I have moved 13 times:

1 some place

2 bonita

3 chula vista

4 alabama

5 mississippi

6 mississippi

7 spokane

8 spokane valley

9 julian

10 murrieta

11 hemet

12 carmel valley

13 Carlsbad

Born in San Diego, California.

I was home schooled for kindergarten through first grade in Mississippi.

In daycare while my parents were away at work: Kids would pick on me. I'd have sand thrown into my face and scratch my eyes. I got in trouble one time because I didn't understand the difference between "accident" or "on purpose" and I guessed which one to say; I guessed wrong I guessed because I got in trouble for something that wasn't my fault. In the daycare we would go on the trampoline and also a kid pool. There were these big kids that would help take care of the kids like me; kind of like a buddy system. There was one big kid with a yellow Spongebob one-piece bathing suit that was my buddy.


On the 7th move, I had been put into a public school. This is when things started. Because of my age difference compared to the other children at the school, they placed me in first grade despite my home schooling that my mother worked hard at. Two weeks in, my mother had them test me to see if I should be placed into the second grade. After testing, I was placed into the second grade about a month after the school year started. I was so tiny compared to the rest of my classmates. Everybody was friendly at first; but that was at first. There was one girl who bullied me and my mother asked if the girl and I could be seated separated from each other for the rest of the year.

In third grade, it got so very bad. I befriended this girl, S, who in more or less decided she could control me; and I let her. She told me that the only friend I was allowed to have was her and that I would have to tell all of my other friends that I couldn't be their friends anymore. I remember that day about 10 years ago so clearly as if it were yesterday. I walked up to the table with all of my friends sitting at it in the gym cafeteria. I stood at the head f the table and made an announcement that I could o longer be friends with any of them. When one of them looked at me dumbstruck and asked why, I told them it was because I was told to tell them that and that I couldn't say who it was that was making me. Shortly after my lunch announcement, a small group of them confronted me a recess. H, A, M, and K walked up and it was Heather who spoke, "You can't just stop being friends with someone because you're told to. If you were a real friend to us, you would't listen to what this person says and you would have our backs. You can't just stop being friends with someone for no reason. How do you think that makes us feel?" I stood up from my patch of clover and started walking away, crying. I didn't understand that I was only following what S had told me because I wanted her to be my friend, and I think I wanted her friendship so badly in order for her to not bully me; little did I realize. The girls followed me and only left me when the bell rang. I stayed next o another patch of clover at the edge of the school grounds by the fence and cried until someone yelled for me. I eventually stood up to this girl. I remember right before the bell rang to go home, I went to S and called her out on being a bitch--IN SECOND GRADE. I was so scared that she would tell on me that I grabbed all of my things and ran home. My mother was taking me somewhere after school, so I rushed to get into the car and drive away because my house was right across the street from the school. Right as we were getting in the car to leave, this boy in my class, N, ran to the fence and yelled my name. He said that our teacher Mrs. D wanted to see me. I ignored him and rushed to leave with my mom. I remember my mother pointing out  to me, "Look, a friend is trying to get your attention." Another situation like this was happening at the Boys & Girls Club there in Spokane. I became friends with the bullies just so that I wouldn't get bullied myself. I remember them telling me to bully with them and even though I didn't like it, I did it anyways. However, "so-called" friends or not with a bully, you will eventually get bullied yourself; and I did.

We moved to Julian then and I was put into the fourth grade. Same thing happened as a new kid in a school where everyone already knew each other: Everyone was super friendly and nice. I think just as Spring had rolled around did the true side of these kids show. The girls in my class and I had joined this school club that the school counselor had started. It was called "Girls Club" and we were let out for lunch early so that we could go to this meeting. Well it turned out that every girl in this club aside from myself had made the decision to stop being friends with me and start bullying me instead. It was tough because one of the girls, M, had a mother who was the supervisor during recess, and she would tell her mom that I would do things that I didn't, and the mom never even asked me questions, she just looked at me as if I were a shameful person to being the presence of and it continued like this. Finally I had enough and I went to the school counselor, the one who ran the Girls Club. She told me that she would take care of this, but what she did was way worse: At the next Girls Club meeting, she brought it to attention f all the other girls that I was not feeling that they were my friend anymore. It was A who spoke up and told me: "See, we wanted to be your friend in the beginning, because you were new, but now that you're not so new anymore, we don't want to be your friend." What did the counselor say? "Oh well, A, that isn't very nice. If you tell someone you're going to be friends with them, you have to stick to it, especially if she doesn't know anybody else. So I expect you to stay friends with Sarah from here on out, okay?" All of the girls agreed and we all left. The next day I ran up to the thinking that they'd be my friend like they said they would and they turned me down ad walked away from me. That was when I felt I couldn't rely on the teachers to fix things. Luckily, I had befriended two girls J, A, and 2 boys (of which one I had a crush on) J, and C. I became very close friends with A and we hung out very often. We were friends all the way up to the scandal that helped my parents' decision to move us. A's dad had tried to touch me; he didn't, but he tried. A big fiasco, I talked with the cops, I used dolls to explain what happened, and worst of all, I lost A as a friend because she didn't believe me. To shorten the story, A's dad was eventually caught, tried, I testified, and the was killed while in prison. A few years after that, A and I became friends again in high school and I visited her family whenever I was up in Julian.

