Conchita Wurst was in Prague back in August for a live performance at Prague Pride. So why am I talking about that today?
Because a video was just uploaded to YouTube by the organizers of Prague Pride. A video that was recorded back then, and in which Conchita Wurst was asked “What is your personal recipe against bullying?”
And in true Conchita style, her answer showed her to be far more wise than her years might imply, as she explained, “Unfortunately, you can’t change anyone but yourself.”
An important message, as so many people do try to change other people. Only to discover that, unless they actually want to behave a different way than they are behaving, it really is impossible.
But, when it comes to bullying, Conchita does have a message for people who may be being bullied. And it’s a message that is even more powerful when you consider where she came from, and how her life was impacted for so many years by the bullying her alter ego, Tom Neuwirth, received at the hands of people far weaker than himself.
“And don’t get me wrong. When it comes to bullying, I don’t want to say that there’s something wrong with you. But you have to change your mindset when it comes to people bullying you. Don’t give them the power to hurt you.
And I think that’s just possible if you know who you are. If you know there are people out there who love you the way you are. At the end of the day, if there is a recipe, trust in yourself and concentrate on the good things in life, and don’t give them the power to overshadow your happiness”.
And to me, someone who finds Conchita Wurst often makes me look at things in a different way, and who teaches me more than many others can (and she laughed at me when I told her that — but, sorry, Conchita, you know it’s true), part of that message is something I would have vehemently disagreed with her about only a year ago.
Because when I first came across Conchita Wurst, learned her story, and found out how many years Tom Neuwirth dealt with bullying at the hands of fools, (a huge percentage of his teenage years, in case you don’t know that), I have to admit I felt sorry for her (him).
But then, the more I listened to her talk about what had happened to her (him) in the past, and the more I heard her explain her perspective now, any ideas of feeling bad for her quickly went away.
Because I don’t think you can feel sorry for someone who used the awful things that happened to them in the past to move themselves forward to better things in the future. Someone who refused to feel sorry for themselves, because they knew nothing good comes from that. And someone who would not allow the bullies to push her down and keep her down, because she didn’t want to hand her power to them, as that would make them win.
Besides, I have a philosophy about Conchita Wurst.
I think, if Tom Neuwirth had lived a different childhood, a childhood without that bullying and without being forced to spend so much of his time in the attic of his parents’ home alone, creating a better world for himself in his head, I doubt Conchita Wurst would actually exist today.
Because someone as strong and as unique as Conchita comes out of an awful lot of pain. And without that pain, Tom Neuwirth would never have had a reason to bring her to life. Nor would he now be so strong.
So, if you’re in the same situation Tom Neuwirth once was, take a leaf out of his book and look at what you can do with all that pain. And instead of turning it inward and letting it hurt yourself, why not turn it outward and put it to good use?
He did, and look where it got him.
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