When we recently published an article featuring knock-out covers by local singer Nicole Borg, we had no idea that she had been the victim of bullying and a year of personal anguish. We were just blown away by her gigantic talent.
What happened next had us floored – both with shock and admiration. Borg published a video confessional on her personal Facebook page saying that she had been a victim of bullying. Admitting she had been house-bound for a year, the core message of her video was that she had had enough, and was ready to break free of the social oppression she had been enduring.
Since its release, the video has been covered by the press and received a great deal of attention on social media. Borg has quickly become a spokesperson and activist for cases of bullying.
We salute Nicole for her brave confessional, and in the spirit of spreading awareness on the case of bullying or feeling alienated by a community, we’ve picked out the most vital lessons we learnt from her video.
1. Speak up
If you’ve been thinking about saying for a long enough time, you should probably say it. If it’s not via social media, speak to a parent, a therapist, or call an anonymous helpline (more info at the end of this article).
2. Don’t let criticism stop you from expressing yourself
Being an adolescent is difficult at the best of times – you’re trying your best to fit in and anything that makes you the slightest bit different from your friends keeps you awake at night. Remember that most people feel the same way you do – reach out to your friends and family, and if needs be call a support line if you feel like someone is unduly putting you down.
3. Reach out to others
If you have the courage to be a voice for the voiceless, do it. Sometimes the best way to do this is by sharing your story – people are comforted knowing they are not alone in their situation.
4. If you’re being singled out, talk about it
If you believe you’re being discriminated against for something like your weight, age, race, or sexual orientation – vocalise it. There are loads of support groups in Malta that can help you deal with this. There are also occasions where discrimination is actually illegal, and support groups can help you determine whether or not that’s the case with your situation.
5. Take ownership of what makes you different
Nicole Borg claims without hesitation that she has been alienated for being obese. Naming the reason you are being discriminated against help to spread awareness. Don’t be afraid to talk about exactly what’s causing the problem.
6. Embrace your talents
It will help you in your loneliest time and it could be the very thing that pulls you out of your solitude.
7. It’s okay to get knocked down
And if you are unable to get back up again, remember there are people out there dedicated to helping you.
If you are being bullied, discriminated against or made to feel alienated please get in touch with one of the following support groups/organisations: Victim Support Malta, the Government Anti-Bullying Service, Kellimni, Support Line 179.