Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bullying

Today, I witnessed something that broke my heart. Every day, I walk by the many kids that go school here in Midtown Manhattan. I see bullying and name calling all the time. For the most part, it seems relatively harmless, especially when the kid being picked on can fight back a bit. I usually roll my eyes and keep walking, avoiding the after school energy of these 13 and 14 year olds. Today, however, I witnessed bullying of a different kind. The kind that churns your stomach and makes your truly angry. I was walking out of my building when I saw a group of boys throwing around and singling out another boy. When the victim tried to walk away, one of the others spat at him and called him a "faggot." I yelled to the kids the only thing that could come to my mind, "Don't use that word. Back off!" I wish these words had helped the situation, but the poor boy who had been harassed seemed to be more embarrassed than before. The look on his face hasn't really left me since that moment.

The sad part is, the story I just told is so common, it almost feels cliche to write about. Somehow bullying has become something that everyone simply accepts. We're told not to write about bullying in our college essays or papers because it's too "typical" no matter what kind of an impact it's had on our lives. I don't believe this is an issue that can be belittled so easily.

Perhaps the main reason I was so deeply affected by what I saw today is because of what I went through in my own childhood. Believe me, I'm not writing any of this for pity or for reassurance. :) It was a long time ago and I'm doing fine now! But for anyone reading this blog that has either been a victim of bullying or has ever bullied someone else, I feel the need to write a bit of my own experiences.

When I moved to San Francisco, I was 12 years old. I left behind many friends and a huge public school to move into a much smaller community. Much smaller. There were 12 other boys in my grade. All of them had known each other since kindergarten. The situation was hardly ideal.

At the time I was your typical over-wheight, pimply, awkward pre-teen with braces. An image that I only became aware of when I entered a class of boys that didn't even want to relate to me. They skateboarded, I painted. They listened to all the "cool" bands, I thought Ella Fitzgerald's music was the coolest thing I'd ever heard.

To make a long story short, I have never been more miserable. They were cruel in ways I didn't think were possible beyond the text of a bad teen movie. I never once heard my name, only the words "faggot", and "bitch." I was beaten up regularly. Once, I left class to get a drink of water, only to be beaten out-cold with a text book by a class mate of mine. Over the years at this particular school, I withdrew from everyone around me including my family. No one could help. If I tried to be like them, I was a "poser." I remember I bought a pair of baggy Jenco jeans and skateboard. My classmates laughed at the jeans and stole the skateboard. If anyone tried to help me, I was made fun of for needing the help. The sad part was, most of the time, no one helped. The day I hit rock bottom was when a group of boys continuously spat on me in front of my PE teacher. The teacher chose to blatantly ignore it, the more disgusting the behavior became.

When you're 13 and you truly believe that there is nothing you can do to be happy, it's a very scary place. At that age, you don't have the maturity to know that there is so much more to look forward to. With the help of my family and the finding of a new community, I was fortunately able to move forward. In many ways, I believe that theatre saved me. I found something new, I found people I could relate to, and I found my passion. When I hit high school, I stopped caring about what others thought (and went through some pretty wild stages of styles to prove that...really...) and often got myself into trouble calling out other students and talking back to teachers when they would try to make an example at another student's expense. This trait has followed me today. I have a big, brutally honest mouth and a very low tolerance for what I like to refer to as "bullshit."

The point is, you need to trust yourself. I knew that I was going to be fine as long as I went after the things I wanted. To this day, the moments I am most unhappy are the moments I doubt myself and listen to any one's "bullshit."

It's so easy to get caught up in bullying. Everyone is guilty of it. It's human nature to put others down to raise your own status. Speaking from experience, this is so damaging to the person you are putting down along the way. It's a sad game.

As the boy walked away with tears in his eyes today, I wanted to call out to him. I wanted to tell him that it was going to be okay. That everything he was going through was bullshit. That none of it mattered. I've been so upset since that moment because I know that no matter how many times people said all of this to me when I was in his position, I refused to believe it.

It is true. I don't care who you are, there is a community and a passion out there for you. There are people like you who will relate to you and support you. I am painfully aware of how cheesy all of this sounds but for god's sake, celebrate your individuality! Own it! I promised myself I would move to New York and do what I am doing. When I realized that everything else along the way was bullshit, I refused to let myself down. I don't give a flying fuck what those kids thought back then, I was a cool dude. Yeah, I had man boobs and haircut that made me look like I was Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, but I was having a great time until I let someone tell me not to. I'm sure the boy that walked down 9th ave today, so upset, has something very special to offer.

I know I'm being preachy, and I'm sure this entry will be met with rolled eyes by a few people who read it. But if you're reading this and you can think of a person who may be hurting from any kind of harassment, try to reach out to them. Trust that you don't need to put other people down to raise yourself up. That's bullshit. If you're someone who is dealing with this kind of harassment and is wondering if it will ever go away, know that it will. This is just one moment of your life. Own whatever "quirky" or "strange" traits you may have. I promise you will be so much happier for it.

107 Comments:

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger Erik said...

