It is time that we become comfortable with talking about uncomfortable situations, if we truly want to see the world change... We fail to see that it is very easy to condemn everything that is iniquitous in this world from a third person's point of view; but when we are the ones it happens to, and we either hide further behind our mask of denial of true selves, or we become more compassionate so to make sure the problem doesn't repeat itself- at least most truly strong people do.
It is normal to be vulnerable. I've had those moments too. Yes, I am still mocked by my family members when I gain weight and frowned upon when I wear shorts or deep-neck tops. I have lost an online English-teaching job just because I am not 'American' by nationality, even though I have an American degree with the added 20-year knowledge of European English. I have sucked up to the 'cool' people and drank alcohol and partied even when I didn't want to, just so I could fit in. I have stayed in a relationship long after I had been cheated on. Infected by depression, I've been in a mental health hospital for about a week.
I am not sharing my most vulnerable moments with you to gain sympathy since I am continuously working through my issues with the best support system that I have been blessed with; but instead, my point is for you to notice and evaluate the importance of speaking up. When you open up, you realize that you are not alone. Not only are there people who are going through the same experiences all across the world, but also those who are compassionate enough to care about you and help you grow out of pain. If you haven't been a victim of bullying, or have zero baggage suppressed in your chest, maybe you know people you could reach out to after reading this.
To begin with, there aren't just two major categories namely the bullies and the bullied. There is also a third, the minority of the minority, the people LGBTQ community calls 'allies', or sometimes even the ones bullied themselves who choose not to be outcasts on their own terms – the rebels. The rebels are those compassionate individuals who stand up for the minorities whether or not they identify as them. There are very few of those, and more of those are exactly what this world needs.
I have grown up in three countries, all where the gatekeepers of education are the few privileged with the power to do so. So the perspectives of minorities or the underprivileged are missing from the textbooks that the whole world is taught. As a result, the education system molds us into humans where the privileged and the minority groups (stress on minority groups) look up to/serve other privileged people and undermine the minority groups, thus creating a vicious cycle where the truth gets lost. The truth is heart-rending that rich people oftentimes only like to maintain social circles that are rich; dark-skinned people oftentimes subconsciously suck up to try to fit in with the light-skinned; and women settle for lower salaries than they deserve, just because brand name will make up for the exploitation (yes, that's what I call it).
Why does it always have to be a mold painted so ruthlessly by the society that we have to sacrifice our unique individuality to fit in, the society that we oftentimes call "mother," "father," "brother," "sister" and "best friend"? Why do girls feel ugly when they are above a size two and guys don't? We feel embarrassed to tell someone that we do not feel like the gender that we have been assigned? Why does a guy have to start lifting after his teenage years only so he could grow taller (than women)? Why at all?
I am not being a liberal here, I am simply being a human. From what I've seen, humans heal with love and compassion, that is why they turn to family, faith, and religion. If the biggest thing missing in this world is compassion, then how can we move toward healing ourselves? Our masks can and will never suffice for the wounds that our heart carries, those that upon denial, exemplify into guilt, fear, reclusiveness, depression, and hatred. The only way we can truly move from gasping for air to actually breathing is by facing the truth. Truth is scary, and people when told, wouldn't ever truly perceive what it is like to be in your shoes, but it is the most vital step to self-compassion.
Once you are done denying your true self, you are liberated from societal bounds, to truly be yourself and find those who accept and empower you for who you are. The hard part is, that there might be those people you'd never have expected, unlike those who you have known for years, including family. Once you find your tribe, you are able to glow not in spite of, but because of your imperfections. You will be rid of your mask and able to empower others in the same situations as you, to come out of their storms. All you have to do to begin is get comfortable in your own storm because when the clouds clear out, your rainbow will shine.