“Have a great day, smile!” my dad would yell out the car window as he drove off. I’d flash him a smile then return back to my blank face. I was about to enter my living hell. Every new day came with a new insult. Things like: “You’re so fat,” “All your friends just pity you,” “I can’t believed that you left your house looking like that” were statements I heard every day.
The voice behind these comments was a cheerleader. She was the ideal body type, not too short, not too tall. She was skinny, and constantly changed her hair color. She was my greatest fear. I tried to avoid her at all cost, but to no avail. I couldn’t ever seem to free myself of her reign of terror.
My self-confidence plummeted. I wasn’t sure that life was ever going to get better. Any thought that was remotely positive about me, I thought was a lie. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted everything that I was to die. Every day was this constant battle of who I was and who I wanted to be. I’d dream that there was place where I would stop self-loathing and binge eating. I dreamed that one day, I’d have friends and feel worthy of the love I so badly craved.
I believed that I had no friends, so I began to eat lunch in the bathroom. The bullying got worse and so did my lunch circumstances. She began physically hurting me; punching, kicking, tripping. Teachers saw, but there was nothing that was ever done. Meanwhile, I began not eating lunch at all, and when I got home I’d binge eat.
Through all this, I found that people need other people. I had a friend who got me to stop going to bathroom during lunch. She’d eat with me every day. She’d check on me to see how I was doing. She was always there to listen to me. It was her love and acceptance for who I am that taught me that I am so worth loving. She’ll never be able to grasp my gratitude for her.
During this time, I also discovered a love for writing. Within writing, I found peace in the chaotic world around me. I felt that it was the one thing I could depend on.I felt that my pencil and paper would be there whenever I needed it. I was not afraid to say or do anything. Writing was where I could show my heart, who I was. When I was writing , I felt untouchable, almost like no one could bring me down, even my greatest fear. In writing, I found healing. It was almost as if every word I wrote somehow bandaged my aching heart.
From the bullying, I developed Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s hard for me to eat alone or in front of certain people. I still had a huge fear that she’d attack me even years later.
I’ll never know why the cheerleader choose me as her target of all this torture, but if given the choice, I wouldn’t change it. Not all the changes were negative. The bullying made me stronger. It taught me to be courageous, and to stand up for myself and others. It gave me a passion. I want people to have a greater understanding of people with Social Anxiety Disorder. I hope to write a book called The Working Title about growing up with Social Anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I hope to major in psychology in order to become a child psychologist and work with children who are going through a whirlwind of chaos and uncertainty. I want people to know there is hope, that recovery is possible. I want them to know that your hardest trial isn’t the end of your story.