Before I even remotely get started, let me just get this out of the way right now.

I'm from New Hampshire. I've lived most of my life in New Hampshire. I don't live there now and as much as I love my home right now, it's still weird to me sometimes that I'm not in New Hampshire. I love New Hampshire. Hell, I have a 603 tattooed on my inner wrist.

But all that said, when WalletHub dropped their recent survey of states in the country with the biggest bullying problems, and New Hampshire was not just #1 in New England (by a freakin' landslide), but #14 in the entire country -- I wasn't the last bit shocked. And I literally hate saying that, but I'm also a realist.

Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash / Photo by Ilayza on Unsplash
Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash / Photo by Ilayza on Unsplash

The irony in all this to me, honestly, is I'll probably get ripped apart in the comments on the station's Facebook when this posts for even suggesting there's a bullying issue. There will probably be comments that say, "You don't like it here? Get the F out!" or "Good, glad you're not living here anymore if that's how you feel."

I'll never know, though, because quite honestly some of the comments we get on our articles can be so vile it's literally unbelievable how hateful some people can be over the most random, harmless things -- a reaction to getting rejected on your first-ever offer on a condo or house, or a pet peeve with shopping carts.

So, to keep the ole mental health on as even a keel as possible, I (and probably my co-workers) just ignore the comments section. But I digress...

sad moment Elementary Age Bullying in Schoolyard

Look, I can say I'm not shocked that New Hampshire has a massive bullying problem on a first-hand basis, because middle school in NH was absolute hell for me. And, quite honestly, if it weren't for my mother literally fighting to the ends of the earth for me, as well as a core group of a few classmates that had my back (y'all know who you are), who knows where I'd be right now.

Or if I'd even be, quite honestly.

And the sad/scary part? I thought I went through hell back then -- I can't even imagine growing up today. Because at least, back then, when everyone was growing up in school, going through changes, and trying to figure out who the hell they even were, at least there was an "off" switch -- it was when you walked off the bus and went home.

That doesn't exist now, thanks to social media. It never turns off for kids going through it. And honestly, those kids that go through it 24/7/365 and are still here, still fighting, and eventually thriving -- their strength deserves to be recognized.

Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message

Fortunately, for the most part, most bullies eventually grow up and leave the levels of jerkdom behind them, and turn out to be pretty decent humans. In the present day, I'm either friendly with my former bullies, social media "friends" with them, or just don't interact with them.

Regardless of the interaction (or not), I think we're all at a point where the past is the past, and we all just silently either root for each other to succeed or see someone's success and are genuinely happy for them.

Of course, there's the fraction (hopefully, it's just a fraction, anyway) who never shed that bullying skin, and continue along that same path. With the aforementioned vile comments on social media because they feel like their opinion must be heard and must be shared, or something as simple as singling certain co-workers or employees out of social events -- sometimes the cycle just continues.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

So, to the former bullies that shed that skin and have become solid humans, good on you. You deserve to be given props as much as those who have been bullied and are still here and overcoming. It's all about growth.

But, based on WalletHub's recent study, at least in New Hampshire, there is still a lot of work to do. But we're Granite Staters and 98% good humans, so I have every bit of faith in the world we'll get there.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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