I'm 22. Way back when I was in elementary school I was bullied. Growing up I was a sensitive girl. If my friends were busy I thought it meant they just didn't want to play with me. From first to fourth grade i was constantly bullied. I had things spit at me at lunch and I was called names. Even though I had many friends this kept constantly happening. When fifth grade rolled around I moved. Fresh start? Nope. I was picked on again. I then took it upon myself to take a stand. I became the bully. Now I knew bullying was wrong but I wanted to fit in so badly that I somehow became friends with the mean girls in middle school. from sixth to eighth grade I was pretty terrible. I am so ashamed to say it to this day. Yet even though I was well liked and was on top, i STILL got bullied. I was still made fun of every day. I even had a kid tell me he was going to kill me. Come high school i did probably the worst thing i could have done in my school. I joined our color guard with the marching band. Hey, I loved the sport. I loved the movement and dancing. I loved the music, and most of all I loved winning and having people at other schools look up to us. Yet in class once again I was constantly made fun of. It didn't matter that in our school of nearly 6000 (yes that is six THOUSAND) kids we were state champs, regional champs, and national finalist years in a row. All kids saw were that we were in marching band so that meant we were weird or dumb or nerdy or whatever. By this time I had grown out of my phase of trying to fit in. My self esteem was pretty flat. I had cut myself multiple times trying to actually feel something again. But nothing. For four years i fit in with a great group of people after school but during I was an outcast. I had developed anxiety but never told anybody. To this day, FIVE years after i had graduated high school and left those terrible people behind I still have anxiety. I still try to fit in. I still have little self esteem. I still think people are talking behind my back. I am constantly thinking people see the worst in me. BUT I am moving forward. I am about to graduate college with a bachelors in Social Work. I want to help kids who don't think there is anywhere else to turn. I want to tell them that yes it seems hopeless right now and maybe in a few years will too, but school eventually ends and there is a bigger and brighter world out there that needs their voice. I thank God every day that I made it through. I may be fighting my inner demons that the bullies put there still, but i made it. I am still that sensitive girl but I am stronger now and I want kids to have that for themselves. Without my experience of being bullied, I would have never known that Social Work was my true calling. So Yes, bullying does impact your WHOLE life.
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