Zakk Silveira, lead vocalist and guitarist for the UPstanding band, Galvanized Souls, shares his story about how he was bullied when he was younger and how Colin's story touched his heart. Zakk shares his story as part of our #LendYourVoice campaign with the band for National Bullying Prevention Month.
By Zakk Silveira
The first time I was bullied was in middle school. It all started because I liked to take the time to dress up to go to school. I wore button up shirts, bow ties, ties… I guess some of the other kids thought there was something wrong with that. It seemed like a strange reason to make fun of someone to me, but that didn’t stop them. Other kids called me “gay” or “homo” on a daily basis. It didn’t really make any sense to me—why would you make fun of someone for something so simple? That didn’t stop it from hurting, though.
No matter how bad it got, I never told anyone about it. No kid in middle school wants to be known as the “tattle-tale” or “snitch.” You don’t want to have to carry that through the next couple years, because you’re scared it’s just going to make it worse.
It can get pretty crazy. It got to the point where I felt like I was totally worthless, like everyone else was better than me. Sort of like I was at the bottom of the food chain. There were even times I thought about hurting myself.
All of us in Galvanized Souls have had experience with bullying. We hear from literally hundreds, maybe thousands of our fans who are dealing with bullying. It’s really hard to hear what so many kids are going through, because we all know what it feels like. Hearing how much pain so many of our fans are in motivated us to write our song, “Carry On.” It’s our way of trying to respond to those fans and let them know that they can get through whatever they are facing, that there is hope.
After we wrote “Carry On,” we heard about Colin, whose mom had created a Facebook page for him to help with the feelings of loneliness and isolation he was experiencing due to being bullied. When we first met Colin, it was surprising, because he is so normal, just a normal kid. It was confusing, because we couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to bully Colin. He was actually just like me when I was his age. He likes Doctor Who, Mario Brothers; he even likes to dress up like me. We all realized that he would be perfect to star in our “Carry On” music video, because his story exemplified exactly what we were trying to say with that song.
It’s kind of crazy to think about, but “carrying on” is what got all of us in Galvanized Souls to this point; what made it possible for us to write this song and meet Colin and make this music video. "Carrying on" helped us go from those days of being bullied to the amazing experiences we’re having now. It’s a perfect example, just like Colin’s story, of the message we are trying to get through to people. I hope that people can see that and believe that they can carry on too.
PSA: "BE AN UPSTANDER!" GALVANIZED SOULS FT. COLIN
Zakk Silveira, plays guitar and sings lead vocals for the alternative rock band, Galvanized Souls. He is part of the band whose core members are four young Southern California musicians, whose enthusiasm and dedication to music pushes their abilities well beyond their years.
Are you inspired by the Galvanized Souls' song "Carry On?" Watch this young UPstander, Coleman Steele, sing his own rendition to Sam Smith's song "Stay With Me." You can never be too young to #LENDYOURVOICE and sing! Listen to his song titled "Play With Me!"