The pain of bullying outlasts the abuse itself.
This is her story:
...I'm coming to a standstill...
Last year, I had a meltdown from what happened last January - bullying really rips one's soul out.
I'm writing my story is because I'm letting go of the hurt and the pain. Most importantly, I'm forgiving myself because I didn't choose to be bullied - but it happened anyway.
It all began last January when rumors about me started going around - I was a witch and bewitched others. What hurt the most was that these rumors were started by people I've been friends with since grade 8.
Eventually, everyone at school would no longer talk to me or sit next to me in the class. At first, I sensed something was going on because I saw how people were acting funny around me. I only learned of the rumors when some girl called me and told me what my friends were saying about me.
I remember that day as vividly as if it were yesterday. After that call, I didn't know what to do or how to react. Later that evening, I told my mom. I cried myself to sleep that night, thoughts running through my mind.
I thought I'd have to spend my last year with these people, but no. My family decided to take me out of that school and enrolled me in a new one.
Today, I sit and wonder what would've happened if I'd stayed there. I'd bet that I would've failed my metric and I would've become miserable.
Through this journey, I've learned that, ultimately, each of us creates the life we want to live.
Through my decisions and actions, I ended up with mine, but it's time for me to be happy again and leave the past in the past!
My counselor made me realize that my ex-boyfriend was emotionally and sexually abusing me.
He'd always call me names when I'd try to break up with him. He'd force me to suck his penis and have sex with him after I told him no. I wouldn't say anything when we were doing it, though, because I was scared.
I'm disgusted at myself and it's been at least eight months. I can't forgive myself for not trying harder to say no. I worried that he would abuse me physically because he was a big dude and he scared me.
Every time I look at my body I feel disgusted. I wonder, "Why did I let that happen to me?" I was only 14 when I lost my virginity to him. I wish I could take it back so badly.
He cheated on me so many times, and he blamed me for everything he did. He said I was the one cheating on him. He made me feel afraid. Thankfully, I was only with him for six months.
When I eventually broke up with him, he ruined my life. My whole school basically hates me now and thinks I'm a whore because of the things he told them. Everyday when he'd see me in school he'd tell me to go kill myself.
I'm happy he's finally done talking about me.
I have a new boyfriend now and on January 16 we will have been together for seven months. He loves me and treats me how I deserve.
I just wish I could forgive myself for letting this all happen.
I wish I did not feel disgusted about my body.
One of the most damaging emotions we can hold onto is anger.
Most of the time, we are angry at the right person for the right thing - we often feel (correctly) justified in our anger.
Anger, though, can turn to malignancies, and sometimes, the best answer to unresolved anger - especially when we find it ruling our lives, is to let it go. To learn to forgive (but not forget.)
This month, we are working on our path toward forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness does not mean we absolve another for their role in hurting us, trying to break us, shaping our lives with their words and deeds.
So, The Band, who do you want to forgive?
Who will you never forgive?
Who have you forgiven?
Forgiveness is an interesting concept.
In order to fully live my life in the ways I'd like, I must forgive myself and others. I must be grateful for being forgiven.
Thank you for forgiving me for:
Being mean to you.
Taking our friendship for granted.
My snot-nosed-brat behavior.
My poor choice in friends at the time.
When I used you.
Leading you on.
I forgive you for:
Telling me that I wasn't cool enough to be your friend, but only at school.
Treating me as an inferior being.
Slamming my hand in my eighth grade locker.
Not keeping your word.
Not being there when I needed you most.
Giving up on our friendship.
Emotionally and verbally abusing me.
Cheating on me, and continually lying to my face.
Coming way too close to hitting me.
Using me and leeching off of me.
Making me let myself feel like a crazy, clingy girlfriend.
But. Most of all, I forgive myself.
In my lifetime, I've been far worse to myself than anyone else has been to me. I've bullied and hated myself. I've clung to anger. I've ignored my instincts. I've verbally and emotionally assaulted myself.
I forgive myself. It's time to heal and let go. It's time to be kinder and gentler with myself and others.
And so, I forgive and let go. I float on, always remembering to be grateful, to forgive, and to love.
I went through puberty at age eight.
Let me tell you, it was hell. My parent had divorced when I was seven. During the summers, we had mandated and scheduled visits split between our parents, usually for two or three weeks. My parents did not get along; not at ALL.
My brother and I were still kids. We'd had a very hard past before then, and finally thought it was going to get better. We had hope for a future and hope for a time to actually be kids.
Unfortunately, that did not happen for me. The first time I got my period was in August, at the beginning of a three week long visitation with my father. Can you imagine how a young girl would feel if she had no prior knowledge that she would be bleeding in such a way?
