When kids are young, they are vulnerable. They are immature. They are learning. They just don’t know. When I moved from a diverse school to a school of almost no minorities, I was in shock. The new environment was too different. I was the only one. I was different. As a young child, it was hard to adjust and all I wanted was to fit in. That was my goal – to be the same as everyone else. However, you can try your hardest, but there are just some things that cannot change.

I was bullied. My feelings were hurt with constant racial slurs, tantalizing chants, and offensive gestures. A person can try to ignore many things, but when negative insults are a part of one’s everyday life, it is hard. At first, I would laugh and act as if the “jokes” were funny. I played it off and hoped it would stop. As a young 12-year-old, my goal to be likeable was stronger than the urge to stand up for myself. So I just pushed through and hoped for the best. Eventually, the jokes got old and most people matured. They forgot and moved on, but I could not. I accepted what happened and somewhat moved on, however, the hurtful words and depressing moments will always be ingrained in my memories and me as a person.

Being a minority is not wrong. It is not inferior to other races. It is equal. It is wrong and disgusting to put someone down for how they look or what ethnicity they are. So to all of the people who laughed and joined in on the chants and slurs, you were the ones who helped me realize that I am strong. Instead of becoming a victim to my past, I have become a survivor who wants to be different and constantly tries to surround myself with people who accept me for who I am. My past has helped me realize that there will always be people out there who look down on certain races, looks, personalities, opinions, and the list goes on; however, there will always be people out there who accept those races, looks, personalities, and opinions. It is wrong to change yourself to try and fit into a puzzle that is not meant for you. In a way, I am glad I experienced those moments in my life because that changed me as a person.

Now, I like being different. It is something I embrace. It keeps my life exciting and fills it with loving people who brighten my days stressing over exams, essays, and food. When someone questions my silly, outgoing, or eccentric actions, I’m not worried because there will always be people who will join and laugh along with me. I believe the ones who take time and effort to put someone down are the ones who struggle. They struggle to accept themselves and embrace their own flaws and weaknesses. To feel better, they will discourage others to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. They do it because they are the ones attempting to be liked and funny, so they make racial jokes and insults for the short-lived laughs. I feel sorry for those who think it is acceptable to degrade others for their own happiness because they will never feel the same love and joy I feel with my sincere friends who laugh at my questionable, yet funny, stories. They will always be the ones to go through life, constantly struggling to accept their own selves.

To all of my bullies, thank you. Instead of being oppressed by those insults, jokes, and slurs, I have grown to be someone who is not afraid to be my beautiful, quirky self. I will live life without the worry of impressing others or trying to fit in. I will live life to be the happiest I can be.