To all of my Bullies, Thank You.

To all of my Bullies, Thank You.

Instead of becoming a victim to my past, I have become a survivor.
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When kids are young, they are vulnerable. They are immature. They are learning. They just don’t know. When I moved from a diverse school to a school of almost no minorities, I was in shock. The new environment was too different. I was the only one. I was different. As a young child, it was hard to adjust and all I wanted was to fit in. That was my goal – to be the same as everyone else. However, you can try your hardest, but there are just some things that cannot change.

I was bullied. My feelings were hurt with constant racial slurs, tantalizing chants, and offensive gestures. A person can try to ignore many things, but when negative insults are a part of one’s everyday life, it is hard. At first, I would laugh and act as if the “jokes” were funny. I played it off and hoped it would stop. As a young 12-year-old, my goal to be likeable was stronger than the urge to stand up for myself. So I just pushed through and hoped for the best. Eventually, the jokes got old and most people matured. They forgot and moved on, but I could not. I accepted what happened and somewhat moved on, however, the hurtful words and depressing moments will always be ingrained in my memories and me as a person.

Being a minority is not wrong. It is not inferior to other races. It is equal. It is wrong and disgusting to put someone down for how they look or what ethnicity they are. So to all of the people who laughed and joined in on the chants and slurs, you were the ones who helped me realize that I am strong. Instead of becoming a victim to my past, I have become a survivor who wants to be different and constantly tries to surround myself with people who accept me for who I am. My past has helped me realize that there will always be people out there who look down on certain races, looks, personalities, opinions, and the list goes on; however, there will always be people out there who accept those races, looks, personalities, and opinions. It is wrong to change yourself to try and fit into a puzzle that is not meant for you. In a way, I am glad I experienced those moments in my life because that changed me as a person.

Now, I like being different. It is something I embrace. It keeps my life exciting and fills it with loving people who brighten my days stressing over exams, essays, and food. When someone questions my silly, outgoing, or eccentric actions, I’m not worried because there will always be people who will join and laugh along with me. I believe the ones who take time and effort to put someone down are the ones who struggle. They struggle to accept themselves and embrace their own flaws and weaknesses. To feel better, they will discourage others to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. They do it because they are the ones attempting to be liked and funny, so they make racial jokes and insults for the short-lived laughs. I feel sorry for those who think it is acceptable to degrade others for their own happiness because they will never feel the same love and joy I feel with my sincere friends who laugh at my questionable, yet funny, stories. They will always be the ones to go through life, constantly struggling to accept their own selves.

To all of my bullies, thank you. Instead of being oppressed by those insults, jokes, and slurs, I have grown to be someone who is not afraid to be my beautiful, quirky self. I will live life without the worry of impressing others or trying to fit in. I will live life to be the happiest I can be.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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2019 Just Means That The 2020 Election Is Coming

I don't want things to be that way, people running for President make it that way.

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The 2020 election has begun with Senator Elizabeth Warren announcing that she has formed an exploratory committee to run for president.

Other likely candidates include Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Michael Bloomberg, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. And those are only the people eating at the adult's table, there are other Democrats that will probably throw their hats in the ring just for some publicity.

The last time a primary began to decide the opponent for an unpopular incumbent Republican president that had lost the popular vote in his first campaign was just 15 years ago, in 2004 when John Kerry became the nominee to challenge President George W. Bush.

Kerry may have lost the election, but he did have an easy primary. Kerry beat out his early challengers and went on to easily win almost all of the primary caucuses and elections.

I do not think that 2020 will be so easy and that is due in part to 2016. The 2016 primary may have eclipsed 2008 in terms of being one of the most consequential primaries in US history.

2016 showed the ideological split within the Democratic Party, with many New Democrats, socially liberal economically conservative centrists, holding most of the power within, while there's a strong grassroots force urging the party leftwards. Critics will claim Hillary Clinton lost because she was not left-wing enough. And Bernie Sanders's surprising success shows that anybody who wants to be the nominee has to appeal to the Sanders demographic.

This article is not really here to endorse any candidate, you can read my other articles to figure out who I'm voting for, it is however here to point out just how difficult it will be to win the nomination.

A candidate has to, according to the so-called experts: be left-leaning but also be a centrist, and be able to get minorities out to vote but also appeal to some Trump voters that they think they can win over by calling out the President's divisive tactics.

Trickle-down economics and massive deregulation always throws the economy into a recession, but the question now is when will that happen? If it happens during the 2020 election it's safe to say it's over for Trump, but if a Democrat has to challenge a Republican while the economy is doing great, it will be all the more difficult. The election will turn into a debate over so-called "social" issues (assuming Trump does not take us to war).

Issues that seem to be on most Americans' minds are healthcare and immigration. The healthcare debate will turn into a debate amongst Democrats over whether or not single-payer is possible and will likely be one of the most divisive issues of the primary. Immigration will be easy, every Democrat will go the safe route and boldly proclaim that putting children in cages and letting them die is not good. This will lead to Trump accusing them of being Antifa thugs.

The road to the White House is not meant to be easy. You need to fight hard to win the hearts of Americans, unless you are a Republican then you just need to win over rich Americans and let the electoral college do the rest of the work.

But seriously, we need to start the process of finding someone that will undo the years of horror unleashed by the Trump administration and also put the country in a new direction. Someone that will help the old and the young, and all workers. It's time for a leader that works for the American laborer, not the American entrepreneur, and above all, it is time for a new president.

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