Not preachy or annoying, just true and sad. Thanks for writing and sharing.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Traveler said...

This is awesome. Thank you.

 
At 11:41 PM, Blogger Rozzie said...

This was a really, really great blog post. I'm so glad you said something to those kids.

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger Tara said...

It's easy to forget, as an adult, how formative those middle/high school years are. at that age, it seems like school and those people who you see day to day are going to be around forever; that not being popular or having the right clothes will impact how the world sees you forever.

i dealt myself with bullying as a kid, but i had a friend who was tortured, terribly, from sixth grade on. to this day he has little to no self confidence. it destroys me to know how such cruelness at such a young age can impact someone well into adulthood.

it's still a huge problem, and i think it still truly needs to be addressed more then it is in schools. there are so many kids that will grow up to be better than the bullying, but there's just as many who won't ever get past it.

thanks for sharing, matt. it's amazing how one small instance in a day can result in such positive discussion.

 
At 11:50 PM, Blogger Morgan said...

This is SUCH an amazing entry! I have lived through times like this and theatre too has saved me(and my music) These outlets seem simple but are true treasures! Everyone has a home and that one thing in our lives that saves us!

Thank you for writing this and speaking up for all of us.

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing about that and being so truthful. I am proud to say that I am a fan of a person who stands up for what they believe in. You are truly someone that people can look up to.

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger Sarah Kaufman said...

Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for sharing so much of who you are and where you've been. Here's to loving yourself!

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much. this was amazing and i felt like you were writing about my life as well. i went to a horrible grade school, but then when i got involved in theatre my whole life changed around! now i am doing what i love:)

 
At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Jennie said...

This means so much to me, and many others, I'm sure. It brought tears to my eyes. It took me years to learn the things you speak of (heck, I'm still learning some of it), and I wish I could expedite the process for kids still in that horrible place today.

 
At 12:03 AM, Anonymous John said...

Great post! I was bullied and harassed all though middle school and high school. Especially in PE as the "ball gazer" joke was very popular in those days. I actually ended up switching to a private school with a great drama class so I guess things worked out the way they were supposed to.

 
At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, you made me cry! Not in the bad way, in the good way.

I was bullied when I was a kid, but not on the same level as you, and I'm just so glad you had the strength to rise above it.

You're an inspiration and I hope that you writing this blog makes a difference in someone's life.

 
At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As impressed by your voice as I've always been, this is the most impressive thing I've heard from you yet. It will resonate with some who need to hear it - whether from the one side of the situation or the other. This really speaks volumes about your character. Well done.

 
At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this...it was amazing. Great job of expressing what every bullied person feels, and how we should all react to it. Thank you for standing up and speaking out...

 
At 12:13 AM, Blogger melissa. said...

matt, you are SUCH a beautiful soul. an epitome of a ray of sunshine. thank you for all you do, and your way of thinking. xoxoxo

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Just when I think I couldn't love ya anymore!

I'm glad you said something. I was never bullied by name calling but I never did fit in. I was always shy and I had weird habits. It wasn't until I found a passion for theater that I found a group of friends that I could really connect to. And then Spring Awakening came along and I found even more friends that enjoyed what I enjoyed and those friendships have lasted! I've found true friends that like me despite my "quirky", "strange" traits.

Thanks for writing this entry!

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Ally said...

Thanks for writing this Matt. I think when people grow up and graduate they forget a lot of the absolutely terrible things kids are capable of. I'm glad you haven't.

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Kurtis said...

Wow both of those stories were very touching and heartbreaking. Although nothing that severe ever happened to me. I still think that anyone can relate if only partially with both situations. And if those experiences made you who they are today, then it's good to know that at least that much good came from them.

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish more people felt the way you do! Thank you for writing this.

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger Jory said...

This made me teary eyed.

I just finished reading the book "Warriors Don't Cry" about integration in the 50's and the EXACT same types of abuse that you went through and that this boy went through today happened over 50 years ago.

WHEN WILL IT END!? It's time for action, not just sympathy!! Thank you Matt for using your fame for good and hopefully inspiring others to continue to speak out.

 
At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Devon Ellington said...

You are not being preachy and you were right to intervene. Those that stand by and do nothing when they seem harm are more dangerous to society as a whole than anyone else.

Apathy = condonement.

You showed the courage of who you are at your core.

 
At 12:28 AM, Blogger Kim said...

This entry is amazing. Being in college, I can say that this kind of bullying sadly still exists on campuses. I just don't understand what is going through these kids' heads who bully others, and where their consciences are. It breaks my heart every time I see someone get hurt, and reading this entry just made me feel better about the frat boys who laughed at me and told me I didn't have enough courage to be a whore in the elevator five minutes ago. Bullying is such a huge issue that is often overlooked and reaching out to someone can save their life. I know high school was the worst time of my life, as it is for many, and the shit people gave me really brought me down. I really appreciate everything you had to say in this entry because it needs to be said and heard.

 
At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Ali said...

