I have always been a rather chubby girl, even as a young child. I started school and had no problems making friends. Kindergarten, first and second grades were all a breeze for me.
That is, until my family moved and I started third grade in a new school.
I had never been aware or the least bit concerned with the way I looked or how much I weighed until it was so unkindly pointed out to me by one certain new classmate, *Michelle.
I was doing pretty okay at my new school; I had made a few new friends. But, for some reason, Michelle didn't like me and felt like she needed to express her dislike for me. She called me "fat" and told me how ugly I was nearly every day. I tried to ignore it and I had my two best friends to back me up, but one day she really got to me.
The teacher was letting us go to the bathroom in small groups, and Michelle was in mine. I was using the bathroom, minding my own business when a not was slipped under the stall to me. It was from Michelle. In this note, she had drawn a picture of me and explained to me, yet again, how fat and ugly I was. But, also in this note, she had written to someone and asked them if they thought I was fat. The response? "Yes."
That note changed my entire life. From that moment on, I was aware of how different I was. I constantly put myself down and have never truly felt beautiful since then. There were days where I would have to choke back my tears because I didn't want to cry at school and let people like Michelle see. I was around 13 or 14 when I figured out a "quick fix" to my problem: fake it.
I started laughing and making fun of myself, and surprisingly, the hateful remarks were eventually stopped. However, my true feelings about my body were still there and with them internalized, I began to seek more options to release my pain; I began to harm myself.
Every time I felt unloved, ugly, fat or worthless I would cut myself. It was usually with a needle and in an area that nobody else would notice: my ankles or thighs. One day though, I cut on my wrists. I started piling on bracelets to hide my wounds so my parents wouldn't notice. I thought about killing myself almost everyday. This went on for a couple of years until it hit me; I should not be hurting myself.
I started praying and God helped me get through and I stopped harming myself. Today, I am 20 years old and I haven't cut myself since that day, but I am still unbelievably damaged by what was awakened in me in the third grade. However, I am slowly working on building some self esteem. It's not easy. It is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I am trying to do it.
I just hate to see people get bullied because I've experienced it firsthand. I was not bullied in a physical way, but in an emotional one. And it kills me to know that some people don't think that verbal abuse can be considered bullying. I watched "Bully" tonight and it really hit home with me. Thank you for such an inspiring and eye-opening documentary. I hope and pray that it changes lives. God bless you all.
And to all of the kids being bullied: stay strong. You are loved. There is always somebody who can understand what you are going through. It gets better. High school can seem like an eternity, I know. But I believe in you and I love you. God loves you. If you need to talk, I am here. There are hotlines. There is help and there is hope. I love you.
*Name was changed.
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