Posted by: pursuingsub17 | February 24, 2016

#PinkShirtDay and finding inner strength through sport


Today is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. The organization is a national campaign against bullying that started in Nova Scotia when a group of brave young highschool boys stood up for a classmate who had been bullied for wearing a pink shirt. You can read the story on the website – it’s inspirational – as well as the many other stories that have been posted on their page and Facebook.

This campaign is close to my heart, being a victim of bullying myself during my school years, particularly junior high. However, I have to say I was lucky. Back then, social media didn’t exist. I can’t even imagine how widespread hurt can damage a victim. It reaches out much further than the confines of school.

Still, bullying affected me in ways I never understood well into my adult years. Social anxiety, depression, anorexia, and ultimately negative coping habits were a big part of my life for two decades as an adult. I never thought for a moment that my behaviour might have been the result of years of enduring bullying as a kid. I just thought I was a lost soul who fell through the cracks. It may have also been why I continued to stay in a mentally abusive relationship for almost 20 years.

Thankfully, my story continues on as a happy one. I’m here to say that, although I do not at all condone bullying, I’m an example of someone who can survive and move beyond bullying. Close to a mid-point in my life, I walked away from a very dark place and also ended the poisonous relationship I was in. I met a great partner, Marc (also known as @ironinnovations on Twitter). I’ve also gained confidence and self acceptance through an amazing support network and getting involved in running and triathlon. These two sports really taught me to dig deep when I felt like I was ready to give up and rewarded me with an incredible sense of accomplishment when I know I did the best I could to get across that finish line, no matter what it took. Through triathlon (and running!!), I also bonded with a great group of healthy individuals across North America who believe in encouraging others.

My only regret is that I didn’t discover triathlon when I was younger. Where I grew up or maybe at the time I was an adolescent, the popularity of triathlon or running simply didn’t exist. And unfortunately, I wasn’t very good (or the popular choice) in team sports. Seeing what running has done for my cousin – who experienced the same kind of bullying as I did – has confirmed even more how important sport is to discover one’s inner strength. I think my goal over the next few years devote more time to promoting the sport to younger people in small town Canada J

So for #PinkShirtDay, to show my gratitude and help put an end to bullying, I’d like to #PinkItForward to both triathlon and all of my fellow athletes that I have met on my journey who helped me become the strong woman that I am today.

Now it’s your turn – Coast Capital Savings donates $1 each time the #pinkitforward hashtag is used up to $45,000 in order to support anti-bullying programs. Use it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. For more information on how to use this hashtag and get involved, go to http://pinkshirtday.ca/pinkitforward/

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