Truly Beautiful. I was in tears while reading this. People need to realize that what they say can truly take a toll on someone. I lost a friend because he came to believe what others called him was true, I miss him so much. Since losing him I make sure to live my life for me, not others and try to remind the people around me to do the same. You are an amazing writer and am so grateful that you wrote this. Thank you.

 
At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Joanthan Urbina said...

Thank you so much, this blog entry made me feel like I'm not alone. I'm 15, and I'm going through the same harassment as you did when you were young. I also feel like theater and singing is my outlet. So, again thank you for being a role model and for giving me hope that everything will be fine.

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Hi, Matt. I was so moved by your posting I felt I had to send you a note. I'm hoping that you will see it here. I'm a 49-year-old gay man who, like you, has found a way to celebrate individuality and channel it into positive, creative energy. I am a television producer and writer, and I am working right now on a movie project for Lifetime about cyberbullying (a modern-day technological extension of the bullying you described so eloquently). It breaks my heart when I see cruelty of any kind. Often it is borne of fear and ignorance, but that in no way excuses it. It simply makes me more committed to try, in my own small way, to educate and enlighten in the hopes that someday a boy like the 13-year-old you saw today won't have to endure what you witnessed. I'm enough of an optimist to believe that change is possible - that prejudice is learned, and therefore can be unlearned and prevented. Our paths crossed today for a reason. I started following you on Twitter literally last night, because a friend of mine had posted a video on Facebook of you and your bf singing "Lucky". I have been with my bf for 21 years now, and I love him more every single day. We live a bicoastal life - Atlanta (where he is right now) and Santa Monica (where I am right now) - and I was missing him so much last night. I sent him the link to your video, because it made me happy. It also made me curious about your career. I was already somewhat familiar with you, but I have to say - you are an incredibly talented man. And, your voice is, quite simply, beautiful. It was lovely to hear that voice again tonight in your post. I wanted to reach out to you to thank you. I hope someday we will meet and become friends. I have a feeling we are kindred spirits. Wishing you well. Jim Head (jimheadjr@gmail.com)

 
At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Matt!

 
At 1:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to that!

 
At 1:25 AM, Blogger Caroline Tyler said...

Hi Matt, thank you so much for your post, and for being brave enough to stand up for a stranger. Your writing is extremely eloquent. I am studying to be an elementary school teacher, I'm working on a BA in child and adolescent development, so issues like this are on my mind constantly. I think so many people identify with the bullied person, and hope to effect the world in ways that would change that experience for someone, or like you said, to tell them that it will all be alright. I think as people trying to make a difference, the best we can do is to help build the communities you were talking about, where youth feel accepted and valued. But I think its also extremely important not to label the bully as the "villain" that makes it all to simple. Although it is so hard, we have to wonder what has happened in those children's lives, that have enabled them to act in such a sad and disgusting manner? Those kids who used to spit on you, or those bullies outside your door today... what types of experiences, or family dynamics have they lived through that make it possible for them to be so cruel? It is a sad situation, and you (and all those writing you comments) are right that the bullied need support, but so do the bullies, they need those communities of love and empowerment... maybe even more so?

 
At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Andie (Caves) said...

Can I hug you now, please? (And I just saw Next Fall tonight so I couldn't possibly be more filled with love.) =]

 
At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh god i love you matt. people never listen to the cliches and always think that the kids are just 'fooling around.' it really needs to stop. thank you for sharing your story. and seeing where you are now should give people hope that things will get better because it's the truth. so much love sending your way!!!

<3

 
At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Delores said...

I too was bullied growing up for being overweight. But now I love who I am and I'll never let anyone change that. And I have the greatest friends in the world since I've learned to love and stand up for myself. Thanks for speaking up for those who don't have the courage to.

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Lauren said...

Matt,
Thanks for giving this the attention it deserves. Reading about the young girl in People magazine a while ago who commited suicide due to the intense bullying from her classmates absolutely broke my heart. I think youre a really good person for trying to help that kid and others like him because I believe that your words can really reach them. You're awesome:)

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is something everyone feels at some point, but that is still a very taboo subject to talk about. So thank you so much for sharing this.

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger allison said...

Thank you.

 
At 2:08 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

Thank you for this. I feel like bullying is being pushed aside more now than when I was in elementary and middle school. My little sister went through it in a way that I never had to and I completely agree with you.

 
At 2:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post from an unfortunate situation.

Oddly bullying has been discussed a lot today. Apparently for some people high school/jr high doesn't seem to end even when they are 30.

Glad you find your way out of it. Unfortunately when I was younger my brother's friend only found the Golden Gate Bridge as a means of escape.

 
At 3:06 AM, Blogger L. Millena said...

I was never physically abused, but the verbal was just as bad, if not worse. It just got to a point where the best way to deal with it was just to close myself off and to be the invisible guy.

I've been trying to find a way to integrate myself back into society since.

Things such as these posts are hardly trivial. This is how we connect and this is how people find out that there is more to life than what's immediate. It's comforting.

