Taylor Swift has offered a struggling fan some sage advice online after he opened up about his tormentors at school in a Tumblr post.
Caillou Pettis didn’t expect a response from his favourite pop star when he revealed all about his school bullying hell, explaining class mates poked fun at his name and his body and beat him up, but Swift was quick to make sure he knew she had read his post.
Replying on Tumblr, the singer wrote, “I was really shocked to hear you say that you’d been bullied because of your name because the first thing I thought when I saw it was ‘woah, Caillou is such a cool name’. Honestly. I thought it was so cool because it’s different, and herein lies our issue: you will always be criticized and teased and bullied for things that make you different, but usually those things will be what set you apart.
“The things that set you apart from the pack, the things that you once thought were your weaknesses will someday become your strengths. So if they say you’re weird or annoying or strange or too this or not enough that, maybe it’s because you threaten them. Maybe you threaten them because you’re not the norm. And if you’re not the norm, give yourself a standing ovation.
“Now I want to tell you that I think you look great the way you are. No one has the right to criticize you for how your body looks, but they will. One thing I’ve learned from experiencing this exact kind of criticism is that no one else can label your body except for you. No one gets to have a place in your mind if they weren’t invited there by you. So please do me this one favor: Don’t let their ugly words into your beautiful mind.”
Swift also addressed the violence Pettis had experienced at school, adding, “If someone punches you again, call the police and report them because that is assault. I’m serious. There’s no direct penalty for bullying with words (except karma) but no one is allowed to hit you. Ever.”
She concluded the note by stating, “Thanks for telling me your story and for being so strong. Proud of you, Caillou Pettis.”