My name is Kristina ;) Bullying started for me in Kindergarten, yes, at the age of 5! Looking @ old photos, I was pretty average in size; but there were 3 girls that didn't think the same. I was constantly ridiculed and teased for (as they saw me) being FAAAAAT! In my eyes I wasn't, lol.
We would play on over-sized building blocks and when climbing on them, they would move there bodies around and say, "whooaa, Kristina's gonna make them all fall! hahahah!" During a learning session on our five senses, we did a blind taste testing; and that's right, as I was blind folded, I hear the main girl say, "awww, she's going to eat everything before we get some!" while the class laughed. My teacher did what she could to quiet them down, but It was horrible...
This continued every-single-day :( I began to tell the teacher that I wasn't feeling good, so that I could go to the office and be picked up; I would purposely strive to be an over achiever; so that I could win the Principle's award weekly and have lunch with the Principle, and not have to sit in the cafeteria with my class. I still always went to the nurse to say I wasn't feeling well, stayed on top of my school work, etc. ANYTHING TO NOT BE IN CLASS OR AT SCHOOL!
This carried on for quite some time and my parents finally tell me, "You can't keep leaving school. This has to stop, we can't keep having other family members pick you up..." *Remember, my dad was active duty military and my mom worked @ the base as well, so I stuck it out.
I thought that things were getting better, until story and nap time one day. We typically have our snack during the story, then take a nap. I woke up to laughter and whispering around me...the same three girls had put GOLDFISH in my hair, and an APPLE JUICE box next to my face, saying, "Ahahaha! She eats in her sleep...AHAHAHAHA...!" HUMILIATING! I cried and ran out of the room to the office. Of course I asked to go home. Luckily it was a Friday, lol! I had time to recoup.
The Goldfish and apple juice incident was the worse for me...I never told my parents or family. Not until I was about 16 yrs. old and had the confidence to do so. Confidence, because by this time, I had become somewhat of a "mean girl" at times throughout high school. *I was the "popular girl" because I was new, at a new school (parents still in the military).* This behavior lasted for close to 10 yrs.
**THE TURNING OF A LEAF**
I would WANT to make people feel bad; I wouldn't just correct someone, I would purposely make them feel bad (at times stupid); I exuded an ARROGANCE, no longer confidence, based attitude. I excelled in EVERYTHING that I did: i.e. work, school, hobbies, etc. I made sure no one had any reason to say anything TO ME, about me.
Finally, at the age of 23 (I'm now 30), my family started to not want to hang out with me; co-workers would tell me (to my face) "no one wants to work with you..." Everyone thought I was just rude.
One day, I go grocery shopping and see the dreaded GOLDFISH. I buy a bag, along with apple juice. Something changed that day as I ate the cheddar cracker snack and drank my cup of juice...I felt almost empowered and had a sense of affirmation that I needed to NOT act as how I was treated when I was 5 years old. I knew I had to change my ways if I wanted to get along with my family, affect change @ my office, and feel better about myself day to day.
Since then, Goldfish and apple juice are two of my most favorite things on EARTH, LOL! Ultimately, I want to THANK those three girls. I realized that I had become what I never wanted to be, and had the courage to change into what I always knew I could be! Shout out to all those struggling day to day...whatever form your Goldfish and apple juice comes in, just know I hear you and will have snack time everyday for YOU!!! <3 Kristina Cruz
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