All though grade school I was teased and harassed, both physically and mentally. I was bookish, into video games and other "nerdy" pastimes. I dressed different and dyed my hair and was always quiet and just took the damage, because going to someone would always just bring down more hell on my head in the long run. I had that beat into me so many times that by the time I was raped at 16, I treated it the same way as my other harassment: I bore the pain silently and tried to keep from killing myself or someone else. Not long after the rape I had to move out of my parents house when my father tried to kill himself. I dealt with hormones and anger and other kids, eventually developed a cutting habit, and some days I'm not sure how I made it out to this side alive. The voices of my tormentors, they never have truly left me. It's amazing what a strong, lasting effect children can have on another child's present hell and future struggle. People always look at me now, and they tell me I've turned out great, that I'm interesting and funny and smart. But a small part of me is always there shooting me back down, the voices that never really go away. I sometimes convince myself I'm past it, past the fight to feel like I'm worth something. I feel valued. Then that lingering damage sneaks up on me and I get shot right back down. I don't feel beautiful. I fight with chronic depression and an instinct to pull into my shell, hide, never come back out. I've been back-stabbed, fallen in love, cried, laughed, fallen out of love, and wondered why I bother to go on. I have difficulty trusting anyone. But on the days that I can manage to pull out of it all, I realize I've survived it, and that is a beautiful thing. I have people I can trust, scholarships, and overall I'm a good person. I just have to keep silencing the voices and remember: I'm not alone.
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