We moved to to Murrieta and Hemet and I attended an elementary school out there. This girl who was my friend, T, ended up spreading rumors that I said horrible things about my other friends and then turned on me face to face. I ended up drawing a naked stick-figure picture of her running down the street with our friends as neighbors laughing at because she lost her clothes. That was very wrong of me and I got in a lot of trouble when the teacher found it. The bullying never stopped, but then there were rumors that T was being abused at home. I was worried that it was my fault and I carried that with me until she and I reconnected over Facebook. Lo and behold, she is one of my great friends now in college and we hang out often.

Still in Hemet, I was in sixth grade and started taking the bus. The friends that I had from my neighborhood had become my best. M, J1, J2, and J3. M was the instigator and started laughing at me when she thought something I did was stupid. In fact, all of them started to. I only knew that J3 was following the rest of them because she didn't want to get bullied herself, but aside from that, she and I were as thick as thieves and we still talk to this day by somehow miraculously finding each other's phone number from an old piece of paper from 7 years ago. This time with a group of bullies, I decided to try and handle it on my own instead of going to a teacher. I had decided to write each of them a personalized letter explaining how they made me feel, and what they could possibly do to be better people and friends. I gave them their letters on the way home as soon as we got on the bus. Halfway through the ride, all of them aside from J3 got together and very loudly exclaimed what I wrote in each letter and how pathetic of a person I was for being so dense. I remember them balling up their letters and throwing them at me as I sit staring out the window, crying. J3 came over and sat next to me and as we walked home, she aid she was hurt that I thought she had hurt me, and she hated the way the others treated me. She and I decided to ditch being friends with them and just be on our own. A true friendship bonded over a short time that I believe will last a lifetime. :) Another incident was that my neighbor, J4 liked to bully me based on the fact that I liked him. He had started taking the bus and they were playing catch with his hat. We were about to head off the bus when the hat landed in the seat in front of me. I quickly sprang up and reached for the hat. When I stood back up with his hat in my hand, he laughed at me saying, "Went for that hat a little too fast, eh Sarah?" The girls I had stopped being friends with started laughing then and I walked home embarrassed. 

In Carmel Valley, I stayed seventh grade through my senior year of high school. Seventh and eighth was brutal. In seventh, my best friend called me and asked if I could take the blame for her because she lost something of her dad's that she wasn't supposed to have been playing with. I told her no way, that I did't want to be in trouble due to her faults. She stabbed me in the back and told her dad that I stole it anyways and her dad demanded almost $100 dollars from me and my family to replace it. I told my dad what had happened and some phone calls were made. But my friend, S, and I didn't speak again for almost a year. In eighth grade, I had a girl who I thought was friends with me sexually assault me. I was over at her house and K came up with the idea that she and I should play truth or dare. I thought if I said dare that she would tell me to do something stupid. Well, her idea was stupid alright. She told me to kiss her. I told her no. When she asked why not, I told her 1) I don't want to, and 2) I don't know how to kiss. She let it go, but the stories continues. She said, "Let's give each other massages!" What she meant was, let's s trip and cover our private parts with sticky notes while she rubs lotion on my body. I did not like this, but I had no way of getting home in the middle of the night, and she would not let me sleep. Finally before I was allowed to sleep, she told me, "I am not letting you go to sleep until you learn how to kiss, and since I'm the only person here, I'm going to have to teach you. If you want to sleep, you have to make out with me for 10 seconds."    ...And I did. I was desperate to sleep, and I ended up crying myself into slumber. I was never friends with K again.

In high school, I created a separate/fake account and tried an experiment. If I made an account with someone So Beautiful and with the same personality as the rest of them, and this fake account was friends with me, 1)How many people would befriend me AS the fake account, and 2)How many people would befriend me as myself simply because I was her good friend? I hesitated to tell this story because it disturbs me so much. For now, I will just say that someone made a guess that I was behind the account even though there was zero proof, and things got........bad, very bad. A whole series of things happened that year:
-Physical abuse
-Verbal abuse
}All during freshman year.

