By Bobby Webster
They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger. However, if that were indeed the case, I would most likely be a London-bound Olympic weight lifter. No, to say the least, I was picked on as a child. Picked on hardly covers it. Beat up, spat on, belittled and laughed at covers things a bit more.
In a day and age when we are being told “It Gets Better” on a daily basis, and with bullying being the topic-du-jour in the media, middle school flashbacks seem to be occurring more frequently than ever. Additionally, the Weinstein backed film “Bully” won a major victory today as public pressure convinced the Motion Picture Association of America to lower is “R” rating to a “PG-13,” allowing the very battled kids who needed to see this important film direct access to it.
Many of us have been there …… gay kids, smart kids, small kids, kids who just aren’t able to “conform” with America’s idea of the perfect child. You know, the kind whose parents drive a BMW or Mercedes, the kids who captain the football team or have the support of the rest of the cheerleading squad. We are all called the endless names, like faggot, retard, four-eyes, and fat-ass.
They say sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt… but I have a feeling the Prom Queen came up with that load of shit. Words do hurt, and those wounds become scars, a reminder of experiences that most of us would like to forget.
Being a very peculiar person myself, it reminded me once when a boy, who shall remain nameless just in case he isn’t a total asshole anymore, told me in front of his friends that I was a complete weirdo, and joked that I was too weird to have any friends. I tried my best to hold those feelings in, that awful sea of sadness that seemed to wash over me with each piercing syllable.
Yes, it was true, I was a bit of a loner. Being gay in a conservative atmosphere was quite taxing, and I really didn’t have anyone I related to or could speak with regarding all the hurt that seemed to be embracing me.
Lucky for me, I graduated high school without too many black eyes and lashes to my heart, and met a girl who took me to a club. It opened my eyes to a whole new world, and introduced me to a brand new perspective on life.
Behold, there were gays, tall people, loud people, people of every race, orientation, and background. One of the first people I met was James St. James, who famously pronounced that “If you happen to be a hunchback, to throw a little glitter on it and have a ball.” Here were the other people in life who were just like me. I was thrilled. Astro Erle in his 10 inch platforms, obviously proud of his awe-inspiring height. I wonder who had made him feel small before. The glamorous Sophia Lamar, who, fortunately for us, made it to America from Cuba. Would Castro have let her come if he had known what a fashion icon she would evolve into? Leigh Bowery, who showed the world that big was not only beautiful, but jaw-droppingly creative. The nerdy kids in the glasses became fashion stars. The heavy kids became actors. The ones who weren’t considered the most beautiful became the makeup artists, hairstylists, and sought-after fashion editors.
It’s funny how the world works, and I am a true believer in karma. We truly must learn to treat others as we would wish to be treated. Each of us have had our battles, and lucky enough many of us have found families. Families of outcasts, from our GLBT brothers and sisters to our compatriots who never before seemed to “fit in.” But also we must remember that some of these amazing souls are still searching for those who will embrace them, and sadly, a few never will. Let us remember to smile at the girl sitting alone, support the guy at the gym who is trying hard to lose a pound or two, and lift up the weak or the small. If we do, perhaps one day those who were once considered strange might wear that label as a very chic badge of honor.
Follow Bobby on Twitter @bobbysaurus_rex