lessons from bullying

Being Bullied Helped me Become Who I Am Today

The phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," is complete bullshit.

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I've always been an outcast.

I never really conformed to society's standards. In my small town, every little girl played sports, wore Justice clothing, and completely adored Barbies.

Me? I had no hand-eye coordination, wore Walmart on a good day, and I preferred Pokemon over every stupid Barbie they threw at me.

And, to be fair, the only Bratz doll I liked was Jade.

I didn't think that being different from everyone at my school was such a bad thing. At a young age, I felt okay with having a small handful of friends. I didn't want to fit in with everyone. Well, I wanted Justice clothing, but that's because I liked sparkles.

That all changed in middle school.

My parents divorced whenever I was two, so I lived with my mother. She didn't let me dress myself until the second semester of sixth grade, so the first semester I was pretty much pushed into wearing Hollister and all that preppy stuff. This made a lot of people like me, I even dated a football player for maybe a week.

I didn't really feel confident or comfortable with myself. Sure, I liked the attention, but what I was wearing wasn't me.

For Christmas, my mother decided to let me pick out my own clothes, and I believed that I wanted to try out the "emo/scene" style. This was in 2011, by the way.

I was so in love with the black eyeliner, the coontails, the neon skinny jeans and high top converse. So, we stopped at Hot Topic, Rue 21, and all the other "emo" stores I could find.

I ended up buying a Hello Kitty sweater, knee high converse, multiple colored skinny jeans, and a brass knuckle necklace.

I thought I was so cool.

Returning to school, however, was not.

I kept getting stared at in the halls, no one seemed to like how I looked and most importantly, no one really wanted to talk to me.

The bullying, however, didn't start until the seventh grade.

The first day of seventh grade, I was asked multiple times if I was turning goth. If I was trying to be punk. In my despair, I cried because "I WAS EMO AND NO ONE UNDERSTOOD ME".

I also had a Pikachu backpack, but no one liked it.

No one liked me, at all.

I had maybe two or three friends at this point. We were all outcasts, we didn't really want to try to please anyone and we all were battling our demons.

People were very mean to me though. People would laugh at me in the halls, call me a lesbian, say I looked washed up, and they made fun of my makeup.

Although I looked ridiculous.. why were people making fun of me for trying to be happy?

I began to self harm, and I was very depressed. I never came out of my room. I never talked to anyone. I stayed on my laptop, talking to my internet friends, and I made stories about different lives I wanted to live.

I wished to be accepted. Liked. I didn't want to wear Hollister and pretend like I was preppy, but I wanted people to stop tormenting me.

In the eighth grade, I became so depressed my math grade dropped to a 36.

I always made a B or higher.

My parents then saw I was cutting and took me out of public schooling in order to allow me to go through therapy.

Since therapy, I had a lot of different things that happened. One of them involving me trying to kill myself.

But let's skip that.

Being bullied sucked. Being bullied was hard, being bullied ultimately crashed me to the ground.

But it was also the reason I became strong and got back up.

I started off as a sheep, a follower. Because of bullying, I tore off that sheep fur and became a wolf in sheep's clothing. I became who I ultimately wanted to be.

I have bad days. In therapy, I was diagnosed with severe depression, severe anxiety, and PTSD.

I do not let these things define me.

Today, I am confident. I am happy. I am comfortable wearing all black. I do not care what useless people say about me.

I am everything I wanted to be whenever I was younger.

If you're reading this and you're being bullied, it gets better. Try to get help. If you have tried and have not succeeded, hang on. Hang on tight. Know you're a warrior.

If you're reading this and you've bullied me or other people, I forgive you. Although I can't imagine what made you think you could say so many awful words to me and try to tear me down, I thank you for making me who I am today.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay... it's not the end.

Cover Image Credit:

Victoriano Izquierdo

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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12 Simple Ways To Ease Your Anxiety

These are some super simple ways to handle your stress at home.

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Anxiety and stress are very common problems for many of us in today's society.

