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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

REAL TALK: My Experiences with Bullying & Weight


This is a very difficult subject to write about. Very very difficult, actually. I never thought that I would write about my journey with bullying or weight on this blog.  Considering the fact that I want to make 2013 my year (with my goals); I want to share the fact that I’m wanting to rid myself of some baggage that I’ve carried. 

I want to preface this post by saying that I have a really great support system with family and friends. I truly think that everyone needs a support system no matter what.

{I'm totally getting out of my comfort zone here, but if this post can help someone, then it is for the best.}

 This is my story.

It began when I was five. I remember sitting in kindergarten and having the kids ridicule me. It was the worst feeling. I always felt like I was on the outside peeking in.. The  ridiculing was continuous and didn’t stop until I was fifteen.  I never felt like I “fit”.  I was told that I was not good enough and that I wasn’t going to do anything.  I felt absolutely worthless.

  I know that my experiences being bullied made me who I am today. Growing up, I always felt this need for “perfection” with everything from grades, friends, to how I looked.  I needed to fit this warped construction of what was expected.  From my perspective of seeing other people, it looked so easy. I couldn’t figure out why I struggled so much. I always had to work for my grades, chose friends that weren’t the best for me, and I was torn apart by classmates for how I looked.

You may be wondering about the friend situation, and let me be upfront by saying that when you don’t value yourself, you don’t care who’s around you . You don’t look at their intentions; you’re just glad that there’s someone around. I allowed myself to be in some really horrible situations that I never want to go back to (it could have easily turned disastrous). I still get slightly freaked out by some things, but I know now that you can’t  expect others to respect you when you don’t respect yourself.

I had one friend in particular who told me that I would be better off if I had committed suicide.  This was my wake-up call.

So how did the bullying stop?

Girls were passing notes around about a boy I liked. These notes were brutal mean girl stuff and I couldn’t handle getting them repeatedly. I knew the teachers wouldn’t do anything because when you’re ridiculed constantly, you’re scared to tell. You feel as if everything is your fault and you’re ashamed to speak out.  It’s the victim mentality. 

Whenever I got those notes, I’d break down. I went to this school to get away from most of the kids that bullied me.  I couldn’t believe that it had followed. I could not handle it anymore. I had enough.  I walked out in the middle of the class and the teacher followed me. I told her that I needed to handle some things.  I am not the kind of person who would speak to a teacher like that, but I had enough.

I walked into the principal’s office and asked if she was busy. She said she was, so I told her that she should make herself not as busy and to get the vice-principal in as well. As they sat there, I began telling them everything. I bared my soul. I was broken, but I knew that I was the only one who could put the pieces back together.

They sat there in shock. I was afraid of their response. They told me that they were glad that I brought it to their attention and that they would not tolerate it. I knew that this wasn’t the answer. It was not good enough. I wanted more. So in between tears, I asked “So what are you going to do about it?”  They sat there again. I knew that all the talk in the world wasn’t going to change anything. They had to do something about it.   I told them “It may not be me, but you better do something before someone does something to hurt themselves”. 

They called my parents. My parents were shocked that I spoke out like that. I would usually just let things build up. It was time for it to come out.

When I walked into school the next day, I was called in to speak with the principal and vice-principal. I was informed that there was going to be an assembly. This assembly was about bullying. I was told later that the girls that bullied me were expelled.

So what helped me become more positive in high school? I found performing in drama class. I know that if I didn’t find my drama class, I’d be six feet under.  I was so scared and withdrawn.  I had so much pain held inside that there had to be an escape for it.  By the time I graduated, I felt like I found my release. When I graduated, my teacher said “You started as a caterpillar, and  you’re finishing as a butterfly. Now go fly”.  I still treasure those words to this day. It has become my inspiration for my next tattoo.

I know that my bullying experiences are correlated with my weight.

I guess I should just be honest and say I’m not a skinny girl. I really don’t think I’ll ever be “skinny”.  I do not like to use the terminology of “fat” or “obese” because I’m not clinical; I’m a human being with thoughts, opinions & feelings.  I think the most appropriate term I can use that doesn’t offend me is “plus-sized”.

I’ve always been the kid that was the biggest in her class. I hit puberty at seven & I was taller than everyone else. I always felt very awkward & knew that people looked at me differently due to how I looked.  I never really felt comfortable in my own skin & combined with being bullied, it was a train wreck of emotions. 

I’m not going to openly state my weight. To put it politely, it’s not anyone’s business. It’s a number and I don’t think we need to define people based on what that number is. I feel that society pressures women to look a specific way and it’s very unfortunate.

 I’ve had guys tell me that they’d be interested in me if I was only thinner.  Sometimes, you’ll do stupid things just to make yourself “fit”. It’s strange when you look back on it because we are not supposed to “fit” some sort of ideal.  I remember being so crushed when I got rejected by a guy I liked that I locked myself in the bathroom and began criticizing my body. I hated what was staring back at me.  I then began vomiting to make myself feel as horrible as I thought I looked (I have since stopped this).

I am not living anyone’s ideals anymore. I cannot possibly do it. I need to live by what I want and  what I want only. I know the last little bit of my feeling “uncomfortable” is my weight.

This year, I am taking charge.

I want to make sure that I’m eating healthy and working out appropriately.

I’m saying goodbye to feeling like I’m not “good enough”. I am putting value on knowing that I do have value!

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