Find Your Voice! #RedDotSafeSpot

Bully vs. Bullee

Sure they sound the same, but they are vastly different.  One does the hurting physically and/or mentally, the other is hurt.  One does the teasing, pushing, shoving, the other is teased, pushed, and shoved.  Alright, so "Bullee" isn't really a word, but is there actually a word for the one suffering?  I remember being in highschool, barely 16 and having just "come out" to a few of my friends.  It was such a scary, yet liberating moment for me.  It wasn't until I was in a relationship (with my then girlfriend/now wife) that things got complicated for me.  Coming from a Catholic family, attending a Catholic highschool, and being gay weren't three things that necessarily went together.  I definitely learned that the hard way after one of my so-called friends outed us to practically the entire school.  Being gay didn't change who I was as a person, but to some it changed who they became towards me.  The names we were called, the out-casting from certain school events, and even during a religious retreat!  Let's just say that the last 2 years of highschool weren't exactly pleasant, to say the least!  The only thing I'm thankful for is that all of this took place long before the internet was a "thing".  It was hard enough being bullied at school, I couldn't imagine it following me home, like it does with kids today.  Skipping ahead a few years, shortly after our wedding, we decided it was time to grow our family. Let me tell you, making this decision was very tough for us as we had to factor in how having 2 moms might affect our unborn child.  We thought long and hard, and in the end decided that there was nothing wrong with having 2 loving parents (regardless of gender) who would do anything and everything to ensure their child's happiness.

From Left to Right: Niamh, Lyle, Mikaela, and Sara.
Fast forward again to present day and you'll see that we have a been blessed with a beautiful, healthy, happy, divalicious princess.  (Here she is featured with some of the cast members from Degrassi.  She's a natural, don't you think?)

She is the best decision we've ever made, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Believe it or not, contrary to our belief, it isn't her classmates that have an issue with her having 2 moms, it's their parents.  I strongly believe that a child's understanding of the world truly is a product of their environment.  We have brought up our daughter to appreciate differences, not to discriminate against them.  If these parents had only done the same, maybe we would live in a different world where there is less violence, less hate, and more love.  I sometimes wonder what that world would look like.

While we were at the event, my daughter told me that a kid in her class was always bugging her at recess and always pushing her.  I asked her what she did, and she boldly told me and the other moms that were there "You know, after a few days of this always happening, I found my voice!  I told her that I wanted her to stop bugging me and asked her to ask herself how she would feel if someone was doing that to her!"  That was amazing to hear; my little girl stood up for herself.  She then continued to tell us that the girl has since stopped bugging her, and that she was glad that she found her voice.  Those words have stuck with me ever since: "Find Your Voice".   It's amazing how important it is to just stand up for yourself and speak your mind, let the bully know that what they're doing/saying is upsetting you.  A life lesson learned from an 8 year old!  I wish I had her level of courage when I was in highschool.

A huge thanks goes out to RioCan and their great anti-bullying campaign.  Together with the help of the cast of Degrassi and Leave Out Violence (LOVE), they are helping to create a safer environment for their shoppers, guests, and staff.  I wish more corporations would join them and take on this amazing initiative.  Sometimes it's the awareness of the issue that is lacking.

Some fellow bloggers, my little princess, and I with the cast members of Degrassi.
Such a pleasure meeting these amazing young talents.