This post is written in partnership with Planet Fitness and their Judgement Free Generation® program. All stories and opinions are 100% my own.
As a kid, I experienced bullying. It wasn’t pleasant and I know it wasn’t to the extreme of what some kids have experienced but it was painful for me. This is a cause that I support because no kid should feel anything but the feelings of love and how amazing and unique they are.
Let me paint a picture for you. In 3rd grade, I experienced my first set of bullies. Notice how I said a set. It wasn’t just one person. It was a collection of them. They were 4th graders. I was in a 3rd/4th split class and unfortunately they were in the class with me. They taunted me with names and made fun of my size. Thankfully, it didn’t last past my 3rd grade year. They either grew up or someone told on them. It wasn’t me though. I was terrified of them.
My sophomore year of high school, I experienced the bullying again. This time it wasn’t because of my size. It was because I was a sophomore. “Stupid sophomore” he would taunt at me. He was relentless. We were in choir and drama together, so it was every single school day. I finally had the courage to stand up to him one afternoon during drama practice. We were in the wings, waiting for our scene to be called and he was laughing and calling me names. I’d had enough. I walked over to him and got in his face. Well, as best as I could since he was considerably taller than I was. But that day, I stood up for myself and everyone else he picked on. I was livid mad. Fire was probably coming out as I spoke.
He stopped bullying me after that confrontation.
I’m not okay with bullying. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for myself in 3rd grade. That’s a sad statement to say out loud. But it was the truth. Who is truly equipped, at age 7-8, to stand up to a bully?? Where does bullying even come from?? Why are there self-esteem issues happening in elementary school?? Who is teaching their kids that judgment of any form is okay?? It’s simply not okay. And it starts at home with teaching kids what bullying is and how to be judgment free. At 3rd grade, I needed to feel like I belonged and I didn’t. It’s important for parents to emphasize this phrase: You Belong®. Because everybody belongs. Kids need to feel that school is a Judgement Free Zone®.
I’m proud to partner with Planet Fitness to help spread the word about their Judgement Free Generation Program. This program is designed to combat the judgement and bullying faced by today’s teens by creating a culture of kindness and encouragement. Planet Fitness hopes to educate and give back to local communities. They are committing $1.3 million in grants and donations to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and STOMP Out Bullying to fund this initiative. This is something we all need to contribute to. Will you support Planet Fitness in this initiative??
Special Thanks to my amazing friend Trish for shooting these pics (who, by the way, is a stunning Wedding Photographer): BeatBox Portraits
Oversized Sweater Cardigan – Forever21 \\ Top – Stitch Fix (Papermoon Balsman Button Down) \\ Fleece Leggings – Stitch Fix (Kristin Fleece Leggings) \\ Necklace – Brickyard Buffalo
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