she needed to do something about it. My mom just ignored because I wasn’t overweight, I had just gained some weight. However, listening to my own family say I looked fat was the end for me. At that moment, I decided that I would be thin, whatever the cost, I would be thin and nobody would ever call me fat again.

This was when my life fell apart once for all. I barely ate anything at all. I drank plenty of water, but didn’t eat. The pain of hunger was unbearable, but the starvation didn’t hurt so much. I slept a lot to not feel the hunger and by doing this, I was able to continue to lose weight. I also excessively exercised whenever I was awake, which was very difficult because how weak I was due to malnutrition and starvation. One day, I went to a birthday party and because I had been starving myself, I got to the party and ate a large amount. I was so ashamed at myself that as soon as I got home, I threw up everything. Still not satisfied, I went to the pharmacy and bought a box of laxatives, took as many as I could, and spent the remainder of the day doing continuous exercises. No matter how much I did to try to make myself feel less guilty, I still hated myself. As time went on and I continued those behaviors, I grew more frustrated with myself to the point that I started cutting. By cutting myself, I felt like I was in the moment and it made me forget, for a split second, how much emotional pain I was feeling from being depressed, isolating myself, starving myself, and feeling guilty. I guess cutting made me aware that my cut hurt and the hunger didn’t anymore.

Unfortunately, this grew into another bad habit I was using to try and make myself feel better. So, when the pain of hungry was terrible I cut a part of my body or hurt myself somehow. I know it sounds awful, but all I could hear were those girls and my family, calling me fat and everybody else making fun of me. I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself and how harmful I was being because in my head, I needed be thin so that nobody else would laugh at me again.

From the time I was thirteen until I was sixteen, this was basically my life. I spent my time feeling depressed, isolating myself, starving, and self-harming. Sometimes I would only eat something so I wouldn’t collapse. I weighed two times less what I should have for my height. Sometime during my sixteenth year, I was walking down the stairs of my school when out of nowhere, my leg broke. I hadn’t fallen, I just simply stepped and broke my leg. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with an eating disorder and after a number of tests, found out I was also about to have massive organ failure, not to mention, I had completely destroyed my bones from not feeding myself properly. My parents, of course, came to the hospital and they didn’t know what to do since they hadn’t really realized what was going on. My best friend Ann was really the only one who really knew and the more she expressed concern, the more I got mad at her and pushed her away. Because Ann didn’t want to lose me as a friend, she stopped pressuring me about it. When I was in the hospital, Ann visited and it was at this moment when my mindset started to change. Ann came in and sat beside me. She grabbed my shoulders, looked at me in the eyes and said, “This has to stop here and now. You’re a beautiful girl that is killing yourself because of some idiots that don’t even love themselves. You have a whole life to live and you will not please everyone, and you do not need to.  What you need to do is survive, to be somebody in life, to ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ (is a Gandhi phrase that we love), you are the way you are and you must accept it, regardless of whether other people like it or now. You have a second chance now and it’s your choice, you can live or you can die the choice is yours”. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this. So after a VERY long process, I started going through recovery. I began seeing a therapist and nutritionists and read a ton of books. One that was particularly helpful was Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. Now, six years later, I know that I’m still in the healing process and I still need to take care of myself. Sometimes though, if I’m being honest, I still find myself restricting and depriving myself from something that is very caloric – I’ll just eat something that is lower in calories instead. I still care about my weight, but I try to take care of myself and be a healthy weight. This goal has become one that is very important to me. I can proudly say that I have managed to stay healthy enough to donate blood and bone marrow without any problems – two things that are very important to me.

So that’s my experience with bullying, eating disorders, and self-harm…

For the people who are reading this, please, if you know someone with an eating disorder or know of someone going through a really tough time, please try your best to get them help. While it can be hard to convince someone that they need help, what people with eating disorders don’t always realize is that they’re slowly killing themselves. When you have an eating disorder, you’re kind of blind to everything else going on in the world. The hunger, the manipulation, and the lifestyle truly consume you. For those of you who might have an eating disorder, please don’t ignore it. Please get help. I know that you want to be thin and I know that you think you’ll get fat, but honestly, I can tell you that this disorder is not worth your health or your life. Get help.

Going back to how my story began, we really need to stop bullying. I’ve seen first hand what bullying can do to people and how much words CAN and DO hurt. Just give your words some thought first before you try to be funny or witty or make other people laugh on behalf of someone else.

Thank you everyone for the attention and time to read this and especially, thank you to Jessica for giving me the opportunity to talk about my life!

