Unapologetically Me

Bullied Boy’s Video Goes Viral, Controversy Begins – Let’s Keep the Issue of Bullying At Hand Though

I saw the video being shared yesterday with a 9-year-old boy (Quaden Bayles), who has a form of dwarfism, hysterically upset because he is tired of getting bullied. I knew before watching it that I would regret doing so. You can hear the kid audibly say he wanted to die and that he wishes someone would just kill him.

Comedian Brad Williams, who also has a form dwarfism, took charge in setting up a gofundme for him as a way to show him the world isn’t all bad. The goal behind the page is to raise money for a trip to Disneyland. After going viral, other celebrities like Hugh Jackman have shown their support to uplift the boy who was mentally and emotionally broken.

Within 24 hours of going completely viral, we already have a controversy about whether or not it is true thanks to Twitter. People are speculating he isn’t 9. They are posting questionable pictures of him. They are saying he is an actor. They are using all these things to call it a hoax.

There is a lot of misinformation being shared so as always do some research for yourself before believing whatever it is you read. Don’t be a fucking idiot and feed into the cycle of stupidity that is the internet. You continue to be part of the problem of misinformation.

One of those rumors is that he is 18, however, baby pictures from 2012 indicate otherwise along with other evidence to suggest he is in fact 9. In 2015, the family was featured on mainstream news in Australia after his mother posted a video of him in front of a mirror when he was 3. The mom has been advocating for anti-bullying for years because the video had comments making fun of her son.

That being said, do I agree with her filming a video of her crying son? Not really. But that is her choice as a parent. I don’t agree with plenty of things other parents do. It did show a very real side to the effects of bullying.

As for the questionable pictures and videos such as him flicking off a camera, holding a handgun and having a video holding money.

I posted a picture of 9-year-old me a couple of weeks ago with my hands on my ass doing the Ace Ventura butt talk. I have pictures of me flicking off the camera pissed off because I thought I was cool at 9.

As for the handgun, was it a real gun? There are toys that look like real guns. If it was, it doesn’t mean the child isn’t bullied. It means he is playing with something he shouldn’t be.

As for the money, it is no secret that this family is doing fairly well given their supposed influence in the mainstream. Again, maybe it is questionable parenting decisions at best.

But, does it mean it is a hoax and this kid was not bullied? Not necessarily.

As for the acting, just because he is supposedly an actor, that doesn’t mean he is a good one. That also doesn’t mean he is not being bullied.

Unfortunately, it does suck that everything has to be questioned. But at the same time, we have seen bait and switch like this before with bullying of kids. As more comes out, we will know truth from lies. My point is if you’re going to try and poke holes, be better at it. Don’t make it easy to counter the argument. For the love of all that is holy, don’t fucking post about it before you can 100% back up your claims.

Not only are you breaching morality, you look like a total asshole.

For the people jumping on the first sign of doubt and screaming “I told you so” or anything to rub it in people’s faces that they have been misled in any way, I hope you are wrong so I can point and laugh back at you. If there is one thing I enjoy, it is giving people a taste of their own medicine. Ironically enough, I am always for bullies getting bullied since that is the talking point here.

Literally one tweet of skepticism was all it took for a counter argument to go viral. (Insert eyeroll)

For the sake of the column, let’s assume those emotions were real and everything checks out. Until people come up with some arguments or logic that is free from flaws and holes, I’ll assume it is true.

All I wanted to do was give that kid a hug. Seeing people hurt is bad enough. Seeing a child hurting to that capacity is infuriating. All I could think about were my own children and what I would do to someone who hurt my child in that way.

First, we have to establish what constitutes as bullying. Where is the line drawn? Kids are going to haze one another. Some can take it. Some can’t. Some are malicious. Some do it to protect themselves. Some do it as a joke. Some kids can bring it on themselves by acting like little shits. It can be such a slippery slope in all honesty. Much like everything else, shades of gray can surround it.

On one hand, maybe one child perceives it as bullying while another doesn’t.

For those who say we need to eliminate bullying completely, we don’t live in a utopia. It will never be eliminated, much like racism, war or crime. We have to go beyond that idea and know that there will always be cracks and no rule is foolproof.

Me saying that doesn’t mean I think bullying should be acceptable…because it is not. We should absolutely condemn it when we see it happening. We should try to stop it when we can.

I guess for me if I am going to sit here and define it, stop when someone tells you to stop. Respect others. Unless of course someone is being a dick to someone else, than all bets off.

You never know what someone is going through emotionally. All it takes is one wrong move or word to set them in a downward spiral. For us as adults, we shouldn’t minimize the impact words and actions have on young children or teens.

Maybe their problems don’t seem as big to us because we have been through those issues. That doesn’t give us a pass to minimize the issues they go through.

Growing up is a constant struggle of who you are and where you fit in. I was never mister popular, despite wishing I was. I was average at sports. I was an average student. I tried to be a class clown at times, but I was never really that either.

