I was different and didn't "fit in"

My name is Jessica and though I am 20 years old now, I will never forget the effects bullying has had on me and others in my life. My personal bullying story is much like most girls' stories who don't "fit in".

It started in elementary school and escalated while in junior high. I was bullied because I was different, because I was a tom boy, because I was the new kid. I was usually alone on the playground, when I would try to play with other groups of kids, they would all glare at me, call me names, tell me to leave or just leave themselves. I had a few friends in elementary school; it took about a year or two to make them and after the bullying mostly died down. I still got dirty looks and was called names.

Then I went to junior high and freshman year of high school and the bullying started all over again....and this time it even more hurtful than before. I have always been on the skinny side-- it runs in my family. Growing up, I always looked too thin, lanky, unhealthy. I also didn't wear hardly any make-up, if any at all some days. I was called anorexic, bulimic, unattractive. Most of the girls in school just gave me dirty looks because I wasn't rich, popular and didn't wear all the fancy clothes and make up they did. Most of the guys didn't give me the time of day or be my friend for the same reasons the girls wouldn't. It made me feel like crud because I always felt ugly, unattractive and unwanted...and all because I didn't "fit it" with mainstream society and the mainstream social scene. There were times I would cry myself to sleep and even thought about taking my life because I felt like there was no point to be here if I wasn't wanted.

I was lucky to have some friends in school to help me through all of this. I also went to two to four counseling sessions a week--including group therapy. It helped me get through it all, be a stronger person and be who I am today.

I am here to help stop bullying. I am not the only member of my family who has been a victim of bullying and it hurts. No one deserves to be bullied. People who are being bullied need to know there are people out there who know what you are going through and there are people out there who can help--even if it is just by being someone there to listen. Bullies need to know that what they are doing is wrong. I hope one day to see an end to bullying and all the sadness that is caused because of it.

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