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Big ears, short legs, body fat, bald spot, big nose, crooked smile – whatever the flaw, let’s face it, we all have them. And if you think [freaks of nature] super models don’t, think again. Chances are those mega beauties have stories of growing up the gangly, awkward girl, being called “giraffe”, or “big foot”.
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It’s hard to relate to anyone who makes a living off their good looks, let alone imagine they could have a history of being picked on as kids. So let’s get back to people like us – everyday folk – who have a beauty all our own, shall we?
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No matter what our age, name calling does damage. As we mature and grow in to ourselves, we learn to accept our unique flaws as part of what makes us who we are. We realize how exhausting it is to try and change things that are simply not in the cards – so, although our feelings may still be hurt, those words begin to carry less weight. We learn that we are not defined or validated by what other people think of us. What other people think of us is none of our business
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But when we’re young and vulnerable, being on the receiving end of name calling feels like daggers in our hearts.

Freddy Kruger.

Pizza Face.

The Elephant Man.

Moon Face.

You name it, I heard it. And even after years of therapy and countless surgeries to remedy the scarring on my face, I am still haunted by those names I was called as a teenager in high school.

In watching Oprah’s interview with Lady Gaga and Mama Gaga last night, I learned about the Born This Way foundation, a marvelous cause in which the only goal is to help people realize they are beautiful – no matter who they are, how they look, or what anyone says. Their mission statement reads:

To foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a braver, kinder world.

We believe that everyone has the right to feel safe, to be empowered and to make a difference in the world. Together, we will move towards acceptance, bravery and love.

If you’ve seen Lady Gaga perform, you know she’s pretty wild. Some would even call her a freak (who wears a dress made out of meat?). And let’s not forget about the whole Grammy-Performance-Egg incident.

It’s easy to judge people – especially performers like Gaga who not only push the envelope of eccentricity; they tear it to shreds with their ideas and ideologies. But when you peel away the layers of outrageous costumes and theatrics, you have a real person with feelings, not to mention a shit load of talent.

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

The 70s gave us Ziggy Stardust through David Bowie, and Elton John showcased platform-shoe-glittered-star-glasses fashion.

This generation, we have Gaga.

I was surprised to learn Gaga was bullied as a child. She has memories of being grabbed by school mates and thrown in a garbage can in public. Of this incident, she tells Oprah – “those moments create emotional scars – you carry them with you forever”.

As tears trickled down my perfectly flawed cheeks, I never thought I’d feel it – a sense of connectivity with the extravagant singer. She gets it.

After landing on the Born This Way Foundation website, I entered my name as a supporter. What a powerful wave to ride, knowing that we can join such a mission of kindness and compassion.

It may not be realistic to envision a world without Hate, but it sure does feel good to know that by joining the cause to try, we can make a difference.

“Whether life’s disabilities left you outcast, bullied or teased – rejoice and love yourself today, ’cause baby, you were born this way” – Lady Gaga

9 comments

  1. The screen is bit misty right now…thank you for sending us in the direction to be part of concrete change. May the scars on your heart fade through the love now in your life. I've found it's the only balm for mine.

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  2. It is amazing that no matter what one looks like, if you are successful, looks don't matter. But try thinking through that when you are young and being liked is a number one goal. It can bury you or elevate you and at this stage of my life I am not sure what has won out.

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  3. I do not wish to divert this conversation to another subject, unless of course it ivolves me… then it's ok. did i tell you story about…..oh yea, name calling. i have been listening to da radio alot, as i get chauffeured around. one of the vilest of name calling by adults toward adults is the casually uttered term: "racist" ..it's an ugly expression which harkens back to sadder times, and yet people use it as if they know the heart or mind of the people they sling it at…it is in fact name calling, just like Pizza Face or Freddie Kruger… racist… it's juvenile, and nasty, and vulgar, and i am quite frankly turned off by anyone who thinks they are so high and mighty that they can sling it at someone else and get away with iti tweet at @Samuel_Clemons

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  4. How many female classmates did you bully as a means of fitting in and scoring points with others, or to cast some of the negative attention onto someone other than yourself while in high school? Would you admit it if you did? Who? What would you say to them now?

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  5. @Big Mark – I hope you're right about society being more forgiving. Kids are still being bullied and some are taking their own lives because of it. I hope things are getting better though. @Chantel – Thank you Chantel! @RJ – Very insightful. Thanks for commenting, my friend. @Samuel – I just love you! Thank you, my furry friend! @Anonymous – When I was in grade school, I did try and fit in by picking on a kid – it was awful -I admit that because I have nothing to hide and I have learned from that experience. I have spoken to her as an adult and we have forgiven eachother for our shallow shortcomings as kids. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  6. I watched that interview earlier this week and was so impressed by her. She's making such an amazing impact on kids who need support like that right now. I love it.

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