John Carroll: Dancing Saved Me From Humiliation of Bullies
BY Advocate Contributors
March 28 2012 2:18 PM ET
I have proudly been in therapy for several years now and have worked through many issues and residual scars left from my years of childhood abuse. Though I know life is a work in progress, I can stand strong today and say I love the man I have become. I can honor the strength it took for my younger self to hold on to some sort of self worth when so many around me were trying to prove otherwise. I went on to graduate from The Juilliard School and dance across the stages of the world. I married the man of my dreams the very first day it was legal in the state of New York. When things would get to be unbearable for me when I was younger, I would dream of my future and what it would be like. God is good, and I have seen those dreams come to fruition. For me, it hasn’t just gotten better, it’s gotten mind bogglingly amazing! Part of my healing is to help young people who might be going through a similar story to my own.
We can heal, and we can prevent bullying. One of the most important things I have found to be helpful, not only to myself, but also to other people, is to talk about my personal story with bullying and how it has affected my life. As with sexual abuse, the stigma and shame must be lifted and children should know that they are not unnoticed and alone.
Parents can talk to their kids about all forms of bullying, including cyber bullying. Parents can also become more active in their kids' PTA organizations to see what can be done. Even if you do not have children, attend a school board meeting in your district and find out what education, precautions and ramifications are in place for bullying within the school system and beyond. Call or write your local and state representative’s and see what is being done on a state and national level. Force legislators to enact anti-bullying laws. Laws with the same level and severity as ones in place that protect children from other forms of child abuse. And, please, help the children in your life find their passion that will lead to their success.
To all the boys and girls who are struggling with being bullied right now, all the men and woman who were lucky enough to make it through and all the souls who were not as fortunate, there is no longer a need to feel invisible. We stand together in a common, shared experience and I, for one, see you.
JOHN CARROLL is a Broadway performer who will appear in the Los Angeles production of Follies beginning May 3 at the Ahmanson Theatre. For more information, visit TheJohnCarroll.com