** I will be going silent on Sunday 18th May from 8am until 8pm to raise money for Ditch the Label. During this time I have decided that I will not communicate via handwriting, text, social media or any other means. Oh god... what have I set myself up for?! **
Being different can be difficult, especially when you are young. Like many others, I found growing up to be painfully difficult. I was bullied continuously throughout primary and secondary school for being gay even before I, or many of the bullies knew exactly what it meant. The bullying got physical during my final few years at secondary school and I just remember feeling so alone and full of self-loathe. I was lucky to have the support from my friends and family but I never felt like any of them truly understood what I was going through.
People would tell me to ignore the bullies and that they were only doing it because they were jealous, but at the time this wasn’t helpful advice. I never saw a future for myself and tried continuously to change who I was, but the bullying only got worse. I would walk around with my head to the ground, hoping that nobody would notice me.
High school eventually came to an end and after starting college, I quickly found out that it really does get better. I met so many people from different walks of life and found that I wasn’t the only person who had experienced bullying throughout my time at school. I began to regrow my confidence and eventually pinpointed that there was an enormous gap in the market for an online community that enabled youths to login and share advice about bullying.
Several years on and I am now a Business and Management with Marketing graduate from a red brick University and manage both Ditch the Label and my own digital marketing agency.
I really did manage to turn a negative situation into something positive but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all victims of bullying. Many find it difficult to overcome the insecurities and pain associated with bullying and it can often prevent them from progressing later on in life.
People have said in the past that bullying is just ‘part of growing up’, but I dispute that. Bullying is not and should never be ‘part of growing up’. Bullying ends here.
Present day and I have the honour of leading a charity that I have built from the ground up. It is so overwhelming to be in the position to be able to help others. We have so many fantastic initiatives and ambitions for the future and with your help we can make the growth of Ditch the Label a reality.
Founder & CEO of Ditch the Label