If you can't, I'll tell you: I was terrified. I had no idea what to do.
I was not close with my father; we barely spoke. We were only allowed to call my mom every five days during visits. I was humiliated and scared and confused all at the same time. I had no idea what to do because there was not a woman around.
I was all alone.
I don't really remember how the rest of the day went because I think I blocked it out. I just remember crying in the bathroom, terrified, thinking I was about to die. Within a month, I had boobs, hips, and grew taller. I looked thirteen; yet inside, I was a scared eight year old not ready for everything she had to do.
Because I looked older, people treated me differently. I was expected to care for myself BY myself. If my younger brother (he's a year younger than me) and I got into a fight, I got in trouble because he was "so much younger than me." If I acted silly like a normal eight year old, I was criticized and ridiculed for my behavior.
I was just a little girl.
I never truly got to be a kid because I was stuck in an older body. Teachers, my parents, other kids, they all treated my differently; some even made fun of me. I was given responsibilities I wasn't ready for. I was expected to be a teenager, when I was only a little girl.
If you have a daughter who matures early, if you have niece, a friend's child, a student, or just any little girl you know that has to go through this, please treat her like the child she is. I'm 19 now and whenever I meet a young girl who's going through what I did, I always go out of my way to help her.
Every little girl deserves to be a little girl.
We've all faced a battle with our self-esteem.
This is her war:
I've never been a thin girl.
Maybe when I was little - when I wanted to run around and did not care as much about my weight - I was a lot slimmer and healthier than I am now.
My body has changed over the years and, while I know some changes are genetic, some of them are my own doing.
I hate myself for that.
I was overweight as a teen. This was apparent when I did not fit into my clothes, when I looked at the three digit numbers on the scale, when I ate and felt terrible after, and when I looked at the images of "beautiful" women and knew I wasn't beautiful.
My depression didn't make it any easier.
I'd always wish I was skinnier.
Sometimes I'd imagine that the belly fat was a baby that would go away, and I would be smaller again.
Then, I wouldn't be made fun of by the girls at school or feel awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin.
I was told to embrace the curves, even the love handles at my side, and the fact that genetics - thanks Mom! - had given me some rather large breasts.
Instead, I hid behind baggy clothes and refused to show my body in any way.
I hate swimming season because trying on suits makes me feel awful and nothing fits right.
I feel like an elephant and cannot keep the girl I have been - the one way overweight - from telling me I look terrible, no matter what I'm wearing.
I should know better but there is nothing to stop me from being irrational, running with what I have experienced rather than what I should know and how I should respond.
In 2010, I had a scare. I found out that, in a sense, I was allergic to bananas and had an attack that was a mix between an allergic reaction and full-blown, I-feel-like-I'm-going-to-die panic attack while out with a friend.
I drove home and, quite literally, had to slap myself to keep awake and calm and to know I was still breathing.
It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.
From that point on, everything became a danger to me.
I essentially stopped eating because I could not trust anything that was food.
It was summer and, while I would eat with my family, I ate as little as I possibly could because anything else freaked me out.
I took my anti-anxiety medication more that summer and eventually ran out, which was a disaster in the end because I was so freaked out, paranoid, and scared that I couldn't deal with it.
I went back to school and, by the end of September, I'd lost 20 pounds - mostly because I wasn't eating.
I had no appetite for food and, considering my love for it before, it was sad. I went in for an appointment in October, which was when I saw that I had lost so much. I was shocked and amazed at how good I finally seemed to look.
I went to therapy and got myself sorted out with the food issues and everything else.
I went vegetarian for a long time because vegetables seemed much safer to me. In a way, it helped me open up my food palette.
I got used to eating and, eventually, allowed fruit back onto my plate with semi-regularity. I'm still iffy about it two years later.
I know I should love my body regardless.
I know what self-loathing does to a person.
I know that I should feel beautiful regardless, but it doesn't keep me from worrying.
When I'm stressed, I don't eat, which means I stay thin.
I try to get out and move but sometimes I feel it isn't enough.
I try and nothing works.
Part of me wants to be thin again but since I left the most stressful work environment I have ever known, I have gained weight.
I have fallen into comfortable normality. I'm afraid that I am getting (gasp) fat.
I want to stay motivated.
I know my boyfriend loves me. He knows I am trying.
But part of me always feels disappointed when we're together because I know I'm bigger than when we met.
I'm afraid that if I am not skinny I will not be desired by anyone, especially him.
I worry. I try. And I just hate myself sometimes.
I haven't been on a scale since March. I refuse to look at the numbers. I'm afraid.
I'm trying to love myself, but some days are harder than others.
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