The Letter to My Teenage Self (Part 3)

It won’t always be this way!

People won’t always bully you. And your classmates won’t always be in your life.

Your stomach won’t always be in knots and you won’t always be running to the bathroom and throwing up because of the intense stress.

You won’t always have to wonder when some snake at school is going to attack you in the halls or in the girls’ room.

The looking in the mirror and trying different outfits, makeup tricks, and hairstyles- thinking that if you make yourself more attractive than you already are, the bullying will go away? It will soon end.

The wondering if you’re good enough and worthy of love? This will go away as well.

The wondering if you’ll ever be allowed to be yourself and to relax? This too shall pass.

The wondering if you’ll ever have true friends- friends who will love you for being you, stick up for you, and take care of you? Friends you don’t have to explain yourself to? In a few years, none of it will even be an issue.

Trust me. There will come a day when you won’t have the fake friends you have in school. And when that day arrives, you will have real friends who will love you for all that you are and all the beauty you bring to this world.

There will come a day when you’ll have the courage to walk away from toxic people who are no good for you. And you won’t be afraid to stand alone until better people find you.

There will come a day when you’ll be so confident and secure in yourself that the cruel words of others will no longer matter.

There will come a day when you’ll have a family of your own and friends who’ll love you for you.

People will no longer only tolerate you but celebrate you!

And each rejection, each bad name, each cruel taunt hurled; each punch, each kick, shove, and blow to your body will piss you off a little more, and a little more. But that anger will give you the dogged determination to tune out the naysayers, follow your dreams, and reach success!

Each incidence of bullying is only preparing you for what you’re meant to do later. It’s preparing you for a rewarding and successful life in the future.

Each blow you take, each bruise, each disappointment, each humiliation, each pull of your hair, and each tear you cry is only making you better. It’s making you the lady you’re meant to become- a more compassionate, empathetic, stronger, and wiser woman.

Your loneliness now will be an appreciation of the circle of friends and abundance of love you’ll have later.

Your naivete will become wisdom.

Your victimization will become your launchpad

And your bullies, your motivation.

I know it hurts. It hurts terribly! But the pain you suffer today will be the power you enjoy tomorrow!

So, hold on.
Don’t lose sight of your goals.
The best is yet to come!

Love,
Your Adult Self

The Letter to My Teenage Self (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

I know it’s tough. But sometimes you must first live with what you hate before you can move on to what you love. You must weather the storm before you can see sunlight. Understand that only when we’ve been through hell, do we appreciate heaven so much more.

Although your mind tells you that there’s something wrong with you- that it’s your fault- that you must be doing something to rub these people the wrong way, your heart tells you differently.

Your heart tells you that you did nothing wrong, that these classmates don’t like themselves and that they’re putting all that negative energy off on you. But this war between your mind and your heart leaves you exhausted.

No matter how bad things get, I see that small glimmer of hope in your eyes. Don’t lose it.

Although you carry an enormous amount of pain, you’re still holding on, taking it one day at a time. Keep it up.

Please love yourself and continue to forge your own path and carve your own space in this world despite how others may treat you.

And please don’t hate your classmates, feel sorry for them- take pity on them. Because their lives aren’t as perfect as they let on. Believe it or not, your classmates are hurting too.

They have mental problems of their own that they never confessed, addressed, nor got help for. Only they’ll never in this lifetime tell you about it.

Understand that they’re only keeping up appearances, which is such hard work. And they’re angry at you because you don’t have to work as hard as they do.

Realize that many of them are abused at home, have parents who are into prostitution or drugs and alcohol, and who fight. Many of them are also dirt poor, surviving on welfare and ashamed of it. Many of your classmates have home lives you couldn’t imagine! And school is their happy place.

Open your eyes and see that your home life is better than a lot of kids your age. Be thankful for it. Your home is a sanctuary compared to most.

And they’re also scared- scared of becoming just like you- a target! Therefore, they feel compelled to join in the bullying in order to make their bones with the in-clique.

But understand that all this makes them cowards and again, they’re to be pitied, not hated.

You don’t yet realize how strong, brave, and resilient you are. But you are- just for the fact that you haven’t dropped out of school like so many of your classmates. You haven’t quit the race! You haven’t given up on life!

Even though you know all too well that you will be bombarded with a barrage of taunts and insults, or worse, physically attacked once you pass through the school entrance, you manage to find the courage to get up every morning and go to school and- you do it scared!

So, who are the weak ones now?

They may have favor with most of the teachers, even the ones who have little hope for you. However, most of them will never leave this town. This is a small town- only a dot on the map. In a small town, it doesn’t take much effort nor very long to maximize one’s potential.

