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Dear Young People

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Dear Young People,

I came from a time before bullying was a ‘real issue’.  Bullies were pretty much only comic relief in TV shows; they would more often than not see the error of their way by the end of the 50 minute program and wind up with their arm amiably around the protagonist with an ‘Aww shucks’.

They were not school children in uniforms, and the idea that a whole class room or school could bully one person was unheard of.

But there I was in first grade dreaming of jumping out of the car on the free way, just so I didn’t have to go to school the next day.  There I was in fourth grade (poorly) adding up how much food and drink I consumed so that my parents would know how much money they would save if I just never left my room again.
I wasn’t bullied though, I WAS WEIRD.  I was antisocial and had trouble adapting.
But I didn’t help myself.  I was allergic to so many foods that I couldn’t eat the birthday cake at other peoples parties (and what weirdo does that).  I had just enough learning disabilities to make the teachers think I was slow and a daydreamer.  They, in the middle of class, would ask me why I was making it hard on myself.
I wanted to wear red cow boy boots to school when everyone else was wearing the latest sneaker trends.
I got along much better with adults so I started trying to act like one. When asked what my lenten promise was I said I was going on a diet. (who does that?). I had to spend lunch alone because the teachers saw that I wasn’t social enough to be with the other kids, so they sat me completely alone for the whole lunch hour.  I started pointing out my supposed flaws so that other people wouldn’t. And I was always drawing, doodling, sketching (like I thought I was an artist, everyone knows artist are just losers).  I made one friend but because she wouldn’t be mean to me she was bullied so ruthlessly she had to switch schools.
I was in parent teacher conferences constantly.
But I didn’t complain. I didn’t tell my parents about them throwing food at me, dropping the locks to their lockers on my head, calling me dumb, holding me down and spitting crackers on me, and myriad other things.  I didn’t tell because it was MY fault.  I was the weird one, I was different, I wasn’t getting along with them.
Needless to say I left that place insecure, self hating, and a little screwed up.  I fluctuated between heavy and thin. I acted out.  I had several ‘cries for attention’ and saw professionals to find out why I WAS SO WRONG.  I was self destructive but never enough ‘fix everything’.  I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t think I deserved to live.
When I switched schools it was a shock.  I was no longer the most hated person at school, now I was no body. Like I mentioned I acted out, I dressed up, started thinking if I was loud enough people had to pay attention.  I dumped every boyfriend I ever had because I hated the idea of someone liking ME, but I craved their acceptance.
I put up walls and constantly talked down on myself.
Part way through high-school I became a victim of the prepositional phrase.
“Oh I love that band, because I’m dumb.”
“I think this is a good idea, but I’m probably wrong.”
“I wear a medium, because I’m fat.”
Everything I did or said I thought was crap.  I rarely ever saw myself on the mirror because every single flaw was covering me.   Every mean thing those kids said back when I was young blocked my view of who I was.
I was terrified that my friends might learn how lame I really was, and leave me.
(deep breath)
But slowly things changed.  I realized people liked me anyway for the few real bits of me I let them see.  They saw through my bullshit and for once I wasn’t that different.  I still yo-yoed between heavier than my friends and far too thin.  But it evened out.  I still had rough times, but it got better.
I realized for every person who wanted to hurt me, there was at least one who would hug me.
I met a man who bulldozed my walls, saw my insecurity, and loved me and married me.
I graduated college with a BA in Art.
I can’t always stop the self hate, but I don’t have to believe it.  Most importantly, I have let go of the people who bullied me.  What they said isn’t who I am.
My dear Young People, I hope you at least get from this long story that you are amazing.  You are talented.  YOU ARE NOT WEIRD.  It is not your fault. You WILL find people who really appreciate everything you are.  And for every person who is just mean out there, there is me, or someone like me, who would love to give you a hug.
Love, Me
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1 Comment to Dear Young People

  1. March 30, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your story; that takes a lot of courage. I’m astonished that these things happened to you and so happy for your that your got through it and rose above. We all have gifts to share, we just have to find them.

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I’m Mara Glatzel. I’m an intuitive coach and writer. I guide women home to themselves and teach them to create lives brimming with supreme self-care. read more
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