Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Dear Charlotte age 6 #antibullyingweek

Dear Charlotte

Or.... me.
Hi. You don't know me, well not yet anyway, I'm you.... But in the future. I'll get over the boring bits first. you don't become a ballerina (sorry), nor does there become a way for Barbies wardrobe to magically grow human size....Oh, a quick warning whatever you do DONT let mum throw your barbies away, especially the Disney ones as they're worth a fortune on something called eBay....
The reason I'm writing this is I kind of have some bad news but I want to tell you that it's not your fault.  First of all, I want to give you a hug because I know that there's some stuff going on in your head that you don't really understand, but that's OK. It's OK to cry and it's OK to talk, to be the person you are. You don't deserve to cry, you don't deserve to be sad, but you are, I can't change that and I want to say it's OK to be open about what's going on. But you know what's not OK? It's not OK for people to be mean is it! No, and I know you've noticed that the other kids aren't very nice to you. They call you names don't they, say things about the way you look and the way that you do things. They're not very nice and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
I know you look in the mirror and think you're ugly, you're not even sure what it means.
I want to tell you it gets better. That's why I'm sorry because this is as innocent as it gets. I can't tell you it gets better. But I can tell you without any uncertainty that it is NOT YOUR FAULT.You've done nothing wrong and you deserve not a single word or poisonous arrow they throw at you. It may get harder as you get older and I can't stop that sadly. But I need you to remember that nothing is your fault, the only thing you need to change is you don't need to accept it and hard as it may be it is always better to be on your own than put up with being bullied. That's what it's called, that's what these people are, bullies. You'll experience them in all places, not just school, not just children, there are grown ups too. It doesn't matter who someone is, remember, if someone is making you feel bad about yourself DONT put up with it. If someone is being cruel, whoever they are, tell someone. If someone is doing something or behaving in a way that is not right, tell someone, speak up about it.
In your brain, as in my grown up brain too (parts of our brain don't evolve much we both still like ketchup far too much, have a fondness for Ariel and would rather eat worms than fish) we often doubt our  abilities to trust our own instincts about what is and isn't right about the way people are treating us and more often than not that ends up getting us hurt. If we even have to think about whether or not something is or isn't right, chances are it isn't.
I want to wrap you up in a cloud so you don't have to spend the next 24 years fighting, you have some happy times yes, but I know as you do there's a sadness in you before you've even begun the fight. And you don't actually see the point in fighting back, when you see more than anyone why the bullies hate you because you don't like you either.

I have a niece the same age as you and I'm not going to lie it terrifies me that she might go through the same things, I tell her she's beautiful and smart and funny (as it's true) as often as I can... yet I've written a whole letter to you Charlotte of 24 years ago who looks in the mirror and cries, who doesn't like what she sees and I've yet to say anything to compliment you, to reassure that what the bullies say is wrong. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've gotten rid of all the photos of you I'm trying so hard right now to write that you didn't actually deserve any of what happened to you that what people said wasn't true, that you are just a child, you didn't do anything wrong and it was the people who made you feel like it was you, your face, the way you were that was wrong. I just don't see how the whole world can be wrong. I know you are thinking it too because hey we both have the same brain, if everyone says we're ugly it must be true.... But you're just a child. you deserve happy. I may not be able to say the words I want to say, but I can say that.
PS oh, one last word of advice for you. You know how much you love Shrieky from the Carebears and her cool purple hair and how you always wish you could have hair like that?....Well trust me when I say be careful what you wish for.

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