Trigger Warning: Talk of Bullying, Disordered Eating, Suicide
First of all, I really want to let you all know how hard these photos and this story is for me to share, I’ve really tried to forget my past (especially my teens and early 20’s), but in many ways, they are why I am the person I am today.
In the first photo, I was 2 years old. Happy, adorable.
Look how happy I am in the photo with my Mom when I was about 4 or 5. Life was easy.
By the third photo, you can tell that I was, “chubby.” I remained thin up until about 9 years old, when in the period of about 1 year, I became an obvious “chubby kid.” I didn’t notice it, though. None of my friends said anything…. not quite yet, anyway. I was still happy. I didn’t care about the extra weight on my body.
I was a rather nerdy, awkward, unattractive pre-teen. I wore overalls a lot. I was shy, goofy. You can pretty much tell by the photo of me with my childhood best friend, who would only remain my friend until the end of 8th grade. I wish she would have stuck around, but eh, it happens.
I noticed my weight by this age. In 7th grade, two “friends” had decided that they didn’t want to be my friend anymore because I was “fat”… and thus nicknamed me with a name that echoed in my head for years - “Alifat.”
They sent me notes that told me I would explode if I ate anything at lunch. They chanted “Alifat” over and over again when I walked by. I cried at home. This was when my depression began, as well. I really started to hate myself and my body. Why did it have to be fat? WHY ME?
In 8th grade, I decided that my body wasn’t going to be fat and ugly anymore. I was going to lose weight, and I was going to lose it fast! And I did. In 3 months, I went from chubby to 120 pounds - a size 5. I worked out hard - way harder than any 13 year old should work out. I barely ate. I was obsessed with my weight.
I was thrilled. I had these ideas of high school. Now that I was thin, nobody would bully me! I would be accepted and popular and my depression would go away!
Oh, how wrong I was.
I joined the Colorguard team when I started high school. I became good friends with two girls on the team. My mom would take them to and from school a lot. They came over. We took them places. I bought them lunch a lot. I thought things were fine.
Over the coarse of Freshman year, I slowly put weight back on. The stress of school and guard pushed me to eat - a lot. It wasn’t a big deal…. yet.
10th grade. That is the year my life changed forever. That is the year that determined a lot of my future. I still cringe when I think about it.
My depression was getting worse. I wasn’t myself. I was now 180 pounds. I was working my ass off in colorguard and I was really good at it. I even choreographed 75% of our winterguard routine. This pissed off the two friends I had - one in particular. The captain of the team.
Next thing I knew, my house was being egged, I was being sent death threats via email and instant messenger. I was missing 2-3 days of school a week. I told the school about the bullying, and they did absolutely nothing.
I was extremely suicidal at this point. I remember thinking about killing myself on the one girl’s front porch, but I knew she wouldn’t care. They wanted me to die.
Finally, my Mom had to pull me out of school and put me on independent studies. By this time, I had lost ALL of my high school friends. I found out a lot of rumors were being spread about me. I was pregnant, I was psycho. You name it, they probably spread rumors about it.
They put me on Paxil to help with the depression, but it made me feel worse mentally, and I also put on 100 pounds in one year. See that picture of me with the butterfly wings on halloween? That is my least favorite photo of me EVER. I may have a smile on my face, but that was a terrible time for me. I didn’t get a prom or graduation. I did graduate, but it was through an independent studies program, so there was no ceremony. Bullying made me HATE myself. It made me want to die. It made me miss out on so much.
The reason I am sharing this tonight is because I accidentally stumbled upon the facebook of the girl who bullied me most. The girl who told me to kill myself because the world would be better off without fat girls like me.
She’s married, now. She has the fancy engagement photos.
She’s also a mother to a little girl. I sat here and looked at the photo of her holding her daughter, and this sadness just filled me.
I cannot explain to you how cruel this girl was. And it wasn’t just in high school. I ran into her at Wal-Mart once, us both in our 20’s. She looked at me and made a really sick face at me.
I just wonder - how would she feel if somebody treated her daughter the way she treated me? What if they egged her house, told her to die, prank called her? What if they made her feel like her body was disgusting and she should be alone forever because of it? What if they scar her forever with their words?
You see… because that’s what was done to me.
I have come a LONG way since then, but let me tell you… it certainly affected the way my life went. I had severe social anxiety in my early twenties. I didn’t go to college like I wanted. I was a straight A student in high school a majority of the time. I had a lot going for me, they said. But I was afraid of people…. afraid of what they might do or say to me…. so I hid for many years.
I am not hiding anymore. I am going to live my life. I just needed to let you all know what bullying can do to a person. So many things would be different in my life if these girls (now women…. mothers….. wives) had chosen not to bully me. Not to make my life a living nightmare.
There is a lot more to the story, but I feel like it’s already long enough, so I will leave it at that.
Do not bully others. Do not teach your children to bully others.