When I was 13 I had just left the small paddle pool of primary school and had started a rather uncoordinated free-style into my teens and high school.
I’d spent the summer holidays dreading my first day. Not because I was worried about High School but because I was anxious that the bitchy group of bullies from my primary school years would be laying in wait to start up their horrid behaviour towards me again.
While it didn’t consume me to the point of depression, I did lose some sleep over it. And when I did sleep, I dreamt of being beaten up. Of running away. Of beating the bullies. Of anything that meant I came out on top, even if it was only in my dreams.
This was the mid-eighties and bullying was something that just happened (much like permed hair and shoulder pads).
But there weren’t support groups where you could chat through your playground horror stories. There was no campaign to make people aware of the impact their unkind behaviour could have. And there was no Internet. I was lucky I had exceptional parents and a strong foundation from which to grow my own way – without fear of petty juvenile judgement.
Fast-forward 30 years and bullying still exists. Unkind people, whose hate-filled actions are the products of their own limitations and lack of understanding, still act out in fear and anger. There is still a void where unconditional love, forgiveness and understanding should flourish.
But things are getting better. We have awareness. We have strong role models. We have groups that offer a haven for the bullied and the bullies. And we have young voices that make a stand to make a difference in spite of the vitriol that’s been speared at them.
And one of those voices just joined 28.
Like many of us in the 28 Community I read 13-year-old Moni Mastro’s self-introduction on our Facebook page the other night and thought what a bloody amazing young woman. And then I checked out her website and blog. Yes – she’s 13 and she has her own website (I didn’t get an online presence until I was three times that age!).
She also has close to 5,500 people following her on her Instagram account _getkind_, which will also tell you she’s working on her first book and all profits from her webshop go to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Yes people…web…shop…like a place where you can go and buy stuff that she’s put together to make money to support her anti-bullying campaign. Wowzers. I mean really? Awesome much?!
Rising above the anger and hatred of others is a lifelong skill that is no mean feat to master.
Being happy, healthy and mindful are all tools that 28 equips us with and are probably at the foundation of why we’re all so bloody addicted to it!
I find Moni’s story extraordinary (and I’m only privy to the cliff notes!). Not only has she risen above the bullies she’s taken her sword of kindness and slayed them with her attitude and approach to making a difference.
Do yourself a favour and stop what you’re doing and spend 5 minutes right now – yes now – and check it out www.getkind.net. She’s got some terrific nuggets of wisdom on her page. I like the post about Random Acts of Kindness, a long list of pay-it-forward ideas. A long list! G
And she’s done all of this before joining 28! Imagine what she’s going to accomplish after a few months of Workouts with Woody and lolling about with Lawrence? She’ll be freakin’ unstoppable.
Kindness people…it’s the way of the future. Get on it. x