How Being Bullied Changed Me For The Better

How Being Bullied Changed Me For The Better

Be your strongest, most independent self because you are beautiful, inside and out.
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This past weekend I had an unexpected fuckboy encounter. I don't use that term lightly because I think it's silly, but there are instances where I feel it is appropriate. This is one of those times. Let me give you some context before I get into it the fuckboy part of my tale.

I'm just gonna say it, I was bullied. Like the kind of bullied that you changed schools for. The kind of bullied where you look in the mirror and wonder why they say what they say: where you hate yourself and wish you were never born.

It started in elementary school. One second, I was in the "in crowd" and then the next I was being shoved to the ground and called beaver. I was being locked in lockers and had things thrown at me. Those kids said some of the most horrible things ever said to me. They left scars on my heart.

It got worse as I grew older. The stories they spread about me were some of the worst things that one human can say to another. The words they used...heartbreaking. I started to believe the things they said about me and I started to hate myself. It's one of the worst feelings to look in the mirror and wish you weren't born "looking like this." To feel like you were a mistake but that's exactly how I felt.

I was bullied the most over my teeth. Honestly, looking back on it, my teeth were by no means horrible. I had an overbite and my teeth were slightly crooked but besides that, they were white and strong. I begged my mom for braces every day. I would come home crying, resenting her for not helping me but she said to me, "Catherine May, you are beautiful and you have to want it for yourself, not others." Little baby me, slightly chubby, wanted nothing more than to be pretty. Looking at this picture, I see a beautiful girl who only saw the cruel words in the mirror. I don't see what I used to anymore. I see me with my thick AF hair.

This girl is by no means ugly. When I look at her, myself, I can see flaws but I see the flaws that I now love and appreciate because they make me, me. It took a long time to feel confident in myself and I got braces when I was 18 because it was my decision. I was doing it for me: not the bullies, not for the boys who would pretend to like me and date me, just to find out it was a bet to see who could be with someone so "ugly" the longest. It was painful and cruel but eventually, I decided to put an end to it. In 11th grade, I changed my whole mindset and by 12th I was confident and successful. No one bothered me because they saw I didn't care.

In 11th grade, I got rid of all my makeup and hair products. I wrote daily affirmations on my mirror saying, "you are pretty," "smile," and "you don't need to lose weight." I decided that I had to learn to love my natural self and even love my teeth before I could get them fixed. It had to be for me, only for me. Demi Lovato's, "Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year" truly helped me find strength and peace within myself. If you are struggling go check it out.

So back to the original story here, one of the boys who didn't have time for me and contributed to bullying me messaged me this past weekend, years after graduating high school. Honestly, I barely remember him, except for one memory that will be seared into my memory for a long time. It was such a basic, stupid text that said, "Hey (smiley face)." I ignored them (he sent several after the original ignored one) until I realized he wouldn't stop until I answered him. So, I said hi and asked what he wanted. He was like "Well maybe we can talk and maybe hang out?" That, ladies, is a fuckboy. I know you're probably like, "What? Why, Cat?" Well, when I was in high school, we had a hot or not list (rude) and not surprisingly, I was last on the list as the ugliest. The boys signed why the person was ugly and who thought it. One comment (before the school took it off offline) said, "I would never talk to her or touch her because she is so ugly. T.S."(This isn't the exact quote but this was the gist of it). Okay, let me get this straight, so now four years later your coming at me trying to hit me up because I got confident, prettier, and I now understand that less makeup is better than more. Now that I could give a rats ass about you, I'm good enough but only to sleep with. We all know fuckboy language, that's all he wanted. At first, I was mad, like how dare he, but then I felt sorry for him. All he could see was my face and not the person I am underneath. He'll never have a fulfilling relationship until he changes how he looks at women, if he doesn't then I pity the woman he ends up with because she deserves more.

I am a 5' 1", size zero, midget human who loves books and animals. I love my dogs and I love watching snow fall. I hate being cold and must be wearing socks at all times. I have a thing for collecting teddy bears, naming them ironic things having to do with them being bears, and binge watching "Law and Order: SVU." I love that I have freckles all over my face and body that contrast with my pale ass skin. I love my evergreen eyes and how they change colors depending on what I'm wearing. I love the bump in my nose from when I hit a tree skiing. I love my knotty, thick hair and how it's always in my face. I love my thighs and butt from all the fast food I eat. I love being a vegetarian, except I cheat and eat chicken. I love being myself, no matter how weird I get. I love being me and you should love being you. Make a list like I did and smile as you write it because each and everything you list makes you individually, irreplaceably you. If you'd like, write your list in the comment section and let's spread our beauty.

