In the last six weeks since the Sandy Hook shootings many photographers have jumped on board for what is called “The Olivia Act” and they asked people to nominate a family that would otherwise not be able to afford family photos. They then chose a deserving family and rewarded them with a free 30 minute session and a disc of all the images. I took part in this as well.
However, there are other photographers that have begun to take part in “The Hope Act”. This was started by photography Kristen Huntley, who is located in Fort Bragg, NC. Here is a link to her blog entry and the details: http://kristenhuntleyphotographer.com/2012/12/19/the-hope-act/
I was bullied in school. It started in fifth grade when I moved to a small town in PA after living in Ithaca, NY for three years. In Ithaca I had friends. Everybody knew me. When my mom walked me to school someone would always fall into step beside us or teachers would honk and wave as they drove by. I was outgoing, bubbly, and just loved life. When we moved that all changed. First I moved while my mom and stepfather got things squared away in Ithaca. I lived with my grandparents, and they were like a ray of warm sunshine on a cold and rainy day. I would go to school and get picked on because I dressed differently. I listened to different music. I was called names. I had a couple friends, but that didn’t stop the name calling.
In sixth grade it got worse. I would walk my sister home from kindergarten and as we walked through the empty field between the elementary/middle school and the high school kids would gather behind us. They would call me names. They would throw things at me. Sometimes sticks and small rocks. Once, in the winter time, someone threw a chunk of ice at me and hit me in the side of the head. It was humiliating. In seventh grade it got even worse and girls would push me and try to fight me because they thought I liked their boyfriends. Once I was sitting outside at lunch and reading a book and a girl just walked up to me and punched me in the head. Twice. For no reason at all. I withdrew from a lot of people. I worried what people thought about me. I hated my smile. My hair. My body. Myself. In eighth and ninth grade I was obsessed with the book Carrie. I thought “how awesome would it be if I could just make them all disappear. Just like She did.” I wrote a story in ninth grade about a girl that burned down the school and then went home and killed herself. Nowadays that would be immediate cause to call the police. Instead I was spoken to about how it was inappropriate to write such things and was told to redo it. Nobody ever seemed to care.
In tenth grade and through the rest of high school it got…better. Instead of being harassed and picked on I was left alone. Almost completely alone. I had a few good friends, but other than that nobody ever spoke to me. Nobody acknowledged me. I was very lonely.
All of this effected me deeply and to this day I still struggle with feeling unwanted. I wonder why people don’t like me. I still look at myself and pick apart everything that is wrong with me. Every reason why my husband should be disgusted by me and I wonder why he isn’t. I feel that it is very important to make sure every child and teen knows that they are loved. That they are worthy. Strong. Beautiful. That is why I am going to take part in The Hope Act. I am going to be accepting nominations starting today. Every month I am going to randomly choose someone to receive a free session. With this session they will receive a cd with 10 retouched images and a print release, and they will have a featured entry on my blog telling everyone a little bit about themselves. If I can help, even in a small way, to make a child see their worth, then I will have done my part.
Starting now you may email your nominations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my Facebook page (the link to that is over there —-> ) Tell me a little bit about yourself, or the person you care about that has been a victim of bullying. I am so excited to have a chance to meet some awesome new people and to help them realize that they are worth it.