Sidney came home from school upset because the kids call her “Reverse Oreo”. Apparently she is deemed white on the outside but black inside. Is that a compliment or an insult? It amazes me that with the nation’s heightened awareness of bullying, things haven’t changed since I was in middle school in the dark ages. I remember walking into school, being devastated to find a picture of a “Puffer Fish” plastered to my locker , and the subtle curse, “Fatty Cheeks!” written in bold letters. I can still feel that wave of heat come over me when a picture of a puffer fish pops up while I’m reading to my 4 yr old. Those words stick with people at such a naive age. We want to believe that things are good in the world. Teasing words hauntingly introduce reality to us all to prematurely. Sidney’s lucky. Her barbie doll, blond haired, blue eyed, socially acceptable appearance will allow her to fly under the radar of scrutiny. Imagine how we socially challenged victims can handle this blind criticism? It takes me back again to Ciara’s 18yo revelation. “You can’t judge someone if you haven’t heard their story—-
Here is Olivia’s
Olivia Rusk is a vivacious fifteen year old honor student in Fisher, IN. She happens to be completely bald ? She was diagnosed with a medical condition called alopecia as a toddler. On an epic morning at age 8, she shed her custom wig, bravely marched into third grade and announced she was going to be herself, BALD. From that day forward, Olivia has refused to hide her beauty by trying to look like everyone else. Owning her disease has given Olivia a powerful platform; she won’t let it define her. Her bravery, integrity, and charisma help her share her story, Olivia launched lecture programs inspiring thousands of teens in schools, churches and other organizations through out Central Indiana. An anti-bullying stance and education on suicide prevention allows Olivia to exemplify to teen audiences that “You Can Be Great”, whatever your challenges might be.
I have fortunately had the opportunity to get to know Olivia. I can’t begin to describe my first impression of this exceptional girl. Being with her was like being in the presence of Mother Teresa, Ghandi or a future MLK. This young woman will make a difference. She takes ownership in cultivating her own vital spirit. We need more Olivia’s in the world. If only we could think like eight year olds who have been told “You is smart, you is kind, you is important”
The best way to change the world is to change yourself…..
Read more about Olivia Rusk and Olivia’s cause at www.oliviascause.org . Her book , “Just Your Average Teenager Who Happens to be Bald,” is now available online at her website.