I grew up in dysfunction and was never taught how to socialize. The other kids knew that I was different, it was obvious. My clothes were not up to standards, I didn't know how to talk or act, I was emotional and very sensitive. I would try to do what I could to make them like me but nothing ever worked. Girls would invite me to slumber parties and make me sleep alone in a different room. At school they would make fun of my clothes, call me names, beat me up, isolate me, and even downright humiliate me. I would spend full school days sitting in a bathroom stall just waiting for the day to end. Once, in middle school, a large group of girls befriended me and I thought that maybe things would get better. After about a week these girls cornered me, pushed me against a wall in the quad of our school and threatened me, grabbed at me, said cruel things to me. I was so embarrassed. I never understood why they hated me so much. I went to teachers, counselors, the dean, the principle... and nothing ever changed. They would have each student sign a sheet of paper that was supposed to be like a "restraining order"... but the bullying would continue. I ended up leaving school. I missed out on my education, failed the 8th grade (twice) due to bullying. I couldn't focus on school, I was too busy trying to survive. At church you would think that things would have been better, but they weren't. Kids would isolate me, their parents looked down on me and my family, and even camp counselors would say harsh words about me when they thought I wasn't around. I thought I had nowhere to run. I would cry and each day I'd lose more hope. I thought about suicide many times but something kept me from following through. In my high school years I found alcohol and partying. It was a way to fit in and I took it. I went down a rough path, dropped out of school and became an alcoholic. Alcohol pushed me to the lowest point of my life and I cried out to the Lord, begging Him to help me. And on February 13, 2012 my prayers were answered. Today I have been sober for 2 years. I have a wonderful husband that loves me, a beautiful son and a church family that builds me up and grows my faith. I have been able to forgive those that have harmed me in the past and can now understand that "hurting people hurt people." They were only doing what they were taught. So my message to kids that are being bullied is never lose faith. God had a plan for each and every one of us and it is a plan for hope and not disaster (Jeremiah 29:11) so hold on to that hope with all you've got. And know that you are dearly loved and your life is precious and beautiful.
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