It is not uncommon for calamities and tragedies to take place in this world. A great number of people die every day. Many of us experience illness at at least one point in our lives. It is sad; however, it is also something that is important to accept, because all of us, for as long as we are alive, deal with problems.
I am nineteen years of age, turning twenty next year in February. Although I am quite young, it does not mean that I have not been faced with adversities or struggles. I say this, because I know that some people out there believe that young people do not have much experience. But I disagree. I uphold the opinion that, no matter how young an individual is, he or she may have acquired a great deal of experience, learning valuable lessons from the situations that they have been through. Regardless of age, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, and the likes, people can struggle.
My life is not the type of life that many would enjoy living. It is boring and dull. However, my ordinary life does not make it a life that is free of pain and strife. In fact, I have been battling certain illnesses for around eight years now. Back in around 2013, I was diagnosed with major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety.
But my mental health issues are not what I have overcome. Not yet at least. One problem that I have managed to overcome was bullying. In elementary school and junior high school, I was made fun of, picked on, and taken advantage of. I was known by my classmates then as a quiet but kind and sweet girl. My mother tells me that it was my introverted, shy personality that made me an easy target for bullies.
At first, the bullying did not get to me. I was able to go to school every day, with a smile on my face and my head held high, and carry on with my daily activities as if nothing was wrong. It only began to affect me during the start of seventh grade.
My so-called best friend at the time was very friendly and smart, but at the same time… she possessed qualities that most found unappealing. She was charming yet manipulative. Popular yet not in a good way. One could also say that she was kind, but it was the type of kindness that did not seem genuine. It felt… insincere. As if she was being nice to everyone just to get something that she wanted from them.
She would drag me around the school like a doll. She would grab my wallet and take some money without asking for my permission. She would pull on my hair, which seemed enjoyable for her but was painful for me. There was even a time when she and I were sitting beside each other, talking about random things. At one point, I mentioned the name of her crush back then, to which she responded by slapping my face so hard that my glasses flew from my face and landed on the ground around ten feet from where we were.
We do not talk with each other anymore. In fact, we have not spoken for quite a while now. But every once in a while, I find myself thinking of her, wondering about how she is doing, what she is up to, and what interesting events have recently taken place in her exciting life.
And sometimes, I ask myself, ‘Why didn’t you stand up for yourself, Arianna?’
Fortunately, I no longer experience bullying from those around me. On the contrary, everyone has been treating me with kindness and respect lately. As of today, I am in my first year of college, taking AB Communication. I do not attend classes in a classroom setting anymore for a number of personal reasons which I prefer not to discuss. Instead, I am tackling online studies, but I plan to return to regular school in the near future.
I am grateful for the LORD Almighty God, my family, and my friends who have been there to support me during my times of trouble. If there ever comes a day when I experience bullying again, I will not run away this time. Neither will I remain silent.
But knowing my worth, I will stand up for myself.
If you are being bullied, please do not hesitate to speak up. Being bullied can be a traumatic experience, and, if it persists for a long period of time, can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation and loneliness, all of which can have a negative impact on people’s lives. It is best to seek help as early as possible before it gets worse.
And most importantly, please remember to be kind, not only to others but also yourself. You yourself deserve your own affection and love as much as everyone else.