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.

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.

Cover Image Credit: The Huffington Post

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I'm Proud Of My Scars, They Show How Far I've Come

My scars are now a major part of my identity and I am proud to show them off.

During my sophomore year of high school, I had three life-saving surgeries to help alleviate my disability. The first two were open brain, and the last one placed "brain pacemakers" into my chest. Because of this, I am blessed with four scars: two on my head, and two on my chest. For a while, I believed that these scars were nothing more than an eyesore on my body, but now I understand how lucky I am to have them.

I was always very self-conscious of my scars and would wear high cut t-shirts to hide them when I was at school so nobody would judge me for them. I used to be horrified at what could happen if people saw them and the comments they would make. During my senior year, I accidentally wore a shirt that showed off my scars and a girl went up to me and said, "Your scars are so cool! I wish I had some just like it." I was flattered that she didn't think that they were disgusting, but was concerned that she wanted a pair, too.

These scars showed all of the pain I've endured getting to the amazing place I am today.

It was then I realized that covering up my scars was equivalent to being ashamed of having my surgeries and my health situation. I am and have always been very vocal about my surgeries and my disability, so why not be proud of my scars?

Looking back, I know that the reason was that I didn't want to look as flawed as I felt. Embracing my scars would also mean embracing the fact that I was no longer the person I was before: the girl I thought was perfect. Accepting my differences, physical and emotional, was really difficult for me until I finally realized that my scars make me a little bit more me.

Lots of the time, I still get questions about my scars. So far, my favorites have been, "Is that a hickey on your chest? Damn!" and "Oh my gosh! What bit you?" Of course, it hurts sometimes, but getting explain what I've been through and seeing the looks on all those nosy people's faces when they realize how strong I am is truly rewarding.

My scars are now a major part of my identity and I am proud to show them off. I wear different tops knowing that they will be noticeable without caring what other people think of them because they are important to me.

I am imperfect.

I am tough.

I am scarred.

I am me.

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5 Things That I Prefer To Do Alone

Being alone isn't the worst thing in the world.

My whole life I have been stuck between being an introvert and an extrovert. There are certain things that I love to do with other people, but other things I would much rather do by myself. Being around people all of the time is absolutely draining, and I always need time to myself to relax. The majority of people would probably like to do these things with other people, but the introverted side of me prefers to do these five things alone.

1. Watch a movie

Watching movies by myself is a lot more enjoyable than watching them with other people. I would rather sit and watch a movie by myself and stuff my face with candy than watch a movie with other people who will probably just interrupt the whole time. I can stop it whenever I want to, I don't have someone annoyingly talking to me, and I don't feel the need to wear pants. It's an ideal situation.

2. Study

I seriously don't know how people do homework or study together. Whenever I get around other people, I get super distracted and it takes me twice as long to do my work.

3. Eat

Eating alone was probably everyone's fear in high school, but in college, I would much rather eat alone and watch YouTube videos or read for class than eat with other people. Meals are always "me time" and I prefer it that way overeating with other people constantly.

4. Sit in class

I kind of detest sitting in large lecture halls surrounded by friends. It isn't like I hate them, but I have ADD, so in order to focus I have to be alone.

5. Drive

While I don't drive often since I am in college without a car, when I am home I would much rather drive all by myself than drive someone else around. This alone time allows me to sing horribly at the top of my lungs, and if I screw up while driving there isn't anyone to laugh at me.

Don't get me wrong, I do love spending time with other people, but as a second year in college, I would rather do these simple things by myself. It allows me to have a mental break from the world around me and focus on myself.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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