Sincerely, Nathalie

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Today’s post is written by Megan, a 13 year old girl from Oklahoma. She helps run a Twitter account, @Help4Teenagers. Megan was kind enough to share a story with us about a time she decided to speak up for one of the best friends who was being bullied. Instead of being a bystander who witnessed the harassment and didn’t say anything, she decided to speak up and talk to a guidance counselor at school. While the decision to talk to an adult wasn’t necessarily an easy one (one of Megan’s other close friends’ boyfriend was the one doing the bullying), she decided to go with her gut and take a stand against something she knew was wrong. Read Megan’s story below! :)

Hi — My name is Megan. I’m 13 and from Oklahoma.

I’ve never personally been bullied very much and it doesn’t matter to me as much as my friend’s story does.  He’s a boy, and you know how they often are about ‘you have to be sporty’ and dress this way and act this way, but for my friend, it was completely different.  He talks different, not because he’s from another country or anything, but it’s just how he talks.  Some boys and yes, even girls say that he sounds “Like a girl on their period”.  It broke my heart to see that the awful way these people were treating him. My friend is on the heavier side and they make fun of him for that as well. His hair is naturually dirty-blonde, but he bleached it blonde in the front and it’s longer there.  A lot of boys will come up to him and say “Why don’t you just keep it one color you fag?” and all he does is walk away. A lot of people call him gay for the way he walks, talks, and dresses but what is the point? At one time he told me “Sometimes I don’t feel safe in my own home because I’m attacked. I want to die..” It broke my heart.

On day, our school counselor came to talk to us about how to help out a friend if they are suicidal. He showed us a video of survivors who have tried to harm themselves and showed families of children who have killed themselves. He warned us that if your friends are being bullied and are telling you, “I rather die than go to school today” or “I want to die at times” that we needed to tell someone right away. Well, I started to freak out because everything I saw in the video was what my friend was acting like. I mentally broke down in class and was asked to leave. The counselor took  me down to his office and told me to spill out.

Our counselor has now been talking to my friend for 3 months for me and because another friend reported to our principal that my friend was being bullied. Our counselor sat me down and told me that the way I feel about it is normal and that my friend  is in pain because of the way people bully him. He asked us both to come down to his office during our elective classes and I brought along our other friend, who is also bullied and very much involved in my friend’s situation as well, we talked it out and things got better.

You see telling someone and talking to someone brings light into your life very quickly. My friend has been a fighter and has been dealing with this since he was in Kindergarten and yes, I’ve been with him every step of the way. If you see someone being bullied I advise you to tell someone even at the risk of them disliking you. When I had to report his bullying, I lost my best friend because her boyfriend was the main person bullying him. It hurt, I’ll admit, but at times I look back and say “I saved his life. He would have killed himself without this kind of help”, and I’ll be the first to tell you it didn’t just change his life, it changed mine. Whenever I see someone being picked on I walk right over to the bully and set them straight. I “kill them with kindness”. I take the victim in my group of friends and make them know I’m here and they have someone to rely on. Bullying is SERIOUS and it needs to stop. But we need everyone’s help. If anyone sees bullying happening you must report it not for your sake but for your teachers sake,your principals, and the victims. It makes their job and the victims life so much better. Believe me.

If one of your friends is being picked on, please do what Megan did and tell an adult. Sometimes it can be really hard for people to seek out help for themselves. They might be embarrassed or think that the problem will just go away if they ignore it. Be a friend and get help! School guidance counselors, teachers you trust, and your parents are all great people to talk to, and if they don’t do anything about it, go to the next adult! Thanks again for sharing this story, Megan!!

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The Butterfly Project

March 1st, 2012 | Posted by Jessica in Thoughts | Your Voices - (3 Comments)

Hi, everyone! I’d like to introduce Crystal, a 16 year old girl from Virginia. Crystal is the founder of Butterfly Project, which aims to help teens who are suffering from self harm. In the post below, Crystal will explain why she began Butterfly Project, but in short, she encourages people who cut to draw butterflies on their wrists instead. I think it’s really cool that Crystal is doing her part and using her time to help people suffering from self harm. You can follow Crystal on Twitter here @Buttefproject and/or visit her website, Butterfly Project! Thanks so much for doing all that you do, Crystal!

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I’m the founder for Butterfly Project. Butterfly Project is a non profit organization that provides help for teens who are suffering self injury. I have been bullied. And I’m still getting bullied today. Bullying is NEVER okay. I hope that one day Butterfly Project will be successful and create a treatment center not just for teens, but for children and adults. Everyone goes through hard times. But self injury just makes it worse! Who inspired me to start Butterfly Project? Demi Lovato! 2 years ago, I heard that she went into a treatment center. I was shocked! She is a STRONG woman. I believe that EVERYONE should be friends and get along. No one should cut themselves. EVERYONE should stay strong.

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