Many Names, Many Faces, One Result.

It's strange to look back on being a little kid or a teenager. Now that I'm a senior in college, the high school experience feels so far away. But I guess the only way to do it is to start at the beginning.......

When I first started school, I had two lazy eyes. Surgeries, huge glasses, and an eye patch supposedly caused some self-esteem issues. Thankfully, I don't remember this time in my life, but my former bus driver told me as I got older that I got picked on pretty bad and I kind of kept to myself.

The rest of my elementary life is pretty uneventful. I got called Hermoine a lot because of my frizzy hair. But it was hard to be offended by that. I mean she's smart, I'm smart. It's all gravy. And of course there was the typical teasing among children about who likes who and whatnot. It wasn't until middle school things got rough. I went through a pretty bad "Emo" stage. I was fighting a lot with my step-dad at home, rebelling against what my mom wanted me to wear, and partaking in a lot of very dark, very morbid media. Disturbed was my best friend (and really still kind of is to this day). I had also started to gain weight. I wasn't really overweight, but I had developed significantly faster than other girls in my classes. The worst part of puberty (for girls that is) hit me when I was eight, so the rest kind of caught up as it went, and seemed to explode during middle school. Zits, water weight, braces (although not part of puberty, still sucked). So what ended up happening was I cold-shouldered the people who were normally mean to me (even when they weren't being mean), and was super nice to the people who at least didn't pick on me. But I kept gaining weight, so when people stopped picking on the way I dressed or the music I listened to, they moved on to starting rumors that I was thirteen and pregnant. Of course, these weren't true. I hadn't even had my first boyfriend yet. Just, while the rest of my body stayed the same size, my stomach grew outwards similar to how a pregnant woman's would. Those rumors lasted till the year I graduated.

Then I came out as bisexual. Now I lived in a small town that had one openly gay person. I don't think anyone in my grade even knew it was possible to like both genders. I also got my first serious boyfriend around that time. He was supportive of my sexual identity. I think a little too supportive. He pushed me into getting a girlfriend while I was dating him, which was a mistake because go figure he was a womanizer. Aside from that, there were a lot of unwanted sexual experiences. Then the worst part of the bullying happened. Myspace was huge at this time and my boyfriend's cousin used that to her advantage. Every day, I would log on and find a whole lot from her and her friends. They would all say the same thing. "God hates fags." "You're going to Hell." "Go kill yourself" mixed in with some slurs about being fat. I would ask my boyfriend to talk to his cousin, and he wouldn't. I couldn't tell my parents about the bullying, 'cause I never came out to them and when I did come home crying from school, I would try to tell my mom that kids picked on me and all she would say is "well what did you do to them?" The stress was making me lose sleep, so instead of laying in bed I would go online and just talk to people in chat rooms. You'd be surprised how many people get offended when you don't tell them your age, sex, or location. Others were supportive and didn't want anything to do with what the age and the gender of someone would imply. Then one night, my boyfriend calls me at 3 in the morning and accuses me getting online at night to cheat on him. I tried to break up with him multiple times after that, but he always threatened to kill himself when I did. So my own death started to look pretty good. Being bullied in school, being cyber-bullied, being bullied into staying in a harmful relationship and not having a soul in the world to talk to was a little much. But rather than let myself get run down, I sought help from a psychologist. I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I got to feeling better, relationships with people started to get better, and best of all my love life had gotten better because I was determined to make it work and to make a compromise. But one day at school, my boyfriend pushed me into a locker in front of everyone. At that moment, in front of everyone watching, I broke up with him. That day after I got home, he blew up my phone. He kept calling, I kept answering (I didn't have caller ID at that point), and I would hang up on him. It go so bad that my mom and I both threatened that if he kept calling, I would get a restraining order. Things settled down after that. For the most part, the bullying stopped. I still gained a lot of weight, but I started giving more people a chance, I got out of my emo phase, no one ever really forgot that I came out of the closet but it stopped being a big deal. Perhaps because I never had another girlfriend while I was there. I even got along with the kids that picked on me during my senior year. Well, got along as well as any two people that used to fight.. At one point, I was even prepared to reconnect with my biological dad, whom I hadn't seen since I was very young. But he passed away right before I could. 

However, even though things are better, they are not what they should be. I don't really have any friends, because the only people I was around for 12 years of my life made me want to die. I fight with my weight, going back and forth between considering cutting the fat out of my own body and just being happy that it's not worse than what it is. I'm afraid to tell people anything about my personal life for fear that it will be used against me (especially in the homophobic society that we still live in). I still have depression that my psychologist and I both agree was caused by the bullying. 

There's something I want to stress though. A lot of people seem to think that bullying is only done by their classmates or coworkers and that when it enters the personal life, it is called a different name so it must be a different thing all together. The label of 'abuse' that is slapped onto a harmful relationship with a partner or a parent doesn't change the fact that it is bullying. Bullying is anything that is done to you or said to you that lowers your self worth. If you see it, or experience it, do something about it. Don't be another statistic like I once considered becoming.

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