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  • Prevention by Attention

Tiara McKinney: A Struggle With Bullying

Updated: Jan 1, 2019

Tiara McKinney

Student at The Lawrenceville School

Age: 15


“Speak faster," they said. The words echoed through my head, making me feel the usual hot, uncomfortable warmth of embarrassment. Did I really talk as slow as everyone said? Person after person attempting to figure out what went wrong, why I couldn’t speed up my talking, why I couldn’t just “be normal."


Meeting someone never felt normal because of the questions that came afterwards, which usually went around the lines of, “Why does your child talk like that?” The long times I spent working on my talking just to be normal, just to stop the dragging. A notable conversation was when I insisted that my sister correct any word or phrase that I said slowly.

It was a struggle for years, and even when I finally sped up my speech, people still had their input on it, claiming that I didn’t talk Bahamian and that I faked my voice. As if there is a Bahamian way to talk.


The truth is that I only found a problem with my speech in the beginning because others made me feel that way. Without realizing this, I had criticized myself and allowed this to affect me for so long. You should be content with yourself and never allow anyone’s opinions to lower your self-image.


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