My name is Diana, I am 19 years old, and I have been a target of bullying for a majority of my life. The bullying for me began as early as Kindergarten. I am Romanian, and have always been proud of my heritage, so when I would go to school, my hair curly and big, kids would call me Lion. Now, it is a nickname I could welcome because my hair is a gorgeous mane, but when your "friends" call you that, at the age of 6, it also means you're terrifying and no one wants to be around you.
I had very few friends. I was the odd one out. I had a black tooth from an incident when I was three and it killed the nerve, turning my front tooth black. I had braces in first grade. I was chubby, loud, and couldn't keep friends. People wouldn't invite me to sit with them at the tables. I walked by myself at recess. No one really wanted anything to do with me.
As I got older, the teasing became more relentless and more cruel. I'd be called curse words, shoved away, have people laughing at me behind my back, making up rumors about me. In middle school a group of girls harassed me to the point I would cry in classes because I could hear them making fun of me. Puberty didn't hit me well. And because my family didn't have money, or I didn't have the cool kids clothes, I was the freak, the teachers pet, the slut, the bitch.
High school was only a little bit better, because that's when I say I became "pretty." Still, I was the slut, the whore, the skank, and excluded from parties, or even going to the movies. I entered a relationship and was mentally and verbally abused to the point he almost drove me to suicide. It almost got to physical abuse, but I was smart enough to back out. That was my turning point in how people treated me.
I began to stand up for myself, and not care what people said about me. If I let what they said dictate my life, it wasn't my life anymore. I wasn't happy, but I was content. I stopped cutting as often as I did. I opened up more to my parents about my school life. I went to school, did my stuff, and left. Simple as that.
I graduated in May of 2012, and I can count on one hand how many friends I had. Because of that, I didn't feel bad about leaving my town and going to college near Chicago, where no one from my town or surrounding towns would be going. No one knew me there, and no one was about to dictate my life.
I grew into myself, and people accepted me. I moved away from the situation, and I didn't feel like I was giving in to the bullying because I knew that I could make a better person of myself if I gave it the chance.
Now I'm going to college and loving life. I have more friends in my year at school than I had in my 13 years of public education. I'm going on to bigger and better things, and hope to help kids by being a foster care social worker. I will make a difference in the world, because I've made a difference in myself. It just took a little while.
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