Bullying and the odd places to find it

When I was younger, I had to attend a day care center everyday because both of my parents worked too far away to look after us before and after we went to school. So, you’d think that it would be a fun place to meet friends and learn new things while I’m outside of school. Ironically, there was never a bullying problem in my elementary school. We always had to attend those boring assemblies on the power of bullying and how to identify bullying, but my school never had a real issue with the subject… except for that one time a group of fifth graders tried to start a gang, but that’s besides the point. The only time I ever encountered bullying was first handed at this day care center.

It all started when I made friends with the popular girls. They were the queens that ran the only radio in the room and I had the Hannah Montana CD's to win them over. After I got into their clique, it all went down hill. Suddenly, I wasn’t skinny enough, my clothes weren’t trendy enough, and I had to get rid of my other friends. I didn’t know they were bullying me because I was more focused on being their friend. So every time these popular girls pushed me away, I wanted to be their friend even more. It got to the point where my self esteem dwindled and I was grasping for straws on how I could both be what they wanted me to be and be happy at the same time. Luckily, my mom and dad pulled me out of that day care center and put my into my neighbor’s hands.

There, it wasn’t as brutal as I remember the day care, but it is still a painful memory. I thought I would be more comfortable because I wouldn’t feel pressured to get people to like me. But on the hot summer days, when there was no air conditioning, I got scary. I don’t handle being hot for too long very well. It puts me in a bit of a crabby mood. I tried to put up with how physically uncomfortable it was to be there or how I had be shackled to my little brother. I turned to stress eating. I would sneak into their fridge and gobble anything that I could. I remember our main meal was Ramen Noodles. I’m surprised I don’t have cholesterol issues from how much of those we had. My neighbors started housing their other family and that only drove me further up a wall. With other adults around, I was picked on for being porky, or always eating. I was asked why I never went outside and stayed inside to watch TV. When I did go outside, the other children would pick on me. I started realizing how this was beating me up, I began starving myself and then binge eating out of anxiety. I’d sit in front of a oscillating fan and munch on Doritos while watching cartoons. I remember sweat would drip down my back, over the rolls on my sides, through the tight t-shirt I wore. After a day of me binge eating, my neighbor grabbed me by the arm, dragged me to her couch, and told me that if I got up, she would have to tell my parents what a bitch I was being. That was the day all compassion and love for myself diminished. I didn’t deserve happiness anymore.

Going into middle school was on odd transition for me. I was put into a class where I had to exercise everyday. I lost so much weight, my yearbook picture no longer looked like me. But that didn’t stop other people from seeing my many imperfections. After an incident of being shot down by a boy, I over heard friends saying how pathetic it was for me to even try. I joined cliques that didn’t necessarily want me, just something new. I would stay home on the weekends and wonder why no one wants me around. I would beg friends to invite me along, but nothing ever changed. I started my journey of struggles with bulimia. It was a horrible relationship that dictated my life like an abusive boyfriend. I would purge after dinner no matter the meal. When I can home from school, I binged and would only think “Don’t worry, I’m going to throw it up anyways.” I would stop for a while, and tell myself that that wasn’t healthy, but it never did stop.

One of my favorite phrases is “Once you’ve hit rock bottom, there is no other way to go but up” And that’s exactly how I felt in high school. After a frustrating freshman year of discovering my sexuality and breaking away from bad groups, I blossomed. I found people that wanted to be around me, and this time it wasn’t for my sweet music collection. Though I’m sure if you ask any of my friends from the music wing, I could be wrong. I found hobbies that distracted me from hurting myself.

I decided to write this to prove how a world can change. I now sit and stare at my phone screen lighting up with messages from a group chat of friends who love me. I look over and see the breakfast I made for myself that fit into my morning calorie range. My plans today are to go see my psychiatrist because I do still have to work over my pains and anxieties about living in a world filled with different opinions. I have been seven months clean from bulimia and I feel great. Although I still have the urge to purge once in a while, I always fight back. I have a loving boyfriend who embraces the imperfections I once held onto like the wind. Things will change, but it takes time and work like anything else does.

Though we cannot direct the wind, we can adjust the sails. (Dolly Parton)