As a kid, I never really understood my place. I was always middle of the pack. I had my friends and I had people I didn’t fuck with. Sometimes those people would pick on me. It was never an everyday thing, but I am sure it would have taken a toll on me if it was. I was very insecure growing up.

I eventually figured it out as I got older. I started caring a little less each year in high school about people’s perception of me. I eventually reached a point sometime in college where I just didn’t give a shit about it at all. That is where I am now. If you like me, great. If not, that’s cool too.

That doesn’t mean that same standard should apply to everyone.

Some people never reach that point. That is not to say I don’t worry or have depressing moments or thoughts. But they are so few and far between. That is unfair to ask that of a child. But ultimately, that is when bullying stops.

I was talking with someone about it earlier today. If you are comfortable with who you are, it becomes much tougher for people to get under your skin. One of my favorite quotes about this is from Game of Thrones. Tyrion tells Jon…

“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”

The ironic part is those words came from someone who has a dwarfism condition, actor Peter Dinklage.

As I said, reaching that apex of self worth is sometimes a long journey. Most kids aren’t even close to there. If one has reached that apex, I certainly have never met them. They are fragile beings. Once the criticism or malice comes pouring in, it hurts.

The reality is for a lot of children is they are going to find themselves on one side of the line. They are either going to be bullied, bully or maybe they sit quietly and do nothing.

If they are passive, they’re not necessarily helping. I am not going to condemn those kids because it takes courage to stand up for someone. But the reality is, standing by isn’t ever going to prevent it.

The reason I say most kids will find themselves picking a side somewhere along the way is because kids can be assholes. I saw it growing up. I have been on both sides of that line. I have bullied people and I have been bullied.

The first memory I have of bullying was in 4th grade. There was a guy I picked on and I honestly don’t remember why. He was on the chunky side so it could have been because of that or because many in the class thought he was odd or maybe a little bit of both. Either way, I picked on him.

One day we were getting dressed for PE in the bathroom. I made fun of him for wearing tighty-whities because boxers were the cool thing I guess. He was off in the corner and I had approached him as I was making fun of him. Feeling cornered, he punched me in the mouth busting my lip. Rightfully so, I deserved it. I pushed him up against the wall and he hit his head giving him a knot. We both get sent to the office because the PE Coach heard the commotion in the bathroom.

We see the principal. I admitted to being a dickhead to him and starting the altercation. We wound up not getting anything but a slap on the wrist. I ended being friends with him after the fact and we were cool for the rest of the year.

Another case of being on the wrong side of the line was in middle school. He was picked on by a lot of the people in the class. I contributed to that. Going back to the notion that I didn’t know my place, me messing with him was a testament to that. For the record, this isn’t excusing my actions or behavior. No matter how you paint the picture, it is still a dick move on my part.

I used to go out of my way to mess with him in class for a number of reasons. He actually rode the same bus with me one year. We were always two of the last ones to get dropped off. I used to talk to him all the time on the bus. He had told me one day he didn’t view me as someone who messed with him when he was talking about the people he hated. I thought to myself “wow” because I was sent to the office for a comment I made in class just a year prior to that conversation.

He wound up going to the same college I went to and we have always been cordial when we have seen each other in public.

I was that kid who would mess with people for the sake of being accepted hence the reason I was different when I wasn’t with other people. Either way, doesn’t make me any less of an asshole.

As far as getting bullied goes, I don’t have too many memories of specific situations. As I said, I flirted in the middle of the pack. But, I do have one story I remember vividly.

There was this guy in 7th grade who didn’t like me very much (that feeling was mutual) and used to make comments to me constantly. He used to be friends with one of my best friends at the time. I prank called him one weekend at that buddy’s house. He found out it was me. The following week he came up behind me at lunch and pushed me over a bench. I just started laughing about it. He told a bunch of people I cried so I dealt with the aftermath of that. He constantly tried to intimidate me in school. It never really worked.

All that being said, we live in such a different time now. Social media was just scratching the surface when I was entering middle school. Now, we are engulfed with it. That adds to the contributions of bullying. People can make things up online to add to it. It’s easier to share information because it is the new word of mouth. It’s also increasingly difficult for schools and parents to monitor what happens off campus.

I want to do my best to raise my kids right and stand up for those who are bullied or picked on. I hope they can be strong enough to make the right decisions when the right decision may not be the easiest one to make. Like most parents, I want them to be better than I was growing up.

Obviously in a perfect world, I would love them to not be bullied or be the one bullying. Like I said before, they will likely end up on one side of the line at some point.

One of the more morbid questions I like to ask people and discuss is whether you’d rather deal with your child being bullied or bullying someone.

If I am being honest, I would much rather the latter because at least I can confidently know that I can do something about it. I can’t control other people’s children and how they raise them. That scares the shit out of me.

But, I do have a say in how I raise my children. I know if I find out my child was bullying another kid, I would make them feel like absolute shit about it.

If roles were reversed and my child was bullied, I will start drop kicking kids. I figure I could take on about a dozen 9-year-olds.

Bullying sucks and I hope every kid out there who experiences it finds a way to fight through it and rise above it.





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