 
At 3:40 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

So many people dont understand that in the body of gaya, we are all one being. I was bullied...and I found the strength to fight back, I understand that others may not find that strength...But know that your spirit is just as strong as anyone who tries to put you down. My people have a saying....Husquequenatora
It means.."now I understand you.

Whitefeather.

 
At 3:53 AM, Anonymous Johanna said...

First of all (this will be a long comment, sorry >.< and I am sorry if something is wrong, english isn't my native language): Thank you so much for sharing.

I saw your video of "The New Class" (Spring Awakening) some time ago and there you mentioned your High School expirience and you being an outsider. I knew then that you were doing fine and that you grew stronger trough your experience. You just told it like you had already really accepted it as a part of your life and your past.

Through my education I learned a lot about psychologie and I know that children, pre-teens and teens have a desperate need to be accepted by people the same age. But I also learned, that we have the ability to stand it trough and grew stronger if we experience something bad.

When I was in school I had the same issues. It wasn't that obvious, they were more subtle and very mean, even some of the girls I thought were my friends that time. I was very lucky to have one friend who never gave a f*ck about anyone else and was a true friend.

I think you did the right thing trying to help. Even if this poor kid is still very sad, he know that not all people just ignore this and see him suffer. So it never is cheesy, preachy or annoying if it is just as true, honest and sad like this.
It's important to tell these kind of storys, even or especially when everyone thinks: We know that.
Well, perhaps they know, but they still don't change anything. Till then, they need to be reminded that these issues don't go away just because they "know" about them.

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger Vivian said...

So beautiful. It would be a lie if I said I wasn't crying

 
At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

This is truly amazing. Thank you!

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, astute pose. It's sad that, when we're in high school/middle school, we think that the way we are viewed by others is going to define who we are forever. I was bullied quite regularly in high school for being gay, liking theatre, etc. The word "faggot" being hurled in my direction was something I heard on a daily basis. I really thought that I would never be accepted by anyone--until I found a community of people who were like me. Just as you wrote: there is a place out there for everyone, filled with like-minded people who WILL accept you. I wish that boy could just know that a day will come when he'll be doing so much better than the other kids who taunted him.

 
At 9:38 AM, Anonymous S. said...

Matt,

Your blog was beautiful. There are too many instances of bullying happening. I've been in experiences where I've told some people about bullying I've seen going on and they've just said that "kids will be kids." I'll be forwarding this to some people who would benefit from feeling that they're not alone.

Thank you so much for writing about this overlooked issue.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

Thank you for writing this and thank you for speaking up. I was a smart, overweight, theater geek and that was a recipe for disaster, especially in the Jr. High I went to. I turned to theater and it became my outlet for all of the hurt that bullying inflicted. I was lucky, I know there are plenty of people who don't have that passion to get them through. It's sad that so many people have similar "war stories". Maybe if more people had the courage to stand up to it, like you, we wouldn't be having discussions about events like Columbine and tragic losses like Phoebe Prince.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Laurenisajedihaha said...

It's funny how so many stories are the same. Theatre saved me as well. I appreciate your story, and what you said to those kids. Who knows, maybe that kid is grateful to you now. I know I was grateful to the people who stepped in for me even though at the time it seemed like the most embarrassing thing in the world. When people say nothing and ignore that kind of stuff...that's the worst. Speaking up like you did was the best thing you could have done.

Thank you.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you :)

 
At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing this issue. Most of my senior English papers in high school were about bullying and the affects it had on people. I'm glad you stayed true to yourself and are such a fantastic role model.
Keep doing what you're doing. xx

 
At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Michael, from Dallas, TX said...

Matt,

Just when I thought the world was getting darker and darker, you go and and open the doors to a brighter day. Truly, an inspirational message, and truly heartfelt. It is so clear how big your heart is, and how much you care about your fellow man.

I had similar things happen to me in school, both for my weight and for being gay, and it's a relief that someone like you, who is so busy with work and in the public eye, takes the time to make a difference. You are a wonderful role model (whether you meant to be or not), and you are an inspiration to people everywhere, young and old.

Please don't ever stop being yourself, and please don't ever stop calling people out on bullshit. You are who you are, and who you are is amazing. God bless you, Matt Doyle.

Sincerely,

Michael, from Texas

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Monsieur Cinema said...

Thank you for your courage in sharing this with the world. And thank you for trying to help that kid. I, too, have been that kid. And even if I would've dismissed someone for telling me it would all be better eventually, the truth is I would've liked to see some kindness directed at me. It would've certainly helped with the dark cloud that always looms over people who are bullied.

You've also really hit the nail in the head with the part about community. Community is really what helps us to become brave enough to own our quirks and stand up for ourselves. You're an inspiration. Thank you for being a role model in a world that so lacks people willing to stand up against stuff like this.

Sincerely,
Rolando, from Mexico

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for writing this. I am still in school, and I am bullied every day. I have been for over nine years. I have tried to escape it by going to different schools, but the bullying has never stopped. It is less violent now, but still just as cruel.

