WelI, I guess my story dates back to the first grade...I can remember "mean girls" existing back then. I remember having my best friend Maureen, and a few others that I felt comfortable around. I was always a shy-er than not kid, but still approachable and seemingly normal on the outside. At home, I was being raised by my mom and grandparents, and never met my father. He wasn't a good man, and I grew up knowing that I was a product of that but would always be a good person. I remember a group of girls, that I'm pretty sure are still friends to this day and still somewhat the same. They thought they were better than the rest of the world, came from money, and somehow had the ability to find the tiniest flaw on people to be able to break them down. The catch 22 back in elementary school was that choosing to be friends with a physically disabled kid meant I would get picked on just as much for being friends with the kid who had none because be had no control over the lifeless legs he was born with. But I stood tall for the both of us and let it happen and didn't care about the fact that they didn't want to be friends with me. Skip forward a few grades and the kid who had a disability had failed a grade and I moved forward and didn't see him as much. I may have even slipped into the background more than I should have. At that point, I was friends with anyone I could be, the popular beautiful one everyone had a crush on that all the other girls thought was perfect but who really had hidden insecurities of her own, the jock who made fun of the rest, and my best friends, who were real friends. As we grew our bodies changed... I developed early which came with never ending comments about my bustyness, my facial structure resembled that of my mothers which meant a more prominent lower jaw line (but barely noticeable), and a tall thin body. What may not sound bad, came with comments about my chest, my "long neck", and the nic name that haunted me into my twenties--"BULLDOG". I swear, I look back and would have been happier with any other name in the book than "bulldog". Things seemed to mellow out a bit approaching high school. I was terrified of high school, I thought I would be shoved into a locker and picked on for simply being the youngest or lowest on the totem pole. Just a week into the ninth grade and a girl I was friends with and I had gotten into an argument. Looking back I really don't remember what it was over but I don't think it's relevant or was back then. Somehow, friends turned on me, and people I had no clue about were turning on me. I couldn't walk down the hallway or take the bus or go into the cafeteria without being bullied. They would yell "EW!" And "BULLDOG" and laugh at me for no reason. I couldn't handle it anymore, here I was three weeks into high school and I couldn't handle it. They had written the infamous nic name on my locker in marker and I was scared to take the bus. My mom caught on and asked what was wrong and I broke down and told her. The next day we went to the school to talk to the vice principal who asked if we wanted the cops involved and we said no because it would just make matters worse. I changed schools the next week. The VP ended up calling the cops which ultimately sent a couple people into a frenzy which is never what I wanted. I started at my new school with a different attitude; I was undoubtedly angry deep down and promised myself to always stand up for people and never base my friendships on status or appearance. I'm only human and I'm sure I've made mistakes and have judged and I am sorry for that. The nic name continued throughout high school I remember being told I was the "girl with the hot body but had an underbite" (and I didn't even have an underbite). I remember the popular guys wouldn't pay attention to me at school but would go home and ask me to go on webcam on msn. I always had a strong attitude and personality from that point on. When I was 17, one of the "ring-leaders" who had picked on me was killed in a tragic accident and I remember being heartbroken for her even though at one point all I felt was hate. I stared at the sky that day feeling guilty and kept apologizing. But for what? Skip forward a couple more years. High school was over. And the girl I originally argued with 5 years prior, also passed away. How could this happen? Life was too short. That same year I had the opportunity to have braces and jaw surgery to correct the flaw everyone felt the need to pick out over the years and I did it. I look back and think..."did I do it for me? Or them?" I don't really know. But I did it, and I've been happy with it, but people have still used the nic name since. The point is...You are who you are, you're beautiful even if people are so bored and so insecure with themselves that they'll stare at you long enough to find the difference between them and you. No two people are alike, we were meant to be different and life is too short to spend it making fun of or knocking down others. I will always stand up for people who don't realize they can or are too scared to. You don't have to bully back but have every right to be mature and be real with those who can't yet see reality. I'm now 24 years old, know myself, my beauty and my flaws, got an education, started a career, and know that I am who I am and it doesn't matter if others don't like it. Nobody was put on this earth to form into what everyone else wants them to be. We'll get there one day, but it takes everyone... Woof ;)
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