Bullying hurts, but at the end of the day, it can make you a little stronger and stand a little taller.
When I was growing up, I faced a lot of adversity because of my cerebral palsy. Throughout school, many of my peers bullied me because I was “different.” Those hurtful incidents started all the way back in elementary school, but they have traumatized me to this day.
In 4th grade, I transferred to an all-uniform school, which led to years of bullying. At that school, the only thing that made anyone stand out was the type of sneakers they wore and how expensive they were. At that point in my life, I had to wear leg braces, and the only shoes that would fit over them were New Balance sneakers in Wide. Every day, when I wore my braces and sneakers, the same little boy would made fun of me for not wearing the “cool” shoes that everyone else wore. Every day, I came home crying, asking God why I was born so differently from the other kids.
In middle school, I became the “teacher’s pet,” which led to more teasing. I was the “nerd” in my grade and the only girl in my special education class, which was a difficult situation. The other students bullied me just because I refused to become someone else. I loved reading books and wanted to use my creative mind to get away from my reality, but I could never seem to escape because so many people made fun of my interests.
High school was the most difficult time for me as a student who had been bullied. The teachers and other staff at my school belittled me and didn’t believe in my capabilities. The bullying got so serious that I would pretend to be in pain or “fake sick” just to be able to skip classes that I didn’t like going to. I just wanted to hide from the embarrassment I knew I would always feel. Eventually, I didn’t care about anything anymore, and I gave up on school because I believed that I would never have a good experience there.
Overall, though, being bullied has made me stronger because now, I’m able to share those challenges I faced and help others. In sharing my story of being bullied, I’ve been able to teach the next generation of children to be kind and to never stop being who they are, so matter how “different” they feel like they are. As strange as it sounds, I strongly believe that getting bullied was part of God’s plan for me. My traumatic experiences with bullying have made me a more caring person and have given me a way to help others own who they are.