People like you, who are willing to stand up for strangers, are rare, but so important. Sometimes, its to hard to fight back, and kids just need someone to speak for them. It may not seem like it, but I bet that boy appreciates you.

You have given me hope that things will get better and that I will be okay one day. I feel so lucky to be a fan of someone like you, and it makes me proud. You really are an inspiration. Thank you so much.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Emily Alice said...

Thank you for this, it's beautiful. Thank you for having the courage and confidence to share and to speak out. I completely agree with you about finding a passion. The one thing that gets me through these years is that I have total confidence that in just one year I'll be in college and away from all this (as you so eloquently put it) bullshit. I think that's what a lot of people who are in your middle school situation need to find: hope in tomorrow. I'm so grateful for people like you who help give it to those unable to find it on their own.

 
At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone incredibly close to my heart deals with much of this, and I'd like to thank everyone who reads this and especially you, Matt, for writing this and acknowledging that sometimes the most special people are the most bullied.

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've just saved me.

Thanks.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

I am joining in with all of the other thank yous. Really, Matt, this is beautiful and everything about it is true. People bullied the shit out of me in middle school (mostly girl bullying, so nothing physical, but all of my self esteem was pretty much gone by the time I graduated eighth grade and it still hasn't fully recovered). Believe it or not, I was actually really outgoing when I was younger, but once I hit high school I decided that being invisible was better than being a target for being made fun of constantly like I was in middle school and kind of stopped socializing. The whole theatre community really is a great place, even if I'm involved as a fan instead of someone who performs in it. I mean, I've loved theatre my whole life, but around sophmore year when I really started getting involved with the actual community, I finally began to feel like I was a part of something (partially thanks to you, so thank you)! I doubt that anyone in that community would ever remark to their friend, totally aware that I was within earshot, that the risers for choir were "soooo much more spacious when she wasn't here!" when I had been out sick for two months. It's not that bad anymore, but even just thinking back on all of that bullying is a little bit painful. I hope that someday I'm able to come back out of my shell enough to actively fight back against bullying like you, but until then I'm glad that the overweight, pimply thirteen-year-olds have people like you to look after them.

 
At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

I understand exactly what you mean.
A couple weeks ago was the day of silence in schools for a gay/straight alliance. Kids were supposed to go silent to protest bullying of gay kids (mainly, but any kind of bullying was being protested). And I did.
After school ended, I was talking to a friend I have who's gay. He told me he appreciated what I did, but no matter what, people like him were "always going to be bullied."
I thought that very attitude was upsetting, but I suppose he's right. As long as there's insecure people around, others will get put down. It's just nice to see people who tell you that eventually, you'll come out ok. :)
Thanks.

 
At 6:46 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I know it's been said again, and again....what you wrote is beautiful....and true. Thank you from all of us overweight, pimply teens who wanted nothing more than to be loved and left alone.

 
At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Andrew Stern said...

As the Board President of an organization called Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (I grew up on Long Island, and was a high school dropout because of gay bullying) there are no words to express my thanks for your passionate and eloquent words. Your greatness of talent is matched only by your greatness of heart. You are a man of compassion and conviction. I am touched deeply by your words.

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Cameron said...

Matt, I want to thank you for this incredible post. It was hard to read, because I see myself in your own experiences and the experiences of the boy, and it takes me back to a time in my life when I allowed other people to make me feel worthless, simply because I was "different". People like you who stand and try to make a difference are the ones who truly impact peoples' lives. So, again, thank you. I wish the world had thousands of people like you.

 
At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you opened Pandora's box with this one, huh? I'll try not to lean toward the melo-dramatic here, but want to say this. I've never gone back to read a post the next day, until this one. We've all seen or experienced or read about bullying, but for some reason, I can't get your post out of my mind. Maybe because not many people who were bullied, but then go on to be successful, talk about it. They either don't want anyone to think that they were ever thought of as less cool than they are now, thereby potentially hurting their image (a crock), or they don't want to relive it. I'm glad you're courageous and confident enough to be an exception (thereby solidifying your image as a class act and gracious, humble person). As I finished reading the post again this morning, my little boy woke up and I gave him his big good morning squeeze. The tears that welled up in my eyes were a surprise and I found myself thinking "Dear God, please don't let anyone ever be cruel to this precious little person." Your parents (and all parents) felt the same way and just as yours couldn't be at school to protect you 100%, neither will I be able to and it makes me nauseous. I'm sure my son couldn't breathe by this point, so I reluctantly let him down to play. I imagine that you and I have little in common aside from a love of music and theater, but your post really really got me for some reason. It scared me, which is good. I'm so impressed that you shared it. Do more of that when the mood strikes, it really does reach wide and makes a difference, even if only to one perplexed little boy whose mommy won't stop squeezing him today. I'm hoping that now that I've gotten this comment out, the visuals will stop running in my mind!

 
At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just re-read this. It is still amazing.

One tiny little detail: did you mean moved from San Francisco, not to San Francisco?

