Dec 5, 2014

A different me, ten years later. Speaking out about bullying -- Don't give up hope!

Ten years ago I was an 19 year old about to graduate high school, very unsure of herself or her future.  I was extremely concerned about my popularity, fitting in, friends and college.  Up until the middle of my Senior year, I had no idea what I wanted to do for college or where I wanted to go.  I had absolutely no faith in myself and felt that I was fat, ugly and would never amount to anything.  I didn't realize, at that time, that was my depression talking and not my actual self.  I had a very morphed image of who I was and who I would become.  I wish I could go back and tell my 19 year old self some things because now that I am older, I realize how foolish I was back then. 

Popularity doesn't matter, it's not going to last forever.

Very few of the friends you have in High School will even stay with you past college.  People change and head in different directions.

Those are two of the most important things that I wish I would have realized back then.  It would have made the last year of High School a hell of a lot easier and would have made me not put as much pressure on myself.  Dwelling on my depression was not a good idea.

Now, as a 29 year old, I'm happy with myself but know that I could make improvements.  I feel better about who I am and where I am heading with my life.  I'm still depressed, every once in a while, but I know how to get myself out of that funk and know how to function better than I did back then. 
I am friends with two people that I went to High School with and believe it or not, I wasn't great friends with them back then.  With age, usually, comes maturity and you realize that what you thought of someone in High School is completely different than what you think of them now as an adult. Of course, this isn't true in all cases.  Some people that I went to High School with are just as immature as they were back then; if not more immature now. However, a lot of us have kids or are married and have responsibilities and realize that the bullying and immaturity they had in High School wasn't worth it.  I have gotten some apologies from those that I was bullied by and while I didn't need an apology, I surely did appreciate it.

My life also took a completely different path as I now have two children and didn't think I would have had kids as young as I did.  I couldn't be happier that I have my girls because they are my life.  They make my life complete.  They have also taught me what it is to be an adult, how amazing it feels like to give to others instead of being selfish and taught me unconditional love and patience.  It was amazing how the second I had my oldest everything changed.  I wasn't buying anything for myself anymore but loved buying everything for her. (Maybe too much!)  I learned that seeing my kids happy was the most important thing in the world and while they don't know how much they've taught me and wouldn't understand it now, they've taught me more than I could have ever taught myself.

My mother told me, ten years ago, that life would be different as I got older but I never wanted to believe her.  After all, how would life get better as I got older?  I would have more responsibilities, bills to pay, a house to keep going and so on... But she was right.  Even though I have responsibilities, a full time job, a family to support and bills to pay, I don't complain (too much) about any of it.  I'm not too keen on paying bills but I do feel proud that even though I struggle, I am able to pay the bills and support my family.  It's not easy, but life isn't easy; it's a continuous circle of learning and you surely do learn new things everyday.

I know that no bullied or isolated teenager things that things will get better, but they do.  They get better as long as you have a positive outlook and believe that things will get better.  When you're in High School this is easier said than done, sure, I know that first hand but it's true.  As long as you work to put aside the nasty comments that you hear about yourself and feel confident in yourself, you will get through it.  It's definitely something you have to learn and something that I wish I had learned early on, but you can do it if you just believe in yourself.

Kids and teenagers are getting bullied every single day and I cringe when I hear about young people committing suicide or considering committing suicide because they feel hopeless and depressed from things that others say.  It makes me cringe because I've been there and I realize that could have been me if I had given into my depression but I chose to try to fight against the bullies.  Not physically but emotionally.  I'm lucky that I had a great family and two friends that I could always complain to.  They helped tremendously in keeping me going on even when I felt like there was no hope for me.  I just wish more bullied kids or teenagers had the nerve to speak up and tell someone what they're feeling or what they're going through.  I'm sure that if they didn't keep it inside they would have an amazing support system to help them rather than take tragic measures into their own hands.

One day I would love to speak up against bullying in some way, shape or form.  It's something that is very important to me and something that I feel is important to me.  I would love to help others who are going through what I went through because now that I am older, I know methods that I could have utilized to stop the bullying or to put that behind me rather than dwelling on it and listening to it.  I would love to have be a voice in other's lives when they don't feel like there's one and I would love to be someone that others can lean on when they have no one else.

I just want everyone that is being bullied to know that there is hope and I wish I could have told myself that ten years ago, but I can't go back in time and change what happened to me or how I felt.  All I can do is hopefully help another generation who cannot help themselves.