My experience in high school wasn’t the best. I can now easily close my eyes and remember hundreds of bad stories: that first day when I was called gross and fat, another when someone threw a shoe at me, one of my many birthdays that no one attended, how much I suffered at P.E. class.
I admire myself sometimes. I remember how young I was, all I had to go through, and how despite all of it, I never quit. I showed up, day after day to school, even though there were so many excuses I wanted to use to stay at home, where I could safely watch TV and get hugs from my mom.
But now I’m 21 (almost 22!) years old, and I’ve done so much. I’ve become a fully grown woman, I’ve done huge efforts to change so many things that I didn’t like about me. Just to name a few things: I’ve lived abroad on my own twice, fell in love so many times, found new amazing friends, won awards at University, and had 2 great jobs. So… how come I can’t forget my high school years? How come I still get sad or angry when I remember the bad times?
I like to think that these stories turned me into the person that I am today. I can see the glass half empty and say “I should be so sad that these things happened!”, or I can do the right thing, which is knowing that they have indeed turned me into who I am, because I am a warrior.
Yes, a warrior! I’m a girl with dreams and hopes and I’m willing to overcome whatever challenge that gets in front of me. I’m unstoppable, and I have the power to achieve whatever I want.
And for any girls in high school (or in any stage in life, because unfortunately, grown-ups can be as mean as children sometimes) experiencing bullying: You’re better than this. I know sometimes it feels like they are right, and all those things they say or do get to you. I know you don’t understand why this is happening, or why you deserve this — and truth is, you don’t. But you’re strong, you can get through it. So many people love you, and your current reality doesn’t define you.
When I was younger and crying in the high school bathroom because someone had called me something, it truly felt like that was the only way things would ever be. But now I can say that life has given me so many more beautiful memories than those. And while it is true that on some bad nights I close my eyes and remember the ugly times, I can only be thankful for them: they have turned me into the amazing person I am today, and the even more wonderful one I will be in the future.