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This Is How I Became Friends With my Bullies

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I am not going to lie: I took some tumbles along my 22 years of existence. From depression to the start of anorexia, from breaking my own heart to letting someone break it for me, it was definitely a rough path to walk. And above it all, I still suffered from bullying for 13 years, which is something that I shouldn't have let it happen.

The first time I suffered from social exclusion, I was about 7. While at recess in primary school, I decided to deliver my birthday party invitations. I have no recollection of how it happened, but moments after I started to give out my birthday invites, a girl came over and threw them in the air, making them fall into a mud slop. I was a child. I didn't know how to contest it, and I went to a corner to cry. Luckily, my mother and grandmother passed by and noticed me, and eventually talked with my teacher, and the girl was punished.
The junior high years weren't any easier. I have allergic rhinitis, which basically looks like I have eczema and makes me scratch my entire body, or makes me go through oxygen therapy because I loose my ability to breath normally. Because of those scratches, I have quite a few marks on my back and lower legs, and in the early 2000s, AIDS became a hot topic. When news reports showed the effects of the disease's epidemic that had occurred for the last 25 years, everyone at school started to say that those marks in my body were the result of AIDS and that I had it. Children can be very cruel toward each other, so for an 11 year old girl to be told that she had marks and that she was ugly because she had AIDS, it was truly damaging for my self esteem and capacity to love myself.

High School was even harder, I think, because I was dating, and I thought that everything was way better until I starting to be bullied because of how I used my makeup, the brands that I wore or the friends that I had, and for a person with self-esteem problems that breaks you down. When my relationship with my first serious boyfriend came to an end, it was the same time when my depression started. My parents divorced, and my grandfather passed away - all of this happened in two years. It was so damaging that people started to bullying me over my sadness.
Today is easier. I wake up, and the past is in the past and I look forward to the future. I've traveled, I've worked, I've grown up in all the aspects of my life and I've realized that what happened to me made me be who I am today. Is still hard to look myself in the mirror with no makeup or fancy undergarments or pretty clothes and feel mighty fine? I don't have the capacity to feel pretty anymore when I look myself in the mirror on my birthday suit. But I am really happy that I overcame all of it and that today I speak with people who used to bully me and that those people regret it.

If you are going through a situation like this, please know that you are not alone. We might not know each other or have ever talked, but I believe you, I love you and I know that you will overcome it. Good things happen to good people, and sometimes we have to go through a very hard patch to reach the highest and the best when we are older. Don't ever believe in what they tell you. You are beautiful, have worth and are capable of the most amazing and incredible things in life. And that's something that I wished that people would've told me during all of those years, months and days of suffering.

Don't ever forget to love and believe in yourself.

XOXO, Beatriz
(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)


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