I’ve been hemming and hawing about what to say about this one, and I finally figured it out.

You see, I’ve been brought up with all the same beauty standards as you have, and failed to meet them.

I’ve also realized this….I look exactly the way I am supposed to. You see, I have a lot to say, and I’d hate for people to be distracted from hearing my words by me being TOO stunningly beautiful.

This is a fantastic letter written by Tanis Jex-Blake, excerpted below:

This is an open letter to the 2 guys and 1 girl who decided to skip work today in Sherwood Park where they were building a house , but instead decided to come to Alberta Beach to relax in the sun, enjoy the water and some beers.

I’m sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years “grossed you out”. I’m sorry that my stomach isn’t flat and tight. I’m sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks. I’m NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings. I’m sorry if my 33 year old, 125 lb body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing, and pretending to kick me. But I’ll have you know that as I looked at your ‘perfect’ young bodies, I could only think to myself “what great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?”. I’ll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day. It’s people like you who make this world an ugly hateful place. I can’t help but feel sorry for the women who will one day bear your children and become “gross” in your eyes as their bodies change during the miraculous process of pregnancy. I can only hope that one day you’ll realize that my battle scars are something to be proud of, not ashamed of.

I’m not even going to weigh in on the looks part…should we  all be able to wear a bikini on the beach if we want? Shouldn’t we? That’s just a teeny tiny polka dotted thing.  Is the protest an awesome thing? An overreaction? Who cares? It’s support. Support is awesome and I’m betting that Tanis Jex-Blake is feeling pretty darn good.

Here’s what I want to talk about. This small piece of this beautiful woman’s letter.

“I’ll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day.”

I will preface this by saying that I understand why she didn’t say anything. I understand COMPLETELY! This is not a criticism of Tanis Jex-Blake. It’s a criticism of our society, and an observation of what it’s going to take to get kinder.

We must get stronger. We need to be assertive, to be able to speak up when we’re uncomfortable or have something important to say.

These three people, fueled by each other, used bully actions. They may feel shamed by the publicity, and they may not.

I don’t believe they’ve been publically outed (OR THAT IT WOULD HELP TO DO SO). Let’s assume they are not feeling in the least bit shamed. Remember, they’ve been raised in the same culture of beauty as you and I. WE know the way we need to feel about beauty, and we’re determined to do so, but let’s not lie. EVERYONE, even the most balanced people are affected by our society’s perception and presentation of beauty. And these three, well, they may not be the most balanced.

So what’s the answer? To tell ‘em straight to their face. To shock them with strength and assertiveness. To stand tall in the moment and know that you are whole, and say “I don’t appreciate your attitude. Go. Now.”

“People don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel” (Maya Angelou). In the moments when someone is using a bully actions, you GOTTA make them know that YOU know they’re doing it. So that they have a bit of a shock reaction. And feel it. And remember how you made them feel. It’s through experience that we learn, and when we don’t or can’t speak up about bully actions, we miss a chance to let people have the experience. To directly know that they’ve hurt someone, and to know that they WILL be called on their behavior. Very few people like to be called out on the same behavior twice.

I say again.
We must get stronger. We need to be assertive, to be able to speak up when we’re uncomfortable or have something important to say.

That’s what we help people achieve with the No Such Thing as a Bully® System. Check out the book for parents and children here.