 
At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rolling your eyes at this, now *that* would be bullshit! You're a beautiful person, Matt. I'm so, so glad that you found the strength to overcome the bullies and go to New York and make your dreams come true. This will probably sound lame/weird/whatever, but if I'm having a bad day at work, I'll put on my Matt Doyle playlist on my iPod and listening to your amazing voice always makes things brighter. So thank you for that, and for being the kind of person who tries to help the kid on the street being bullied instead of just walking on by.

 
At 1:14 AM, Blogger Aries said...

A very moving post, Matt. Lets all hope bullying would diminish with our generation.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Victoria said...

I'm blown away, Matt. Really, I am. What a beautiful and truly inspiring posts. I've gone through a lot of problems with my image and how people see me, so this really touched me. Thank you.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Simply saying: Thank you

And do keep on being honest and saying something against bullshit like this. :)

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Morgan said...

This post stayed with me and caused me to change my lesson on the spot at work. My theatre lesson on finding light your (we all know how important that is) with the 3rd graders on friday became a lecture on bullying and then learning the lyrics to the song imagine. Unfortunately this was triggered by the 3rd grade 'bullies' not only torturing the other students in my program, but attempting to do so to the teachers, myself included! As bad as things were when we were in school, I'm afraid things are much worse today!

Thank you so much for the inspiration for the lesson change!

"Imagine all the people sharing all the world... You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us. And the world will live as one"

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger Morgan said...

This post stayed with me and caused me to change my lesson on the spot at work. My theatre lesson on finding light your (we all know how important that is) with the 3rd graders on friday became a lecture on bullying and then learning the lyrics to the song imagine. Unfortunately this was triggered by the 3rd grade 'bullies' not only torturing the other students in my program, but attempting to do so to the teachers, myself included! As bad as things were when we were in school, I'm afraid things are much worse today!

Thank you so much for the inspiration for the lesson change!

"Imagine all the people sharing all the world... You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us. And the world will live as one"

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Kats said...

Not preachy, it needed to be said. Even if these things are chliche, they are the ideals that humans have forgotten to,and really need to, own.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Trevor said...

Oh my goodness Matt. This brought tears to my eyes. As a future teacher who is regularly in schools, I see bullying every day and believe me I stop it. I can totally empathize with you on this. Thank you for sharing!

 
At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You brought tears to my eyes with your blog. It brought me back to High School (20 years later I remember the teases and the taunts quite well). Thank you for your sincere honesty and your candor. What a beautiful post!
If you ever find time in your busy schedule, look up an author by the name of Jodee Blanco. She wrote a wonderful book about her experience with bullies and how it shaped her as a person. Her book is a must read for all who have dealt with this on a first hand basis.
Keep being real and thank you once again! I'm blessed that my daughter looks up to you (she met you last year at Bye Bye Birdie Stage Door and you've been her favorite ever since).

 
At 12:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) You make me smile.

 
At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to take anything away from your blog because I believe that you have touched a lot of people by writing it, but how do you rationalize talking about tolerance and name calling when you are involved in "The Audition" video? The video uses the word "Retard" for a laugh and caused a lot of pain. It was initially taken down with an apology for those offended but it was put back up two weeks later with full knowledge that it caused pain to many people.

Do you not realize that "retard" is used as frequently as a tool for bullies as the word that offends you and it is as scarring to a person who receives that abuse? Would you have thought it was funny if they called the kid a "retard" and kept on walking? Is it only derogatory gay-themed offensive words that are included in your definition of intolerance and the differences of others are fair game? If so, would it be fine if I made a video using the word that offended you for a cheap laugh since that word doesn't apply to me?

You obviously have enough fame to make an impression with your words and actions. With your words, you claim to have knowledge of the impact using derogatory words can have on a person. By being in that video, your actions show a great insensitivity to any other issue than gay related themes as you were not brave enough to use the most derogatory term or equally offensive impression when stating the character was gay.

I'm sure you have heard that there has been a lot of discussion about this hypocrisy on various message boards that are not censored like the comments on the youtube and Broadwayworld have been. Anyone stating an opinion related to the apparent hypocrisy of the blog versus the video is met with responses, such as; "You are a retard," "Go die in a fire," "You are a retarded troll" and putting up links to other videos mocking the mentally challenged, as well as many others.

Was that your intention while being a part of this video? Do you want the young people who you have a great impression on using these words to cyberbully others out of the right to their opinion? If you do because

1- you do not comprehend that the word "retard" is as offensive and cruel as the word that offends you.

or

2-You just don't care about any other groups torment and think it is funny.

then you are as guilty of intolerance as the kids picking on the young boy in the school yard.

 
At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Juliane said...

I just realized how lucky I am to have people around me who understands me and who cares about me, an lets not forget; who are just as crazy as I am :-)

After I read this the sun shone. Literally.

 
At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Matt, I like your songs because they always seem to come straight from the heart.
Now I know they don't only seem to come from the heart. You put your heart and soul in your work, because that's how you do everything.
Thank you for caring and speaking up.

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

You are one of my heroes :) Thank you for showing others why :)

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Therese said...

