When I was 12 years old, my parents enrolled me in a Private Christian Montessori School. I was enrolled to be a support system to my little sister, who was there for the non-standardized learning system. I was one of eight middle school children and it was four girls and four boys. To make a long story short, I bullied every single day by the other three girls. I was bullied about the clothes I wore, the fact that I didn't have a cell phone at twelve years old, the fact that I didn't have a boyfriend (I was gay, but was not about to tell anyone that), and bullied for what I brought to eat to lunch everyday. They would call me fat (because I was five inches taller than them), they would call me ugly, they even went as far as calling me a whore, which is ironic because I was a virgin at twelve years old (I know, SHOCKING!) I was bullied by three girls who were a grade younger than me, whose parents were football and baseball players, one girl was the niece of the Headmistress of the school. The bullying was non stop. My demeanor began to change rapidly. This once happy, carefree, and life loving girl became withdrawn, depressed, and isolated. I would go home crying everyday after school telling my mom on the way that I was being bullied. My mom, who couldn't quite understand what it was doing to me, told me to, "Keep my nose clean." Basically, to not provoke or instigate their bullying. My existence instigated them. I would walk into the room and it would start. By the spring, I was miserable. My teacher took me outside one day and asked why my demeanor had changed, I told her I was being bullied everyday, her response: "Patricia, they're just teasing you because they are jealous of you." I thought to myself, "Really, they're jealous of the fat, ugly, whore?" I had resigned to believe that what they were saying about me must be true, because they seemed to believe it with every fiber of their being. So I believed it with every fiber of mine. We were outside at recess (if that gives any merit to the ages we were) and we were playing volleyball. Something had happened during the game (for the life of me, I blocked it out of my memory), but something happened, and the ringleader of the bullies said, "Patricia, why don't you kill yourself." And in that moment, I felt that that was the answer. I said quietly to myself, "Okay. I will." I walked into our classroom which was a double-wide trailer with a kitchen. Walked to the kitchen drawer and pulled out a knife, then went to the bathroom. Without even turning the light on, I closed the door behind me, and did that sort of slow fall down the wall. I sat with tears streaming down my face, not so much wondering how I got to this point, because I knew, but wondering why I was so hated. I took the knife in my left hand and dragged the blade across my right wrist. It was pretty deep and immediately drew blood. I immediately knew, that was a mistake and thought to myself, "Holy shit, that hurt so much. That did not make me feel any better." Unlike what I had seen portrayed on television and with other middle school peers, cutting myself was not my form of release and did not bring instant internal relief. I sat, feeling like a failure, like I couldn't even cut myself properly. I sat thinking, "What can I do? What can I do?" I heard a voice tell me, "They hate you because you're fat. If you weren't fat they wouldn't hate you." (Now you have to keep in mind that I was a junior Olympic cheer leader, it is impossible to be fat and a gymnast.) The voice continued, "You could throw up, so that you won't be fat anymore." I crawled over to the toilet, lifted the seat, and struggled to hold my fingers in my throat long enough to excite my gag reflex. But I did. As soon as I caused myself to vomit, I felt the release that others had credited cutting with. I felt relief on every level. More than relief, I felt power and control. I felt reenergized. That was day one of a nine year battle with Bulimia and Anorexia. Fast forward, through the nine year battle, to the success side of life. At twenty-one, I faced my demons, I faced my twelve year old self and said no more. I struggled to read self-help books, I struggled to talk to a therapist, I struggled through my morning positive meditations, but I did them. I decided that I no longer, wanted to be a victim of circumstance. I decided that I no longer wanted to give my power to three girls that didn't even exist to me anymore. I no longer wanted to give my power to eating disorders that no longer served me. I wanted to give my power back to that twelve year old girl, and get her caught up to who I was slowly becoming, myself. I decided to love myself to healing. And I did. When you make up your mind to no longer give in to whoever your bully is, whether it's society, or some girl or boy, your parents, siblings, a teacher, a coach. When you decide that who they are and what they say, is not who you are and what you think. You take your power back. If you are struggling with bully induced depression, eating disorders, cutting, drug and/or alcohol abuse. It gets better. You are not alone, have never been alone, and will never be alone. Your current thoughts and feelings about yourself are not your own, and it does get better. You have to chose, though. You have to make the hardest choice of all. Will you love yourself, in spite of how everyone else is making you feel? Will you be a victor and not a victim? Will you take a stand for yourself? I never changed those girls' opinions of me. I never took a stand for myself. And I almost killed myself because of it. Had I gone through and been successful in my two attempts to take my own life, I would have been the one to do it. Those girls didn't put a bottle of pills in my mouth and swallow them, I did. Those girls didn't hold the knife to my skin and cut, I did. And those girls aren't sitting here now, twelve years later, successful, loved, and awesome, I am. It does get better. You will get healed. You have to be willing to be your own warrior. You're not alone, at all. Never have been and never will be. You are powerful beyond measure. When you let your own light shine, you give other permission to let theirs. Be good to yourself first and don't ever, not for a second, give your power to hate.
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