My Experience With Bullying and Carrisa's Story
“Will you marry me?” The 12 yr olds voice still rings loudly in my ears. It was one of the most popular boys from our entire class. I was maybe 90 lbs, scrawny and extremely awkward. My mom had purchased most of my clothing from a store called “house of bargains” and I definitely did not have “THE” Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt you needed to be cool in 6th grade. I still remember how nervous I felt as he had approached my table in home economics and interrupted my cake baking to ask me this question. Why was he even speaking to me? “What? Umm, no.” I responded, in a complete state of confusion. “Good, because your SO ugly and I would NEVER marry you” he said as he ran back to rejoin the other cool kids at his table who were all giggling.
It’s true I had a few awkward years in middle school. I had to field a few other comments similar to this one but overall I count myself lucky. Aside from a handful of mean comments I was never badly bullied. I had a few close and supportive friends, a strong faith and a loving family to provide an ample buffer from the brief encounter’s I had with the “mean kids” at school. I quickly grew out of my awkward phase but never grew out of remember the feelings that resulted from being told I was insignificant and ugly. I am not sure we are meant to grow out of remember that feeling. I believe that when someone has been told, in one form or another, that they are ugly or worthless, usually one of two things happens. They own it, turn inward and allow it to speak into their identity or they reject it and become a voice for others who are struggling to battle those voices themselves. Sometimes it’s a mix of both.
I remember being 12 and looking at the popular kids, before I had any popularity of my own, thinking “they could use their power and influence to make people feel so valuable instead of feeling terrible. If I ever have any influence I want to use it to make people feel loved.” Fast forward twenty years and I am now a mother and therapist. I have spent years of my life working to help people identify the lies they believe about themselves and walk in freedom, believing they are deeply loved and valuable. I am so often saddened by the scars adults carry from the things that were spoken into their lives as kids and teenagers. As a mother I care deeply about the issue of bullying. It breaks my heart that my daughter could be the recipient of those comments one day, or worse, be the bully. I want to do everything in my power to help her see and call out the value in the people around her. I hope that every person that comes to her leaves her feeling loved and better about themselves. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and I knew I couldn’t let the month pass without speaking into this issue.
When I first watched Carissa’s story I couldn’t keep my eyes from filling with tears. Carissa is a beautiful little girl who has battled flare-up after flare-up of eczema. She was ruthlessly bullied at school for the appearance of her skin. When the interviewer asks this sweet little girl how she felt looking in the mirror she responds “It made me feel like I was a monster because monsters have really ugly skin and so did I, and so I thought I was a monster.” No little girl should ever be made to feel that way. The kids at her school would even start rumors that she was contagious and that everyone should stay away from her. Insecurity and feelings of worthlessness are rampant in the hearts and minds of young girls even without the kind of trauma this sweet little girl endured. It truly breaks my heart that Carissa had to face so much pain at such a young age.
I am so thankful for brands like Eau Thermale Avène who care deeply for kids in these situations. They see that the emotional pain can far surpass the physical discomfort of having a skin condition like eczema, and they respond with empathy and compassion. Carissa was able to go to the Avène Hydrotherapy Center in the South of France with her family to treat her eczema. The scenery there is beautiful as it is nestled in Haut-Languedoc Natural Park. It is the perfect location to pull away from the world for a bit and heal both physically and emotionally. She received hydrotherapy which is comprised of a number of types of treatment including underwater massage and thermal spring water compresses. After three cycles of treatment she is now able to manage her eczema flare ups at home with Eau Thermale Avène products designed specifically for these type of skin care needs.
If you or someone you know suffers from eczema you can not only help yourselfbut someone else just like Clarissa by teaming up with Eau Thermale Avène . This amazing company is giving 100% of the proceeds from this eczema care kit to www.kindcampaign.com. You can go to AveneUSA.com/HOPE to learn more.