Even though you feel so small and insignificant, understand that each of your classmates feels the same way you do. And the only way they can feel big and powerful is to make you feel bad. And one day, you’re going to see just how they end up.

Only a few will make it. The rest will be living in loveless and abusive marriages. Many will be poor and wondering how they’ll pay the rent. Some will join gangs or begin slinging dope.

Several will immerse themselves in drugs and alcohol to cope with their failures in life. A good portion of them will end up behind bars. And many will have kids who disrespect and hurt them.

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Most of your classmates will be on a desperate and never-ending search for love, going through numerous divorces and broken relationships. They’ll never learn to fall in love with themselves and with life first.

They’ll be on an endless quest for happiness and never realize that happiness comes from within themselves.

I know you want so badly to fix it, but don’t know what’s broken.

You’ll laugh at me when I tell you what I’m about to tell you. You’ll probably tell me I’m crazy and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m going to tell you anyway.

There’s nothing wrong with you. Your classmates are the ones with the issues! They are the ones who are “crazy” and to keep everyone from figuring it out, they put it all off on you.

I want you to know that you’re a major threat to them. That’s right. You are a threat to your classmates. Do you know why?

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It’s because you’re smart- smart enough to see right through them and they know it. They also hate it!

You’re also talented. You can sing, for crying out loud! Your classmates know you can sing and they’re jealous of your beautiful voice. They’re afraid that you’ll expose the bullying and let all their skeletons out of the closet.

Why do you think they shout you down and tell you to “shut up” every time you start to open your mouth? Why do you think they scream at you and tell you to sit down every time you get up to sharpen a pencil or turn in homework- or speak up to answer a teacher’s question in class?

They’re very much afraid that you’ll humiliate them, so they keep you afraid to open your mouth.

They hate it when you write. But understand that they’re afraid you might be writing about them and their cruelty. Isn’t that why they had your journal taken?

But know this. You have so much potential. You just don’t know it yet, because you’ve been programmed to think that you’re no good and will never amount to anything.

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I know that sometimes you want to die. But if you keep living, I promise that things will get better- much better! Because you’re going to accomplish things you never thought you would. You will end up surprising yourself!

Although you think this is a load of feel-good garbage now, the truth is that your classmates bully you to keep you down because they fear that if you ever rise, you’ll cause them to fade into the background.

I also know that your home life isn’t so hot either. Your father doesn’t believe in you and treats you more like a stepchild than a child. He acts like you’re not one of his. But understand that he’s battling demons of his own.

And I know that you’re anxious for your mother to remarry so you’ll have a replacement dad. I know you dream of having a stepdad who’ll legally adopt you as his own. But honey, no one else will ever replace your daddy and someday, you’re going to realize it.

I know it seems that you and Mom don’t see eye to eye and the easiest way to avoid any fallouts is to stay in your room, write, and get lost in the music you blare so loudly.

I know you feel like she’s ashamed of you and wishes she had a different child. She isn’t and she doesn’t. She loves you very much and the bullying you suffer hurts her too. Know that she’s on your side.

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And you’re going to find out later that if you open your heart to her and talk, even cry to her, she’ll listen while she holds you, and you’ll grow closer than ever before.

Also, realize that every kid goes through times when they’re at odds with parents. And I’ll go back to a point I made earlier- your home life is a lot better than most.

I know you’re withdrawn- closed off- scared to talk to people because you’re afraid being vulnerable- afraid they’ll make fun of anything you have to say. But take the risk anyway. Open your heart to people. Laugh and have fun with them. I promise you that they just might see your golden heart and love you for it.

School is worse than anything. I know that inside, you want to laugh, want to sing, want to dance, but you’re afraid of having it bullied and beaten out of you. Know that one day, you’ll have the courage to let yourself do and be.

Know that what you’re going through now is only temporary.

(Continued in Part 3…)

The Letter to My Teenage Self

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Hey, Angel!

I know you’re hurting, you’re lonely, and you’re frightened. You’re exhausted- damned tired of having to fight just to get through what should be a normal school day. You’re also confused- you’re not sure what you should do to remedy the situation.

Hurting, heartbroken- crushed because the judgments are severe, and no one will give you a chance. Your opportunities have been taken from you- opportunities to make new friends, to get a part-time job, for scholarships, and for dating and romance- just to grow as a person and move forward!

Lonely, isolated- alienated from seemingly everyone because your good name has been defamed and destroyed. Everyone is seemingly scared of you- scared to be seen with you. Or they’re cruel to you.