You are a part of making every day of my life a fantastic day.

Thank You for being such a wonderful person :-)

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t usually post comments on these things, but I was so moved by your blog that I just had to say Thank You for writing this. I had a remarkably similar experience to yours after changing from a public middle school to a small private one, where the bullying was constant and sometimes violent. I was lucky to break free of it after beginning at a new high school, but the emotional scars are still there. Looking back now, what perhaps disturbs me most is that teachers regularly witnessed the abuse and when I ran to them for help they, like your PE teacher, literally turned their backs. I hope all the current and future teachers out there reading your blog take your message to heart as well. Your words and your voice touch more people than you’ll ever know. Well done, Matt. Peace and Love . . .

 
At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Carrie said...

Hey Matt,

One of the previous commenters mentioned that you don't care and that you're guilty of being intolerant, among other things. First of all, I'd delete what he or she said because its total bullshit (that commenter could have been a bully as well). Second of all, the fact that you had the courage to write about your own high school experiences (and after what you witnessed with the group of kids) shows that you obviously DO care for other people and that you're also compassionate.

I thought your post was not only very well written, but also heartfelt. Thanks for writing and for having a voice. :)

 
At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Chad said...

Thank you for posting this, Matt

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Franco Marciano said...

Thanks Matt for writing this and trying to do something in regards to the bullying you witnessed. Often times, like you said, we turn a blind eye to what seems "normal", and more often than not, stay out of it. I think the more people are compelled to speak out against it the way you did here, the more it will hopefully encourage others to take action on it in their lives.

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Kiet said...

Thank you so much for your honesty and insight.

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I needed to hear that, about owning your identity and quirks, trusting yourself, and not listening to others' bullshit. At 30, I'm going through a huge transition of my own (career-wise and divorce). I was that kid that was bullied in school, and it changed me. I didn't fare much better emotionally in my marriage. I'm still trying to get myself back from it. I can relate to what you said in the blog, and gain strength from it. Thank you.

 
At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me I'm not alone.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Emily Alice said...

I know this post is from a few days ago. Just wanted to mention that it was so powerful I haven't been able to get it off my mind all week. Being aware has made me notice a lot more bullying that goes on around me that I often don't even notice.. thank you for this eye opener.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Emily Alice said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

Nicole likes this.

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you go into the school and tell them what you saw?

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for writing this :D I experienced for the first time today that once you're out some people think that the fact that you're makes it ok for them to treat you badly. Your post made me remember that it's ok that i've lost my best friend because of who i am, because there will always be people who are supportive :] thank you!

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I wish there were more amazing people out there like you! This is a very similar story I see played over and over as a public school teacher who works hard to combat bullying daily!

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Matt, beautiful post. Happy birthday by the way!

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to say that that was extremely touching and not in the least bit typical or average a statement. I myself was bullied and made an outcast for years, and I still deal with the ill effects of these issues as a teenager, and theatre has become a huge escape for myself as well. It truly changed my life. This is an excellent blog and it's wonderful to hear someone who has the ability to influence others more so than some like myself, saying something and sticking up for honesty and equality. Thank you that was very uplifting.

 
At 2:15 AM, Blogger broadwaybaby93 said...

This definitely has me in tears. I've been there. I was bullied all through elementary and middle school. Now I'm in my Junior year, and I've just hit the "say what you want, I'm me and proud of it" realization. I'm starting to develop a backbone. I'm not prepared to tolerate bullying of any sort, whether it's directed at me, or somebody else. People don't realize how much it hurts. Matt, I have so much respect for you for sharing this and putting it out there. Thank you!

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Michael, from Dallas, TX said...

in response to the comment by anonymous about the audition video...

do you personally call outrage against any and all people who make jokes about ANY group of people? for instance, do you call outrage when a stand up comedian makes a joke about blacks? or gays? or any other group? i have to admit that i doubt that you do on every occasion.

my point is, some people have a sense of humor about things, while others do not. while some people find it funny to say "that's so gay," or call random people "fags," i do not. it's just a matter of taste.

no one involved in the video, as far as i know, has ever made any statements that they agree with the CHARACTER portrayed by mr. taylor. after all, it's a CHARACTER, not their own beliefs. the joke was about the actor being an idiot, not about making fun of mentally challenged people.

i really don't get how people can't get this. it was a PERFORMANCE. Not a call to action, and not a manifesto on how to treat people affected with this type of handicap.

i care very much for the handicapped, be it mentally, physically, or any other way, and yet i found the video hilarious. because i understand that it's not meant as a statement on these kinds of people. it's meant to be FUNNY. some find it so. others do not. if you don't like it, don't watch it. it's that simple.

as for calling matt intolerant...obviously you've never met the boy. he's kind, generous, and a big hearted soul who i would argue is what we need more of in this world.

and for matt, i've met you a couple times at stage door, and once backstage at Spring Awakening, and you were the kindest, sweetest, and most gracious person, along with blake daniel, blake bashoff, and jonathan groff. so whatever this particular anonymous says, know that not all of us (in fact, most of us) think you're a great guy. and we wish you the best.

peace.

