Name: Derek Robison
In elementary school I was extremely bullied for the way my ears looked. My ears don’t curl at the top and so that made them bigger than most. I was called “Dumbo” for years. I eventually grew out my hair and my ears were finally covered for nobody to see. However, the bullies only found other things to make fun of me with. It continued throughout junior high and high school. I had very little self confidence because I had always been made fun of. I did whatever I could to try and fit in with my friends. That led me to experiment with drugs and alcohol as a youth. I used them because I wanted to fit in and to cope with the experiences I had had in my life. One thing my mom taught me was that if someone is picking on you to change the subject. For example, my mom would say when someone was making fun of me I should compliment them or make a comment about something else. That advice definitely helped me out throughout the years. I had a few friends during those years that stood up for me and would be there for me. However, I know that not everyone has someone to offer them advice or stick up for them. It’s important to stand up for those around you especially when it’s difficult to do so. Also, don’t choose to be a bully. Choose to stay kind!
Growing up I got into skateboarding and snowboarding. It became a huge outlet for me. However, there are a few stereotypical characteristics of skaters including using drugs, partying, getting with girls, etc. As I became a teenager I didn’t want to do those things, but continue to skateboard and snowboard. Stay has promoted the idea that I can be who I am and still do those things without fitting in with the stereotypes. Stay has encouraged me and surrounded me with like-minded people who believe to stay true to who you are and don’t let anyone change who you are and who you want to become.