I suppose the moral of this story is that love you for you. Don't let jerks, mean girls, your parents, anyone make you feel less than the beautiful person you are. If you love yourself before you love anyone else then you will be happy. If you are being bullied now, know that there is hope and you can get out. It gets better. Suicide is never the option, even if you feel like it is. I swear, things get better. If you have body image issues, know that you are perfect. Everyone is so beautifully different and no one can make you feel something that you don't want to. It's mind over matter. If you believe it, others will too. No man or woman can make you feel like you aren't enough. Be your strongest, most independent self because you are beautiful, inside and out.


https://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/

Cover Image Credit: The Huffington Post

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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7 Ways God Overwhelms Me with his Love

God is a good, good Father

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God overwhelms me with His love all the time. But usually, I have been noticing I am not looking at the world with my eyes or ears wide open. Sometimes, I get too concerned with the chaos instead of the beauty of the world. The important thing I must remember is God is bigger than any darkness in the world - and these main seven ways help me remember how gorgeous it is to believe in our Good Creator.

1. Scripture

Scripture speaks to my heart in a way that people, song lyrics, and nature cannot. Scripture is known as the living word of God, and it's true. It calls me to reflect in a deeper way about myself, and even if that self-reflection isn't a fun activity, I am somehow filled with peace while reading scripture. I really like Sirach, Hosea, and James.

2. Friends

We are not meant to be alone on this earth - we are called to community, and God really speaks to me through my friends, especially those who are striving to know and imitate Jesus Christ. It's great to hear someone else's perspective on life and how to approach a situation differently. I trust my friends to give good advice, and they usually don't let me down.

3. Music

I really like music. When I am in silence, usually a song pops into my head. Lately, I've been trying to fill my mental soundtrack with Christian music. I know this is a cliche but Christian songs speak hope and life into my life in a very special way - and usually, the lyrics inspire me to keep up the faith amidst all the struggle.

4. The Sky

The sky is God's canvas. It can be moody, dreamy, or blank. It's amazing to see weather light up my night with lightning and storms OR lull me into a peaceful reflection with bats darting across a starlit sky in the garden my campus ministry has. The sky is so cool, but I don't appreciate it enough.

5. The Wind

In my backyard at the house I'm renting this summer, I sometimes chill out in the hammock. It's a thin little net looking thing, and it's my favorite spot in nature. I get comfortable and look at the tree limbs and leaves above me get blown by the breeze. It's so amazing to see the leaves light up different shades of green because the wind moves the leaves into different patches of sunlight. The wind also reminds me of the Holy Spirit - this unseen but present force in our lives. The wind is so soothing, I've always liked it and how it can be like a whisper on a spring day, a loud shout in a storm, or a sweet breeze on a scorchingly hot summer day.

6. Passionate People

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who described what their passion project was with you? I have. That person's eyes light up, they wave their hands animatedly as they speak, and everything about them is joyous and optimistic. Passionate people, especially those who will the good of another, are reflections of God's energy and enthusiasm, in my opinion. It's a blessing to see hope and vigor in this too-often melancholy world. Passionate people are the cure for a slow day at the office, know what I mean?

7. The First Christians

The First Christians are inspirations to me. If Jesus can love someone like Paul (who used to murder a bunch of Christians before his conversion), Peter (who was one of Christ's most trusted disciples, but still denied Christ three times), and Mary Magdalene (who had a bunch of demons inside of her and was a prostitute)... well, if Jesus can love all of these people and help them be better-versions-of-themselves, then I'm sure Jesus can love me too. I find their stories, and so many other stories of early Christians, very uplifting.

These aren't the only seven ways God reveals His goodness to me. But when I think of these seven and look for God in these moments, my day is filled with more peace and happiness. I hope this helps you reflect on how God overwhelms you with love because (trust me when I say this), He is giving you all you need - but are you open to receiving it?

Cover Image Credit:

D. Jameson RAGE at https://unsplash.com/search/photos/trees

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