I was in seventh grade the first time someone called me a “fattie.” Standing beside my friend’s locker, a boy named John pushed me aside, stating “Move, Fattie, so I can get in my locker.”
I moved. I didn’t say anything to him, but it hurt me. Inside, I was bawling my eyes out. I remember the whole interaction to this day like it happened moments ago. I was wearing a red shirt and black overalls while my self esteem crumbled piece by piece the more I thought of the harmful words that day.
The rest of junior and high school consisted of people being mean. Girls calling me names, or just being mean for the heck of it, former friends completely ignoring me, and a slew of other hate filled events. I cried almost every single day in tenth grade. Girls in my class were hateful and rude, often making fun of me for reading or being mean for no reason. I know now it was jealousy and insecurity causing the behavior.
Bullying comes in many forms, but if you’re feeling attacked in any way, emotionally, physically, or otherwise, then know you can get help. Talk to a trusted adult. Or a friend, even. I rarely talked to anyone about my self-esteem issues in high school. I hated myself and no one had any idea.
My own insecurities consumed me. Looking back, I was only slightly overweight, yet I felt like I weighed nine hundred pounds. Looking in the mirror disgusted me. Comments here and there from people only solidified my feelings. “Boys don’t like chubby girls.” “Your stomach is flat, if you’d just lose weight in your legs and butt.” “You’d be lovely if you’d lose weight.” Being a late bloomer in the dating scene, I didn’t get my first kiss until I was sixteen, only strengthening that the thoughts were true in my mind.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been bullied, or are being bullied, please know you aren’t alone. There are so many people who go through this. The world always has to have someone who spews hate instead of love. Know that things will get better, finding your confidence will happen someday, and you can love yourself.
You’re beautiful just the way you are.
Don’t change for anyone but yourself.
The very things I was ridiculed for are my strengths. My love of reading has become my career. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree and I’ve published nine novels along with many other anthologies and box sets since graduating ten years ago. Turn the bad into a positive. Don’t let people get you down. I’m writing this to give others hope, but also, to remind myself that others face what I have. People are still mean, they always will be. I realize that now. It’s just the way the world works, and I can’t control that. How I respond? I can control that. So can you.
You are better than you believe.
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