I ended up feeling very depressed. I eventually realized that they were NOT being friends to me and that I must be friends with other people. So I became friends with this close-knit group that I had a class with D, M, A, S, and T. T and myself were the two outsiders of the group of girls who grew up together, so naturally, she and I were the best of friends. T got sick and had to leave school, and by Junior year things went downhill once more. My friends started going off campus for lunch, and this was normal: We'd call each other, text each other, figure out which side of campus to run to depending on whose car we'd take and where we'd go to eat, etc. Well eventually they stopped answering my calls, started ignoring my texts, and finally I messaged all of them wondering, "What the hell is going on?" They told me that they didn't want to be friends with me anymore and thought that I'd eventually get the picture when they started ignoring me, and I didn't. After that I fell into a deep, deep depression, but never so bad that I had thoughts of hurting myself, only to where I would cry myself to sleep at night almost every night because I felt absolutely alone. They really just slammed me with verbal abuse and said horrible things to me that I believed! I did! I feel so ashamed to say that I fell for what they were telling me.

Senior year was great alright alllllllllllll the way up until March. I started taking birth control to help control my disastrous period cramps and thus, my emotions crashed in a pit of darkness and despair. I was happy and bubbly, but I believe because I already had depression, the birth control only fed on that and pulled me deeper into that pit. And every time, on Fridays, which turned into Thursdays and Fridays, which turned into Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays, I would drown myself in soul-aching pain and tears. I started to have these thoughts, and I was petrified by the fact that they even crossed my mind. I never wanted to follow through with those thoughts, but every person that had ever bullied me, every sad, bad, mean, dreadful, painful, excruciating thing that had been said and done to me came flooding back alongside all of the people who I felt abandoned me as a friend and as a person who deserved their attention in general. I ended up writing a note to those I cared about:

"If I were to write a suicide note, not that I would go through with the actual suicide, maybe, but it would go like this:

Dear those who cared to read this,

Everyone I have met has either left, turned away, or have found me so utterly annoying and frustrating that I have concluded that life for them would simply be easier without me causing a distraction or conflict, and they would be happier. Happiness is the meaning of life. Lately, I have just been wanting someone to look at me, see how broken I am, and try to put my pieces back together. Perhaps what I have done is wrong, and I misunderstood everyone, but in my eyes, I can see it now: Everyone at school hearing about my sudden death, and read this note, and just think to themselves and with others about how sad I was, and how all I ever wanted was attention. I ask myself questions, and in turn, ask others the same questions, but still you do not answer. I am a still doll, I have matured to an adult as I know that is how people prefer others to act, but on the inside, I am but a small child looking for the comfort of a warm, reassuring hug.
I am truly and deeply sorry if I have inconvenienced anyone, though I highly doubt I have.
Mom, Dad, Chris, I died as an innocent, and crimson red never flowed from my womb, for only tears and a deep sadness shook my body long into the night.
Kaylin, live life selflessly.
Shelby, be the person I was for you and remember that I am ALWAYS with you.
Desi, carry my dreams with you through Her.
Carolyn, follow your own dreams, stand tall, and never give up.
Grandma, I love you so very, very much and I sob as I write this to you. I love you more than anyone."

In May, I stopped taking the birth control, hoping it would help, and it did. Though my depression still lingered, it was less severe as it had been before and things were better, for the most part.

And I graduated high school.

There are more stories that I decided to leave out because it was just a "she said this vs. she said this", but it was bullying based upon verbal abuse and the nasty rumors that went with the nasty mouth that was involved; Both times, might I add, by two different girls, K during sophomore year, and M during senior year.

After watching the movie "Bully" and being someone who wears blue on my pinky to represent anti-bullying, I wish I knew then what I know now that there were people who would have listened to me, had been there for me, and I wouldn't have felt so alone in that deep, dark pit of mine.

All throughout watching "Bully", I just kept thinking to myself: I want to hug each and every child super close to me so that they can feel the warmth from my heart as I tell them that they ARE good enough and worth it.

I used to think that I could bargain with the universe: I'll give you my life if you give everyone happiness, because NO ONE deserves to feel as dreadful as I feel.

This is not for attention, this is to show that I care, and I love, I live, and I laugh, and I am so extremely thankful that I have the chance of using my lifetime to help others and make a solid difference in this world. One voice adds to billions..Let's get there!


Sarah Lynn Wilkerson

PS: My title is "Strength" because I kept thinking throughout my depressed state that if I had the reminder to be strong, then maybe, just maybe, I could pull myself through. I often wrote in sharpie or pen the word and so I thought of getting the word "Strength" tattooed on my wrist; big enough to read, but tin enough to barely notice, would be a good idea. .......................Strength comes from the inside, not from outside reminders, therefore I will not be getting that tattoo. :)

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