Over 70% of adults face some sort of anxiety or stress in their lives.

It can really be overwhelming and can seriously affect our mood for the rest of the day.

Pushing these feelings of anxiety and stress aside and letting them build up does nothing but cause more harm to our minds and bodies.

Sometimes, we just need a quick and easy way to help alleviate some of this stress to help us get through the day and to help us feel better.

Here are 12 ways to do just that:

1. Practice deep breathing

Mental stress and anxiety can cause your body to respond in physical ways. Since it affects your sympathetic nervous system, you might experience elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. Breathing deeply and slowly can help slow your heart and ease your body back into a calm state. When I panic or feel overwhelmed, I breathe in slowly through my nose, think of one thing that makes me happy, slowly breathe out through my mouth, and repeat until I can feel my mind and body begin to calm.

2. Light a candle or start up your essential oil diffuser

My personal favorite scent to soothe my anxiety is lavender. However, you can also try chamomile, rose, orange, jasmine, sandalwood, or whatever else might help you.

3. Exercise

This is a big one, but can also be a very difficult one. Whenever you're feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed, it might be hard enough for you to get yourself out of bed, let alone do any serious exercising. My best advice is to be proactive and try to pay attention to when you first start feeling your anxiety creep up on you. Just go ahead and get up and go for a walk, run, or whatever form of exercise you prefer!

4. Read a book

For me, there's nothing like curling up with a good book to help calm my nerves. Whenever I am knowingly going into a situation that will make me anxious, such as traveling, I always make sure to bring a book to read whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. Reading helps me to temporarily escape my anxieties and can be a big help in giving myself some much needed time to calm down.

5. Do yoga and practice meditation

Yoga is such a helpful activity for those with anxiety and stress! It kind of is just a combination of many different anxiety-relieving techniques (exercise, deep breathing, and mindfulness). There are many different apps, books, classes, and websites you can use as a guide and help to do yoga. You can find what positions, locations, and situation are best for you. Doing yoga gives you a great opportunity to think about and reflect on your feelings and worries.

6. Spend time with loved ones (yes, even your furbabies)

Sometimes, all we need is a little love and reassurance in our lives to alleviate some of our anxieties. Spending time with your family, friends, and pets can help us to see and remember the good things we have in our lives. So many times, those of us with anxiety tend to seclude ourselves and that makes it easy to forget the good we have.

7. Drink more water

Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause feelings of anxiety. It can make you feel jittery and can be a cause for elevated heart rate. Drinking more water not only helps you physically (like hydrating your skin and body), but it can also do wonders for your mental health. When your body is unhealthy and unhappy, that can be a big factor in feelings of depression and anxiety.

8. Take a short nap

If you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious, sometimes it can do some good to just take a short 30-minute nap. Just give yourself some time to rest your mind and body and face the issue with a new focus and fresh thoughts.

9. Journal

Even though writing down your feelings, bad or good, can be helpful, when you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try focusing on the positive! Write down a few things that made you happy today or a few things that you're grateful for. Don't let yourself be bogged down by the negative.

10. Clean

This might not work for everybody, but I know that sometimes when I'm feeling restless or anxious, cleaning and decluttering can help clear my mind. Basically, it's just good to find something to put your focus on when your anxious thoughts feel like too much. Try to pick a task and focus on that until you're finished. You'll likely find, in the end, that you feel much better than before you started.

11. Listen to happy and soothing music

Listening to music is a BIG help to some people with anxiety. However, you need to be mindful of what you're listening to. Don't put on the breakup playlist you made when you were 13. Find happy or soothing songs and make yourself a playlist of songs with themes of positivity.

12. Don't bottle up your feelings

This might just be the most important advice I can give you when it comes to handling your anxiety. The worst thing that you can do is to suppress your feelings and try to force yourself to forget about them. Hiding or bottling up your feelings might help temporarily, but that will just make you feel worse in the end. Talk to someone or try one of the other methods I mentioned to face your anxiety, but don't pretend like it doesn't exist.

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