My outward appearance shows that I am black. But on the inside I am many colors. This has caused me to be a victim of bullying from elementary school to my junior year of high school.

I was never outgoing or popular. I never had a lot of friends. Growing up I moved from place to place and never really had a permanent or childhood home. I found friends in the characters in books. I saw adventure in my video games and comics, and I saw a way to connect with the outside world through shopping and reality television. And since I loved the Japanese culture, lis- tened to different types of music and wore different types of cloth- ing, people saw this as an oppor- tunity to pick on me. Especially the “mean girls.”

Adults would always say,”It’s because they’re jealous of you.” But what did they have to be jeal- ous of? Yes, boys did hit on me. But they began to bully me when

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I had no interest in dating. And yes, teachers liked me because I always excelled in school plays and academics, but I was always one to take my grades seriously.

I was talked about, written about, physically assaulted and threatened many times. But I grew up. I focused on school. I got a job. I got an amazing boyfriend and two lifelong best friends. I feel sorry for the bullies and occasionally I wonder where they are now. I use their negative energies to thrive. I always say “You hate me now? Well, you are going to hate me later,” because I will be successful and continue to pursue my dreams and ambitions.

However, not all of us can be so lucky. There have been many cases of teens committing suicide because of bullying. Seventeen- year-old Eric Mohat was called names, pushed, shoved and as- saulted while in school.

One day a bully publicly told him in class “Why don’t you go home and shoot yourself. No one will miss you.” He did.

Eighteen-year-old Jessica Logan sent nude pictures of her- self to her boyfriend through text message. When they broke up, he sent those pictures to people in other schools. Girls were calling her names and tormenting her. She went home and hung herself in her bedroom.

And the most recent result of bullying was when Tyler Cle- menti, an 18-year-old freshman from Rutger’s University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly videotaped him having sexual intercourse with a man and uploaded the video online.

My heart goes out to all of these teens. And I support those who are victims of bullying now. In tragic outcomes like these, people look for someone to blame. Is it the parents, the bullies or the victims?

Stopbullyingnow.com noted that one incident of bullying happens every seven minutes and that adult intervention occurs 4 percent of the time and peer in tervention occurs 11 percent of the time. So what can we do to

stop it? What can we do to help young people feel as if life isn’t all about high school and your younger years? Life can start at college, after college, after marriage.

You can walk by someone and say, “I feel sorry for them.” You can even walk by someone and actually feel sorry for them. But unless you do something about it, you only play the role as the person who could have stopped a traumatic experience, a suicide, a murder or a massacre.

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