This is the fourth post in a series by former FLVS student Makaila, a model, author, and anti-bullying advocate.
Did you know October is National Anti-Bullying Month?
Let’s be honest. How many of you have suffered at the hands of a bully but chose to do nothing about it?
I’ve been there too.
As a matter of fact, when I was 14, I was bullied unmercifully.
It all started when I began modeling and I had to lose weight. At 5’11 and a weight of 135 pounds, one wouldn’t expect to be told to “lose 10.” But, I had to – and let me start off by saying it was beyond difficult.
I no longer could eat potato chips, ice cream, or other foods I once loved so dearly. Instead, I munched on veggies, protein, and more veggies. I was proud of myself for establishing some self-control and saw the pounds melting off, but my peers thought I was crazy. My once former “friends” (and I use that term loosely) became some of my biggest opponents.
One day, as I sat eating my salad for lunch, a group of girls came over to me. “Makaila, you’re disgusting. Here, have my Lay’s.” Then they proceeded to crumble potato chips over my head and call me more names. This abuse went on for quite some time and I never did anything about it; even some of my teachers called me names I will not repeat. The point is, I was bullied because I was following my dreams and making sacrifices to do so.
I have other stories as well (before I was 14), but I’m sure you don’t want to hear every instance and nor do I want to remember them, because then the bullies win. They would have gotten to me, and I refuse to let them have any power over me.
Bullying is a subject near and dear to my heart. I was a victim for many years, and still am, but I chose to take the high road. I was recently appointed National Ambassador for an organization called The Great American No Bull Challenge. As Ambassador, I will be able to reach children across America and spread awareness about the effects of bullying and share my story, so others know they are not alone.
One of the greatest aspects of the No Bull Challenge is that participants must use their creative side to spread awareness, through script writing, PSAs, video presentations, etc. It is truly an honor to see such creative minds put to use for an even greater cause. Oh, and did I mention there are prizes?
Truth be told, October is more than just Anti-Bullying Month to me. It is a time when I can reflect on myself and choose what kind of person I want to be.
Do I want to be the victim? No. I say No to Bullying.
Do I also need to change my ways to spread more kindness in the world? Yes. The world needs it!
Stand up for yourself, stand up for others, and don’t be the bully. Stay strong and say No Bull once and for all by sharing this message!
Mak Nichols is a model, author, actress, and student advocate on a mission to inspire and support her peers through philanthropic initiatives including the Great American No Bull Challenge and the release of her first book, Blatantly Honest: Normal Teen, Abnormal Life, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound. After taking FLVS courses in high school, she is now studying business, entrepreneurship, and writing at the University of Central Florida. Learn more at makailanichols.com.