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You can feel the contempt when they look at you with eyes that pierce you. And yes! It cuts deep! You withdraw and refuse to speak to them. You act as if you don’t need any of them, even respond to them in kind. You do all this not because you want to but strictly for self-preservation, which only makes them hate you more, and alas, reinforces the alienation.

Frightenedterrified of making mistakes, and of failing because of the continuous threat of being taunted, ridiculed, humiliated! And why not? It’s already happened, and it continues to.

You’re in danger- danger of being physically attacked- shoved to the floor, your hair pulled out, punched, kicked, choked! You even fear they’ll slice your face, cut your throat, stab or shoot you because they’ve already threatened to. In the back of your mind, you know that every action begins with a thought.

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Exhausted– damned sick of the never-ending drama, the fakery, and the stupidity of not only your classmates but a few petty, immature, and cliquey teachers who are only adult versions of the punks who torment you, and who probably picked their careers because they couldn’t get enough of their glory days of high school. I know that’s what you’re thinking.

You’re just plain worn out from the incessant need to grow eyes in the back of your head- watching your back, looking over your shoulder and of the ducking and dodging people who wish to do you harm! Who can learn when they’re constantly in defense mode?

You’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Period!

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Confused– bewildered as to how you should respond to the cruelty the school subjects you to. Because of the constant abuse, you don’t even know who you are now. You’re not sure which direction you should go in, nor what the future will bring. You don’t know what to say because you aren’t sure how the words will come out and whether you’ll end up saying something stupid.

You consistently wrack your brain, trying to figure out why. You wonder how it all even got started and what you must’ve said or done to bring it about.

You’re bullied every day, all the time, by everyone, for everything.

It seems that no one will allow you to be a human being.

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If you smile, people automatically think you’re up to something.
If you frown, they think you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

If you laugh, people think you’re making fun of them.
If you cry, they tell you you’re too sensitive and call you a crybaby.

If you sing, you’re accused of showboating.
If you write, they accuse you of writing something nasty about them.

If you wear a dress, makeup, and your hair down, you’re only trying to impress the opposite sex and get a date and/or laid.
If you wear your jeans a little too tight, they label you a whore.

If you get angry, speak out or fight back, they label you as crazy, mentally unbalanced, and in need of professional help.
If you’re happy and cheerful, they ask you what mischief you got or whether you slept with someone.

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If you’re friendly, they accuse you of kissing up.
If you’re quiet, distant, and don’t feel like talking, they call you a snob and accuse you of being stuck-up.
Yet, if you speak, they only shout you down and tell you to shut up.

If you’re dating, they think you’re having sex
If you’re not, they say it’s because you’re a prude, a loser, or that no one will have you.

You’re fully aware that everyone- everyone is watching you closely- clocking your every move, listening to every word that comes out of your mouth. They’re nosy, always prying into your private business. And they’re constantly waiting- just waiting for you to screw up- make a mistake- just one tiny error, all for the purpose of using it against you later and making it bigger. It’s akin to being under a microscope!

Close up of examining of test sample of microchip transistor under the microscope in laboratory.

Sweetie, I know that you’ve been unjustly and unfairly labeled- branded, like a cow. Even worse, they’re trying their hardest to make you believe it too.

But don’t! Don’t believe the lies! They don’t know you, even after so many years, your classmates still don’t know you. Because, for so long, they’ve been so busy pointing fingers at you that they never really took the chance to get to know you.

And what they don’t know is that you have a heart of gold.

You only want what everyone else wants and seems to have- friends and to be loved and accepted for the person you are. Although they may ridicule or demonize you for wanting those things, please know in your heart that there’s no shame in having those desires because it’s only natural to have them. It’s only human nature.

It seems that every time you pull yourself up, they always seem to be waiting to knock you back down again. But they only do it because they’re deathly afraid that if you ever rise, you’d take some of the spotlight from them, along with the benefits they’re getting at your expense.

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When you try to talk about the brutality you suffer at school, the classmates bully you harder and the adults only turn a deaf ear. But understand that they only silence you out of fear- fear that their own bad behavior and shortcomings will be exposed. And the adults are afraid of being seen as negligent and of the impact on the school’s reputation. The town of Oakley prides itself in its schools.

You’re so anxious for school to just be over with, but don’t rush it. Instead, learn everything you can while you can. Get as much out of it now, while it’s easiest to do so!

