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This Is How I Stopped Hating Myself

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

During my childhood and adolescent life, I was hated by my peers. I experienced my fair share of bullying when I was as young as 6 years old. I was always considered an easy target especially since I was considered the new kid three times from moving schools. The kids at school would always refer to me as a stupid, ugly, annoying, and weird kid. I was the kid who was the last person chosen to be on a team in gym class and the one who everyone excluded.

While growing up, my sister also had it out for me. She would remind me every day that I was stupid, ugly, weird, and annoying. She made sure that I would process those harmful words by constantly being reassuring. Those words that described me followed me to high school.

My grades were so horrible that I almost didn’t graduate 8th grade. Because of this, I felt that everything said about me such as calling me stupid was true. On top of that — my mother wasn’t too fond of me as well. She still today does not remember that day she called me a mistake because she was frustrated with me and my poor grades.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

During my freshman year of high school, I didn’t try out or audition for anything because I didn’t feel like I was good enough. By that time — I felt extremely worthless. I didn’t value my life in high school. I would hang out with the wrong crowd, get drunk at the age of 14, and get involved with older guys.

I was bullied in high school through this website called Formspring. The website was a Q&A social media network where its purpose was for the user to ask anonymous questions. This website was a set up for disaster. It was the perfect place for bullies to thrive. I was told horrible things such as to kill myself. When I was 17 years old, I wanted to end my life. I hated myself that much. By that age, I didn’t feel like I had any reason to be alive. Mental health was not spoken about when I was in high school so I felt extremely alone. Thankfully, I never ended my story otherwise I wouldn’t be here today to tell it.

This Is How My Life Changed Around

My life changed as soon as I graduated from high school. This was my opportunity to never look back. I finally can choose the people I associate myself with. In grade school and high school, you don’t get to make that choice. I had one role model in high school that I looked up to and that was my chorus teacher. There was one day that I was venting to him and he told me that high school is a fishbowl and once I graduate I would be let free into the sea with millions of other humans I can associate myself with. I will never forget that piece of advice because it stuck with me. It gave me that hope.

After high school, I met different people through work and college. I went to a community college for my first two years of school. No one knew me in that school which gave me a fresh start. I still carried some anxiety over from high school, but no one bullied me. People who attend community colleges strictly go for education. It’s not your typical college where you feel like you have social obligations. Because of this, I had two years to self reflect. I took this time to work on myself by focusing on school, working part-time at a bank, and working on getting fit. I got As and Bs in school, my job paid well for a 19-year-old with no bills, and I had abs lol! I felt pretty good about myself. The number of achievements I made in two short years was an amazing boost to my self-esteem.

After my first two years of community college, I went off to a four-year college. My Junior year of college involved a slight relapse due to being bullied by my roommates. I started to feel the sadness I felt in high school, but this time it was different — I was stronger. I held on to the self-esteem boost I received during my first two years of achievements personally and academically. I will admit that I had nights that I cried and had thoughts of my past, but I was able to push through.

During my junior year of college, I dared to create a YouTube channel. This is something that many people may not have the courage to do because of the possibility of bullying. I took a leap and faith and did it anyway. I must say that it opened up the door to new friendships that I still currently manifest today.

A huge self-esteem booster is expanding your social network. This gave me the realization that there are other people out there in the world that shares the same values as you. All the people who called me weird just didn’t understand and share the same values as me. I would like to consider my weirdness as creativity. YouTube is the creative outlet that I desperately needed.

Moving Forward…

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

I applied for the Disney College Program as a leap of faith. I truly did not expect to even get an interview for this program. I had feelings of not being good enough because it is Disney and we all know that everyone wants to work for this company. I didn’t think someone like me would get in. When I got in, I never felt so proud of myself. I got accepted into a highly competitive program. This program by far completely changed my life. I did not only have an amazing experience being part of the magic, but I had the opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. This program opened up my eyes and connected me with life long friends. I loved it so much that I still today work for the company full time. I will forever be grateful for Disney coming into my life. This company doesn’t just pay my bills, but it also helped me grow as a person. I never thought in my life that I would manage to work for one of the best companies in the world. I proved to all the people who called me worthless that I am considered an asset and not a liability.

On the side of working full time with Disney, I run my YouTube channel where I talk about mental health topics and write articles just like this to help spread awareness. This is when I realized that I have a purpose in life and I have no reason to hate myself. I love myself. I may struggle to grow sometimes, but I did come very far as a person and I give myself props for that. I truly believe that taking the time to learn and grow is the best thing to do for self-love.

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Justine Elizabeth

Justine Elizabeth

Writer for Invisible Illness, The Ascent, and Better Advice l Listen to my podcast Mentally A Badass IG: mentallyjustine

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