• Courtney Phillips

Why can’t we choose kindness?

Have you ever been the victim of bullying? I have and it’s awful. I’m not sure if I have the personality type that draws them in if that’s a thing. Or if I have it written in my eyes somehow saying be mean to me, but I have been bullied multiple times throughout my life.

I was bullied in the traditional sense in junior high for having a flat chest – jokes on them I still proudly have a flat chest. The kids used to chant at me, “Dogs bark. Ducks quack. Why is your chest as flat as your back?” I’m literally laughing as I type this because it is quite catchy. But, as a 12-year-old, who was super insecure about this issue already, I cried myself to sleep at night. As an almost 35-year-old, I still don’t need to wear a bra, so those kids can stick it. Lol.

I’ve also been bullied in places that are supposed to be traditionally safe: I was a victim of child abuse both physically and emotionally by my stepmother; I was in an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship in my early 20s; and when I thought I had all of that in my rear-view mirror, just this last year, I struggled with a workplace bully. My new boss here in D.C. was harassing me, ridiculing me, belittling me and basically bullying me to the point of tears every day. Making me question my worth as a professional and the value I bring to the table. Fuck that guy!

So, you can safely assume that I have strong feelings against bullying. In nearly all cases, I stand strong for kindness, supportiveness, allowing others to live their lives and make their own decisions, mentoring, the list goes on.

When reports came out about Cara Mund and the vicious behavior of the Miss America organization towards their queen, my heart sank. Not only did reading her letter of being silenced remind me of how I felt earlier this year with my wretched boss, but it reminded me of all of those other experience as well.

Add to this she had dreamed of being Miss America, as most pageant girls do, and worked toward that dream since she was a little girl, probably as long as she can remember. This entire situation is utterly devastating for her. Many people say that she should have kept quiet and finished her reign “like a good queen.” Others thought she should have quit and held her head up high as she walked away with her dignity. It’s so hard to say what you would do in a situation where your dream has been this for so long and then you realize it, and it’s completely different. No one but Cara can know what they would do unless they were in that exact same position with that awful Gretchen Carlson…

I respect that she spoke out to warn the other women competing this year. They can make the decision for themselves. She also is bringing to light the skeletons in the closet to potentially affect change. I applaud that. I’m curious how the 52 girls competing this week feel about potentially taking on the role that comes with all of this “baggage.” And how I would feel if this was my organization.

Ironically enough, the organization that I’ve aligned myself to most recently, Mrs. America, has been clouded in controversy as well. As I’m sure you’ve seen, it’s been plagued with rumors and accusations from current and former queens alike of bullying both from players within the national organization and of girls competing and placing/winning this year.

It’s embarrassing to hear that an organization that I’ve branded myself to has been accused of such hatred and that women who are leaders in their communities, companies, and in some cases even mothers are acting like high school mean girls. This is all “hearsay,” as I wasn’t there and I didn’t witness anything. They are not my stories to tell. But, I’m embarrassed for the people who behaved this way. If these stories turn out to be true, I don’t know how I could continue to be aligned with such an organization in the future.

I just can’t get over how in this day and age that everywhere we turn there is much hatred. I’m not just talking about in pageantry. It’s everywhere we look! It’s in Nike ads, on football fields, in the White House. I don’t understand why we can’t choose to love, accept and support one another and just choose kindness. The whole world is turning into an ugly place. I do wish Cara Mund well. And I think she will be in a much better place once the crown is off of her head.

© 2018 by Spinning through Life.

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