After being bullied for most of my life I decided to take a stand against it. I had begun to volunteer in the VSS Resource room and quickly realized that they were constantly being bullied. I began to stand up for the students in that class and while doing so I felt more inclined to stand up for myself as well. In my grade 11 year it was suggested to me that I would make a good candidate for pageantry. While looking into the requirements I was struck by the term “Platform” and what this meant. To me it has meant the ability to have an audience and therefore the potential to change lives. Immediately I knew that my platform would be anti bullying and inclusion for all, and so my pageant journey began. Fortunately I have had a wonderful opportunity for the past two years and have been able to share my story with thousands of people around the world via the internet and also through speaking engagements. It has been an incredible experience to be telling my story and become emotional while speaking and to look up and see that people in the audience have been so moved they are also in tears. I was not prepared for the overwhelming positive response I have gotten from sharing my story. I have had people write to me saying that my struggles have inspired them to go on, and that they now can see an end to their own pain. This in return gives me the desire to continue spreading the message that everyone needs to be someone’s hero and not a bystander. If you see someone being bullied and are afraid to do something then get someone who will. If you see someone that’s different then you say hello. Everyone needs the same thing and that’s to be included and to have a friend. Don’t be nasty to people that may be weaker just because you can, what that says about you is way worse then what you may think it says about the weaker person. It takes way more courage and strength to lift someone up then it does to push someone down.
I will always continue to tell my story in the hope of helping anyone who is being bullied and excluded, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that pageantry has given me to do this. I have become more confident in myself and no longer let others define who I am. I have met other like minded people that have causes and platforms that they work at by telling their stories and trying to make changes in their communities and in the world. These are the people I choose to have in my life, not bullies.