As we sit and try to put into words what #beuniqelyyou means to our family and what it is all about, first we must give a bit of background…..
When our son was in 4th grade started to be verbally bullied because he is a dancer. It started by calling him a “girl”, because he danced ballet, then it moved on to teasing him because he dressed trendy, his hair cut was trendy…and on and on. Anything that made our son different, this child picked apart. By the time 4th grade was coming to an end, the bully progressed to physical attacks; hitting our son on the back of the head and shoving him. The entire year, our son never told us, or any adult, what he was going through. Our son put on the brave face, continued to be the loving and happy child, but secretly hurting inside.
5th grade came, and the bullying picked up where it left off. Before the first marking period of 5th grade came to an end, our son was attacked so severely, it left him on the ground with marks on his face, at the hands of the same child. This is when we finally found out.
During all of this, our son always held his head high and stuck to being the amazingly kind person that we had raised him to be. We were afraid it was just our son putting up a good front and not wanting anyone see the pain. We told our son, that those that hurt others are normally really hurting themselves, and we hope the bully gets the counseling he needs to deal with whatever he is going through. During one of our conversations, he said “mom, I’m just being me, I don’t understand?? I’m being uniquely me”. He said, “that’s it, for now on I will use the hashtag #beuniqelyyou to encourage myself and everyone else that reads it that it’s ok to be unique, not fit into a model, think differently, look different, not fit into the ‘norm’, what is that anyway?”. A month later, (two years ago) our son created the logo for #beuniqelyyou, drawing it freehand. From that day on, we have been using #beuniqelyyou on social media; we have been ironing it on his shirts with the logo, anything to remind him that it’s awesome being just him!
Our son wants everyone to feel good about themselves regardless of what others may say or do. He thinks if everyone could look at the words #beuniqelyyou with the logo, it may help them, just the way it helps him. It’s a positive and empowering statement!
We have finally had the opportunity to bring our son’s vision to life through the tireless help from Harry Stymiest, Jr. helping us create this amazing website that we could never do ourselves, we are forever grateful.
Saving the best for last……we will be donating a portion of the proceeds of every sale to our local non-profit Gloucester County New Jersey Division of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). There is a great need for mental health awareness and treatment in our country. This can be the first small step in helping.
From our home to yours….. continue to #bekind and #beuniqelyyou,