it's not your fault, and it really does get better

I was bullied on and off throughout elementary and middle school, getting called a slut (I was in 2nd grade, and I did not lose my virginity until 18 years old...), being left out, getting pinched daily (I still can't tolerate it). But the worst was from 4th through 7th grade. I transferred to a new school, and from day 1, I started getting bullied. I am now 24 years old, and I still could not tell you why. It wasn't physical, but mental. They either didn't talk to me, or would make fun of me. With approximately the same 30 or so kids for 4 years, they kept coming up with random crap to tease me with. Calling me Medusa was popular at one point, making fun of the pronunciation of my name (Maya, pron: Mah-ya) was another. Once they asked me which name they thought was worse (kin or ghin [this was in Japan so these are kind of hard to write out]) and after I told them ghin, they started calling me that behind my back. It was an international school so there were new kids every year, and I'd try to befriend them, which would work for about a day, and then they'd join everyone else. The teachers watched this everyday, I once asked one of them to change the seating because one of the girls kept passing notes. I was also being bullied outside of school, at a ballet class I took 3x/wk, which my physically abusive mother wouldn't let me quit, and my father was never home, so he had no idea. My 2 years younger sister had great friends and great grades, and was too young to understand anything that was happening. I was very depressed, and suicidal, and went through every single day wishing I were dead, wondering why no one cared, and why I was invisible. People talk about how great childhood was, I am not one of those people. I am not entirely positive as to how I've made it this far, but I have. I am really glad I have. I still struggle with it, but it no longer runs my life. My relationship with my mother, while still rocky, is getting repaired, and I have some really incredible friends, who try to understand the psychological impact this still has on me today.

So here is my message. . If you ever have bullied someone, please apologize but don't let it eat you alive. But don't apologize for the sake of apologizing, you should really be sorry. If you are doing the bullying, please stop. It is not worth anyone's time, or their pain. If you are watching it happen, especially teachers, please make an effort to stop it. Lastly and most important, If you are getting bullied, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. Don't think it is, and iIT DOES GET BETTER. There are good people out there who care about you, and want to help you live a happy life. Go find them, because they will think your life is valuable. And your life is valuable, don't take it away

(Side note: Thank you to the founders of thebullyproject, this is incredible.)

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