Pinellas teen says music helped deal with bullying

Pinellas teen says music helped deal with bullying

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To look at Carmen Brandy, you would never guess she used to have trouble making friends. Or that she had suffered from such intense bullying that she contemplated suicide and begged her parents to switch schools.

Now, at 14 years old, Brandy has a budding career as a singer and song writer. She's in 9th grade now but says she was bullied from 5th grade through 7th grade by schoolmates who just didn't like her.

"I'll put it this way," Brandy said. "I'm just glad that I'm still here and that I have the chance to tell my testimony."

Brandy says her bullies were never physical, but the emotional strain of constantly being picked on and excluded wore on her. She'd sit down at the lunch table and everyone else would leave. She'd make a new friend and then that person would be excluded too.

Related story: 09/18/2013 Boy asks Santa to make bullying stop

"It's a persistent thing," Brandy said. "Not just two times a day, not just three times a day. It's like a hundred times a day. Someone says something, looks at you in such a cruel way, and it's just so hard to handle."

Brandy turned to her music to vent.

But the bullying didn't stop until she changed schools in 8th grade. She got counseling, made friends, pursued her music and felt better. But this year, all those sad feelings came rushing back when she heard the story of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick of Polk County. She jumped to her death after relentless cyber bullying.

Related story: 09/11/2013 Polk teen's death spurs social media conversation

"I had a lot of similar things that she went through," Brandy said.

So Brandy is sharing her anti-bullying message with other young people. She's served on bullying panels at local schools, and says she wants to get the message out to other kids to stand up to bullies and tell someone.

Related story: 09/23/2013 Polk Cyberbullying death prompts action

"I don't want to just sing some cliché love song," Brandy said. "I also want to talk to young girls, to talk to guys as well, {to tell them} that I totally understand. I get it."

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