I was pointed to an article last night, about a little girl named Katie. Katie is 7 and she loves Star Wars. Katie has a Star Wars water bottle that she very excitedly chose for the new school year to match her backpack.
Sounds good right? Normal kid stuff? Well, the boys at her school told her that Star Wars was only for boys. They teased her so much that she decided to leave her favorite water bottle at home and take a pink one to school instead.
But Katie’s mom is awesome and she realized that there was a problem. After asking Katie why she wanted to swap bottles, Katie broke down in tears and told her mom what was going on. She loved Star Wars and Star Wars is only for boys so she couldn’t use that water bottle ever again.
Katie’s mom, Carrie, is a blogger. She blogs about life with an adopted child (Katie) on a Chicago blogging site. She wrote a post about teasing and the slippery slope to bullying and how she was sad that it had already started for Katie, even at age 7. She wrote about talking to Katie and telling her that she can like whatever she wants- her water bottle is perfect for Katie.
Carrie asked, almost as an aside, for female Star Wars fans to write to Katie and let her know that she wasn’t alone. A few readers of Carrie’s blog spread the message to their own blogs and suddenly, Katie was viral.
Literally thousands of people came out to tell Katie that it’s okay to be a Star Wars fan. It’s okay to love the things you love and be the person that you were always intended to be. And the really amazing part was that all of these people began sharing their stories of being different, of being picked on and feeling different because of the things that they were passionate about.
The thing that came out of all of that, at least for me, is how similar all the stories were. How many people had been picked on, who had been forced to muddle through childhood labeled as “different” because they found something that engaged them so much that they just couldn’t give it up, even to fit into what society had determined was “normal.”