My mother always said that I would be a little different and I couldn't imagine what gave it away (my strange obsession with Alice Cooper at an early age or my infatuation with horror movies by the fourth grade) but I always liked being different. Of course, around my middle school years I wanted to be popular or fit in but I really never did and my closest friends were extremely fond of reminding me that I was unwelcome even among them. This was around the time I realized that girls would never be fond of me.
I came into my own in high school when I decided that it was perfectly OK for a girl to wear a slayer shirt and ripped jeans every day. I got A LOT of male attention this way. I can't say I minded, I found them easier to talk to, hang out with, and discuss my interests with. This, however, gave me quite and unflattering reputation. It also did not help that I was coming into my bisexual personality with many questions regarding how I was supposed to feel. I had rumors spread that I was performing sexual acts at school, in cars, and even with older men that were closer to their thirties when I was merely in my teens. There was even a rumor that I had had an abortion when I was 14 and newly swept off of my feet by my first high school boyfriend. I was not just called but believed to be a slut. I am not saying that I was a saint, on the contrary I was quite opposite. I smoked cigarettes and drank more than I should have but I was moral, kind, and a very loving person. Though sometimes I would convince myself that I was easy, a quick lay, that really didn't deserve much when it came to romance. I let many people take advantage of me and I didn't hold my body to much of a regard.
This is still a reoccurring problem with me and I am in my early 20's. All through college I had trouble with commitment and relationships and still do to this day. I have many male friends, with only few exceptions, and I have dated the majority of them and because of this I am considered a man eater due to the number of broken hearts I have left in my wake. Sometimes, it would seem as though I would seek out the one man that would do the most harm to me simply because I do not believe that I am worth the effort. Sometimes I believe that I am truly the slut that everyone painted me to be. I not only put my body at risk with this behavior but I also have hurt many people in the process. Though bullying is not the only thing that has contributed to my life style, I do believe that it has definitely made me, as an adult, think less of myself. If I were taught to stand up for myself as a teenager and built my self respect I may know how to deal with these kind of feelings long before now.
I have a very special friend, who I had dated for three years, and have continued to be friends with for years after we broke up. He has taught me to make a strong effort to love myself. He reminds me that my feelings are normal and that my mistakes are fixable. At one point, when my self esteem was so bad that I couldn't give myself a compliment to save my life, he helped me build and and shape myself image that I can now be more positive and assertive when sticking up for myself. I have even been able to sing in front of large groups of people which I would have NEVER been able to do 3 years ago. He is the only person in this entire world that I feel like I can be 100% honest with. He is the only person on earth that has seen me in my most vulnerable image. And he loves me very much. So much that it hurts him when I bring myself down. So much that he has never given up on me even when it was the easier option. And I can not thank him enough because there is not a word kind enough to accurately portray that help that he has given me. I hope that all of you have someone in your life that can do this for you. I also hope that you will be this person for as many people as you can. I know that I wish I could help him the way he helps me.
I have started saying three good things about myself a day. And really trying, finding things that I am proud of, that I can look into the mirror and say to myself to start building that self esteem. I have a pretty voice. I am strong enough to quit smoking after 10 years of addiction. I am really funny. Please do this every day. Show yourself that you need to respect yourself before anyone else is going to. Understand that you are worth the fight. That you are a beautiful human being and that you deserve friends, love, and respect. You are great at being you because there is only one of you and you are the best at it. Love yourself. Then, and only then, will you be accept others into your life. In the words of The Beatles, Love is All You Need.
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