I don’t specifically remember being bullied in school. I know I had low self-esteem, and I was overweight, and if people were mean to me about that, I guess I sort of believed I deserved it. So, maybe I was and people didn’t talk about it.
I remember once a friend of my cousin and a family member (of hers) visiting from out of town rode by me. I was, maybe, eight. We all rode bicycles then. Small town and you could go out all day, come home for dinner, and no one worried. As they passed me, this boy said, “Move it, Miss Piggy.” It hurt, of course. But, worse, it shamed me. I remember going home for dinner, and my dad telling me how pretty I was and all the boys would be after me soon (as dads do), and wanting to keep it from him, so I wouldn’t disappoint him. I remember swallowing around the lump in my throat, struggling to keep the tears from falling. If I cried, they’d ask why. What parent wouldn’t? And I was too ashamed that I’d made someone say that, to call me fat, to hurl an insult at me like I didn’t matter.
I remember the summer before I started high school, I was at a friend’s house with my best friend. This boy, a sophomore, had called his brother and spoke to me on the phone. And later, I picked up the phone to call my mom to come get me, and I heard the brother tell him how huge my thighs were and he didn’t want to waste time talking to me. And I was hurt. And I hated myself, for not being thin and perfect. I deserved to be minimalized, because I couldn’t magically make myself a better me.
I remember in my twenties, after years of not-good-enough and you’d-be-so-pretty-if-you-lost-that-weight that I got mad. It took me twenty-eight years to get angry. It took me twenty-years to realize that if it hadn’t been my weight, it would’ve been my nose, or my hair, or my clothes, or the books I always read. Because mean people just want to be mean.
If we could change ourselves, be more thin, or prettier, or less socially awkward, or more straight–it wouldn’t matter. And, really, why would you want to? To shut up the voices that say you’re not good enough? They don’t get to decide that. The truth is, only you get to decide that.
So, please, if you take anything from this and you are being bullied, say something. It does matter. It isn’t okay. You don’t deserve it. You are awesome. Exactly the way you are. You wake up tomorrow, and you rock that day as you. Perfectly, deeply, brilliantly you. Click To Tweet And, the next day, do the same thing. Those people will fall away. They’ll matter less. Your parents or a teacher will help you. Somebody loves you more than the air they breathe. Let that be enough, for now. And tomorrow, try to love yourself just as much.