--Michael

PS--I'm signing by name because I stand by what I write. I don't hide behind a computer.

 
At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved u in gossip girl, and still loved you since then. What this blog has helped me with, I cannot explain. So thank you, for being you and for sharing everything you do xoxo <3

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Mr Lonely said...

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At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i'm in love.... lol. but seriously, thank you. :)

 
At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Jello from Guam said...

Matt . . . thank you . . .

I just want to say, I have been in your situation many times, and at one moment I almost committed suicide . . . but I guess time changes people and their personalities (some slower than others).

I came out to my friends when I was in the 8th grade and the boys just made fun of me and mocked me and my personality. Like you, I really think the theater made me move on. Today I'm about to graduate from high school, and a lot of the guys come up to me and they first apologize for what they did when they were younger and they promised they won't harass any other homosexual out there.

After reading your blog post, I guess I should do something too, when I here "faggot" or some or a rather. I say the occasional "don't say that" but I guess I'm pretty passive most of the time.

Well yeah, thank you Matt for just . . . reminding us all our ethics and values :)

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger Psychopathic Sanity said...

you have no idea how much this article touched me, i've never actually fit in at school when i was younger, seeing how i've moved around to six or so different schools. it took me a couple years to actually open up to people, and i don't know, i'm still pretty awkward around people who aren't in my out of school theater troupe. i've had it easy though, i don't understand how people could do this to others. i have a friend who knows that he is bisexual, yet he's still afraid to come out of the closet because of what others will think. and he's a six foot plus guy who's pretty strongly built. and really, i can't wait to get out of high school and to leave behind all of the chaos and insanity that comes along with it.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Cam_4 said...

I see this every day as a teacher and spend a lot of time talking to the kids I teach about bullying and how to treat other people. I just hope it makes a difference.
Just yesterday I had a talk with a kid who out of the blue said he hates gay people. He's 9!!! It's so sad because he's probably just repeating something he might even have heard at home.
But then again I have also had a pupil, who was 9 at the time, who stood up to a classmate who said gay people were disgusting. Before I had a chance to say anything he looked at the person and said. "It's just 2 people who love eachother. What's wrong about that?"
I wish there were more people out there willing to speak up when they see something like what you saw. I hope you'll keep speaking up.
He might not have looked like he appreciated what you did but you showed him that what they were doing was wrong! And that's important!!

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Thank you, Matt. Beautiful and necessary. Thank you.

 
At 8:23 PM, Blogger Shane said...

That was a great post, actually. It's wonderful that you said that to those assholes on the street. I was bullied in elementary school. But you're completely right, if you just stick to who you are and do you, things get better. Now, in high school, I'm really popular, so it did all work out.

You seem like a really cool dude. And although I've never seen Spring Awakening in its entirety (a shame, but I missed it at the Fox), you were amazing as Hanschen. When the movie comes out, I will go see it. It would be a big plus if you played Hanschen in it. But thank you once again, for being so talented and so nice.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

Thank you. You are a very inspirational young performer in the Broadway community. I hope you are around for a long time!

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Ann Jove Guasis said...

Bullying is one kind of thing that may sound something silly and just for children but unfortunately it's more than that. Thank You for the very good blog post.

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger yoonzena said...

Oh boy do I wish you'd been around when I was little and people picked on me because I was the only Asian kid in what seemed like the whole Universe. Only, you were probably too young to walk then. I wish you'd said to those guys to leave me alone. Well, it's too late now, most of them OD'ed anyway. And you and I are still here :-) (Actually, we are half the globe apart but we're both trying to make a little difference)

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger yoonzena said...

Oh boy do I wish you'd been around when I was little and people picked on me because I was the only Asian kid in what seemed like the whole Universe. Only, you were probably too young to walk then. I wish you'd said to those guys to leave me alone. Well, it's too late now, most of them OD'ed anyway. And you and I are still here :-) (Actually, we are half the globe apart but we're both trying to make a little difference)

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger luxsan said...

Thank you so mach for sharing this, it really opened my eyes and i know how it feels to be bullyed and the sad thing is that i grow-up doing the something, and i am going to stop it to try and end this cycle.

 
At 4:02 AM, Blogger Angel52 said...

I've never known how it felt to be bullied or to bully someone. It's something not very known in our country. But this blog suddenly reminded me of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why when you said, "But if you're reading this and you can think of a person who may be hurting from any kind of harassment, try to reach out to them." The female protagonist (who killed herself) was being provoked by her schoolmates by being 'played' and bullied by people in her school. Then the male protagonist tried to reach out but it seemed that he didn't try hard enough, which eventually led to the death of the female. After he heard the suicide tapes of the female, he noticed this other girl at school who seemed to have withdrawn all of a sudden and then he realized that that girl must've been undergoing the same thing the other girl has gone through in the past that led to her death. At the end, he ran after the girl to make friends with her. People shouldn't really be ignorant. This was a good blog. :)

 

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