You’ve been beaten down and trampled underfoot for so long that now, you’re feeling desperate- desperate to just pack up and leave. And you’re willing to go to any lengths necessary to get out of this toxic environment you’re trapped in. Just be sure that you don’t end up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

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I also know that you’re in a hurry to grow up. You just want to turn eighteen and become an adult who can then have control over her own life. But please, slow down! Having control of your own life is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Please! Whatever you do, don’t lose hope because I promise you! Life will get better- much better. It’s just not time right now. Your due season hasn’t arrived yet.

(Continued in part 2…)

12 Postive Takeaways You Can Take from Being Bullied

1. Empathy and Compassion for the underdog

2. Appreciation of your family, friends and all the fantastic people in your life

3. Clarity of what you will and will not tolerate

4. Determination to go after what you want in life

5. A Sharper BS Detector

6. A Mission to tell your story and speak out against injustice

7. A Realization of the importance of self-care, loving yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin.

8. A Desire to learn about human behavior and why people do what they do

9. The will to protect other targets of bullying

10. The Strength and willingness to get rid of toxic people and live life on your terms

11. The selectiveness of who you allow into your life

12. A better judge of character

Here’s What Being Bullied Taught Me

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Although being bullied is no fun and can be damaging to the psyche, there are many lessons that can be learned from it. Here’s what it taught me.

1. The evils humans are capable of and their predatory nature. People can be the evilest and the cruelest of all living things. Not everyone is inherently good. Being bullied taught me to be on the lookout for those who would secretly wish to harm my loved ones or me. It taught me to watch for enemies disguised as friends and to pay close attention to body language, expressions, and any micro flashes. And it taught me exactly what signs in other people to watch for.

2. Empathy and Compassion. Being bullied taught me empathy and compassion for others. Because I know first hand what it is and how it feels to be a target of bullies, I make it a point to extend kindness, especially to people whom others have unjustly marginalized and misjudged. I believe in spreading the same goodness and dignity to the janitor as I would the CEO.

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3. To never take anyone for granted. Because I know what it is to be rejected by everyone and to be left alone to fend for myself, I have nothing but appreciation for the people in my life and all the good they bring. I make it a point never to take my family and friends for granted, and I will fight to protect them if they’re being mistreated or are in trouble. I value loyalty, and I extend it to the people who matter to me. If you are a person I love and you tell me a secret, you can bet that your secret will be safe with me. And if anyone trash talks you, I’ll defend you even when you aren’t around to see it.

4. To value, love, and take care of myself. Because, let’s face it. No one else will. It’s so important to put yourself first. No matter what anyone thinks or says, be true to yourself. Be yourself. And don’t let bullies distort your self-esteem or tell you “it isn’t cool” if there’s something you really enjoy doing. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what fulfills you and makes you happy. And forget the rest. Confidence and self-love are the most important things you can have.

5. To go after my goals and dreams. If there’s anything I want in life, I go after it. I work hard for what I want because I’ve gotten enough of what I don’t. Being bullied gave me the tenacity to reach my goals and dreams. And I’ve made several accomplishments- accomplishments I probably never would’ve made had I not been a target of bullying. Bullies only fuel my motivation to reach more successes and live a happy life. So, instead of holding grudges against your bullies, use them as your drive to reach heights you never thought possible! Because happiness and success are the best revenge you can ever take.

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6. To never be afraid to say “no” or set boundaries. I learned the hard way that if you don’t say no nor set boundaries, people will walk all over you. And sometimes, even if you do, there will be those who will double down and challenge those boundaries. But you must stay firm no matter what. You might be retaliated against for it, but at least you’ll feel better later, in knowing that you stood up for yourself. And as the old saying goes, “I’d rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.”

Finding the lessons in bullying will make you a happier person later on. It did me!

I’m Thankful for My Bullies

I know you’re scratching your head on this one. “Why,” you ask. It’s because they taught me things I never would’ve learned otherwise. And they showed me things that, although weren’t pleasant, were things I would need to know later.

1. They showed me the kind of person I never wanted to be and still never want to be.

2. They showed me the ugliest side of human nature.

3. They showed me the level of evil humans are capable of.

4. They showed me the types of people I don’t need nor want in my life.

5. They showed me the types of people to always avoid.

6. They showed me what signs to watch out for.

7. They gave me the determination to love myself and to go after what I want in life.

8. They molded me into a good judge of character.

9. They taught me the value of true, genuine friendships and to take no one for granted.

Yes. Although they were brutal people, and none of the bullying they dished out was fun by any stretch of the imagination, my bullies in school taught me all these things. And I hold these takeaways close to my heart today.

It’s hard to look for the silver lining while people are bullying you. However, once you get away from your bullies and the torment is over, not only do you regain a renewed sense of hope, but you also see so much clearer the lessons in what you had to endure.

With knowledge comes empowerment!