You are not enough; you are more than enough. People can always try to tear you down. But they only succeed if you put the power in their hands. My name is Mackenzie Gavel, and I am currently studying Journalism and Psychology at New York University. I’ve been through it all. I’ve been bullied by peers, by teachers, by random people on the streets, and there is only one thing that all of these people had in common—none of them ever knew the real me. I had to learn the hard way that no one can ever take away your integrity, your dignity, your right to be the beautiful person that you are, unless you let them. And now, I’m here to hopefully help others who are in need of that same inspiration that I searched for when I was a young girl struggling to find my sense of self.
Just yesterday, CBS News in Philadelphia reported the tragic story of a thirteen-year-old boy who had spent nine hours locked in a stairwell in his middle school, scared and screaming for help. Unable to contact his family, David was prisoner in a place in which most children should see as a place of sanction. But the idea of attending school is, unfortunately, for a lot of children, anything but comforting these days. David later told his mother that he hid in the stairwell to try to escape bullies. Even worse, David’s mother alleged that the janitors never even bothered to look for her son and the school district had yet to call and ask if her boy was all right after the traumatic ordeal.
When a thirteen-year-old child, who is presumably attending school to learn and grow as an individual, has to walk through the halls in fear of acceptance and kindness from his peers, then we have a problem. And when an academic setting becomes most akin to a prison, then we are in need of a solution. Teachers need to better reach out to these kids; principals need to do more than host anti-bullying campaigns in the auditorium twice a year. And to all those out there who are being bullied and feel ashamed, you need to remember that you are beautiful and you are strong and you are more than enough. You may not mean a lot to some bully, but you mean a lot to your family and to your true friends and to me. I’m here to help, and I think you’re inspirational.