The Trumpet



He stands at 6ft, 6in. tall, but he did not always stand tall amidst the bullying he was often subjected to; now 23, O’Jay is an overcomer who is ready to take the world by storm.

Cole strikes a highly masculated pose in a turquoise-emerald button front shirt and blue denim jeans.
Photo by: Jaleel James-Vizoneer’s Studios

The Genesis

Which cartoon to watch, choosing what to have for a snack and worrying about which bag is prettier to take to school would be priorities on the worry list for the typical 8-year-old.  For 8-year-old O’Jay Cole, however, bullying was high on his priority worry list.

“I was this little slim thing, so I was being pushed around.”

Being known as the “soft’ one, contributed greatly to the continuation of his bullying cycle that began in primary school, as others would usually take advantage of him, knowing he would not retaliate.

The Struggle

With such an early beginning, the problem of being bullied escalated through high school and along with it came other problems.

“In high school, I was very expressive. Young men aren’t often expressive. They (other male high school students) saw this as being feminine and so they weren’t happy about it.”

In a country and culture where same-sex relationships or any form of transsexual orientation or behaviour is not seen as tolerable behaviour, O’Jay’s vibrant and outlandish personality and how he was perceived, made him quite unpopular with many of his male peers in High School.  He was stigmatized rather unfairly in his opinion, as the reason why he was stigmatized was not based off correct assumptions. This stigmatization often led to bouts of depression and fueled a constant struggle with correct self-image, self-acceptance and self-worth. When asked if he defended himself, O’Jay said he did not, as he does not have a response to bullying, since all bullies simply bark and bark until you learn to ignore them.

Overcomer’s life

It never really stops, according to O’Jay, as still today he gets bullied in subtle and not so subtle ways, though not as prevalent or outright as in his former years. Becoming more mature and developing a stronger backbone, has helped O’Jay face bullying and many other problems in life.

On the path towards self-acceptance, it was in trying to change his personality in a bid to please others that a friend helped him to realize that he was unique and should remain so.

“You are utterly defeated when you change to fit the bully’s idea of who you should be. A bully cannot dictate my life, or how I should act. My God is a God of variety; we don’t all look the same, why should we all have the same personality?”

Speaking about one the most poignant lessons that he has learnt, O’Jay cites: “I’ve learnt that you can’t apologize for your personality. I’ve learnt that the greatest loss one can have is (to lose) his/her identity. I am now a confident force. This “personality” that was hated so much is something I now use to brand myself.”

Operation Slay

O’Jay is currently a third year Media and Communication student, with an emphasis in Public relations, at the Department of Communication Studies, Northern Caribbean University (NCU). He has, during his tenure, marched as an honour roll student, within the University, and is a gold scholar (student who maintains a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 and above) awardee with the communications department. His dream is to one day become the Chief Public Relations Officer for an established Tourism Franchise/ Hotel and has a great passion for modelling.

His word of encouragement to people or youths who are being bullied is this: “Hold on. It gets easier with prayer; never change to fit the ideas of others. Only change if God demands the change. Live life to the fullest. Use what you are bullied for as your strength, let it be your asset. Be strong, believe in your Creator, and slay!”

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