So being that I haven’t had cable or basic TV channels for about 17, almost 18 years, I had never heard of MTV’s Made, a show which takes people who have a dream, supplies them with a ” made coach”, and helps them achieve their dream.
In an episode that aired on Monday night, 16-year old Julia aspires to become a metal singer in an effort to attain a sense of self-confidence that has been destroyed by constant bullying, both in school and on the Internet. Her coach was The Agonist‘s vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, and cameos from Iwrestledabearonce and Winds Of Plague can also be seen. You can watch the entire episode below as well as read a response from myself.
I’m 27 years old. Until I was about 16, I was bullied constantly. I was harassed in school, threatened, hated, reviled, outcast, you name it, I was on the receiving end of a constant barrage of hateful, spiteful speech. I was told I was ugly, that I was stupid, that I was a faggot, that I was worthless, etc, etc, etc… Thankfully all this happened before the Internet was huge, because I’m sure I would’ve been cyber bullied endlessly as well.
Here comes full admission time: I used to cut. I used to contemplate suicide. I used to hate myself. And in many ways, I still do.
You see, with so many years of abuse and mistreatment, I got out of it a broken individual. I was left with no self confidence and an ungodly amount of pent up rage and anger. To this day, I am told by several people that I’m not that bad looking of a fella. I don’t trust them. I can’t trust them. It’s not because of some sort of skepticism, it’s because I literally can’t bring myself to believe that what they are saying is actually true. You see, after so many years of bullying it has been engrained in me to my very core that I am not attractive and that I will not amount to anything.
Can I look at myself in the mirror and realize how cool I actually do have it? Of course. Hell, I get to write for the Internet’s #1 site for horror. I get to interview bands that I admire and love, bands that are considered legends. I get albums in advance because people want to hear my opinion. I also have connections in the local community that come to me for advice when it comes to social media, networking, and marketing. When I look at it all, I’ve done some amazing things. But that never stops me from wanting to achieve more, to aim ever higher. Why? Because it’s to prove to myself that I am worth it. But convincing myself is a more difficult matter.
Yes, I have gotten better. Yes, I’m a happy person in general. But now and again, tendrils of doubt worm their way inside of me and it’s hard, so fucking hard, to shake them.
To this day, it amazes me how much the words of a bunch of horrible, evil children could affect me so deeply. I try very hard to understand that it was elementary, middle, and part of high school. Those years mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
But the truth of the matter is that they do. These are the times when we really begin to discover who we are. And bullies always seem to find those perfect buttons to push to bring you to the lowest possible place.
I watched this episode and I watched Julia and my heart went out to her. It went out to a girl who is obviously someone so caring and loving yet is made to feel like she is a total outsider. And for what reason? I couldn’t see anything about this girl that people would fell the need to hate.
I saw Julia take inspiration from metal, a genre that is already reviled and ostracized by popular culture, and pursue it to the fullest. For her to stand up on that stage and scream her heart out, with surprisingly insightful and deep lyrics, especially in front of everyone who had only a week ago scorned her, that takes immeasurable amounts of bravery.
It is the Julia’s of the world that we should all aspire to be. Those who have the courage to face their demons and come out on top.
And so now I turn to you, the readers. If you are a bully, it is never too late to change how you are to people. Think of what you say and the impact that it could have. What pleasure does it actually bring you? What satisfaction does it leave you with? Is it really worth it in the end?
To those of you who coast by, neither bullied but also not bullying, protect those that are being treated poorly. For them to have someone, anyone, who stands up for them is such an amazing feeling that I don’t think you can know how powerful it is until you actually feel it.
And to those of you who are bullied, stay strong. Forget what they tell that you are doing wrong and focus on everything you are doing right. Be a Julia. Be someone who strives to come out on top. You are worth it.