The one and only Jackson Bezzant
The first is that every person -- even bullies -- is dealing with some challenge in life that makes them feel small sometimes, feel sad and alone. It may be looks, health, a family situation, disability, poverty, weight, or something else entirely. It may be something less serious than Treacher Collins syndrome, it may be something a whole lot worse. But I promise you, you're not the only one. We're all struggling with something.
Which brings me to the second thing I want you to know, Jackson. We live in a culture where people often mistake how you look for how you are. They think you're a good person if you look like a movie star, or you're bad if you don't.
But that's silly. Nobody can know who you are just by looking at you. They can't know how smart you are, how nice you are, or what makes you laugh. They can't know your favorite movie or flavor of ice cream. So when people who only know your face try to tell you who you are, why should you listen?
The answer is, you shouldn't.
Always remember, Jackson, you are not your cheekbones. You are not your ears. You are not your eyes or your voice. No, you are the one and only Jackson Bezzant. Never let your condition -- or your bullies -- define what that means. Make sure you define that for yourself.
Like I said, Jackson, everybody has something. The trick is to make sure your "something" doesn't also have you.
(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)