My next blog idea kept smacking me in the face and I kept choosing to ignore it. Reason? I wanted to continue to Photoshop my life. Don't we all?
What I chose to ignore:
- "People will look at you and say she has it so easy".
- "You are one of the lucky ones, your disability is mild" or "You are lucky to have an invisible disability that you can hide".
- My friend Danielle Hogle posted these words: I quit. I'm done. on her Facebook page.
- A mom I look up to sent me this: It was a Wednesday.
Okay universe you can stop now, I get the message. I'm ready to share my story. I was bullied from 4th until 8th grade. No one ever did anything about it. Everyone knew but no one cared to do anything. I was singled out by peers and teachers. I was called stupid, ugly, fat, hopeless, and many more hurtful things. I was left out of Christmas gift exchanges or given a different "less valued gift" while all the other girls in my friend group were given the same thing. My friends decided not to be my friends; I was given a letter that I wasn't allowed to sit with them anymore. When lunch came around they watch and waited for me to sit alone. To much of their disappointment I found someone to sit with: she didn't mind sitting alone but didn't mind if I joined her. This still puzzles me that she didn't mind sitting alone. What she will never know is she saved me from a life of no true friends and granted me a life filled with wonderful people all through showing me what a true friend looks like. To my own disappointment, I don't feel I was a true friend in returned. I lost touch with this awesome person years ago. I never got a break from bullying, I was everyone’s target. I would get corrected because I was not attending to a task; it was hard when the person next to you is cutting you down with their words through a 45-minute lesson. My "friends" prank called me saying this boy likes you as a set up to embarrass me the next day at school. My 8th grade came and ended and I was saved! My parents finally listened and sent me to public school. The tormenting ended to some degree. I still struggled with a peer here and there but in my eyes that isn’t bullying that's life.
I will never be able to undo the damage that was done nor do I want to. To this day, I cannot sit alone in a public place to eat without getting a panic attack. I still struggle with friendships because it is really hard for me to let people in. I put myself through two years of counseling to deal with all the hurt caused from bullying. The self-esteem issues caused by bullying made me feel that I was worthy of a relationship.
The good that came from being bullied:
- I developed a can-do attitude
- It made me want to prove people wrong
- It is the reason I went into special education and school counseling
- It is the reason why I decided to chase my dream of earning my doctorate degree
- It is why I started More Than My Disability
However, it took along time for me to see the good. I kept photo shopping my life every chance I got out of fear that I would get bullied again. I made sure I over prepared, never had to read aloud, avoided conversations, avoided the lunchroom, dressed nicely, only showed the good side. Until finally, life taught me a lesson, I became a mom, and photo shopping my life wasn't worth my time. I went through some growing pains and then decided to own my disability. I decided to: Be me. Be bold. Be more than my disability. If there is one thing I want you to take away from my story it is to stop trying to be someone you don't want to be out of fear that you will be alone. The truth is more people will love the real you.