Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Then & Now - from bullied to beautiful

Most of us have struggled with being bullied. This is my story and the story of how I moved past that struggle. If I had the courage, this is what I would have said to them.

This is my most personal post to date. It's hard for me to write, yet I come to it with some sense of ease. Everyone has a story about a bully, most of us have been teased at one time or another.

This is my story...

I was overweight since age 10. At first I was blending in well, then middle school hit, and maybe it was the hormones..., we all started changing. That's when it started for me. At first it was more or less innocent, a little teasing about my weight or my teeth but nothing too harsh. (I had bad teeth too!) Not sure when exactly, maybe 7th grade, I realized I was heavier than the other kids and I became a target. A big fat target.

Comments followed as I walked down the hall. Kids yelled "Boom, boom, boom" because I was heavy. Others called me sofa instead of Sophia, referring to my size. One kid threw gum into my hair in English class. I actually yelled at that kid but besides that one time, I usually suffered in silence. I let them get the better of me.

These comments they made- they became my story. They became the person I told myself I was. Not good enough, not pretty, not cool, someone without value.

It reached the most horrific point when I received a letter in the mail. It had a picture of a sexy naked lady from a nudie magazine folded inside. Written over it in black sharpie was something to this effect:

"You wish you looked like this. You're fat, you're ugly and no one will ever love you!"

Just writing these words make me wince in pain and embarrassment. What I've just told you, I've never even told my own parents. I threw that letter out and sobbed alone. I think I was 13.

Now here's the thing, if I was a jerk and made enemies I can understand receiving such a thing in the mail, but I was peaceful. I just wanted to be friends and never made an enemy at school. Someone went out of their way to hurt me. Someone put effort into choosing a picture, writing on it, and mailed it to me. Still don't know who it was.

All through high school I didn't fit it. Guys asked me out as a joke. Popular girls laughed at me. Once I was invited to a sleepover so that the cool girls could do mean things to me when I fell asleep, but a funny thing happened. They realized they liked me when they got to know me.

Now, I've done some shit I'm not proud of. I wanna admit it right here. Prime example; this guy I had a crush on asked me, dared me to pull another girls hair, I'll call her V. I did it and I was disgusted. How could I? I became the kind of person that made me suffer for so long.

(In fact, I took a break from writing to tell her that I was sorry. I think I may have already apologized, but I wanted to be sure. I'm friends with her now on social media.)

For years after I got that letter, the names people called me was what I believed of myself. I was fat, ugly and no one would love me. It haunted me still and I didn't realize it until, as an adult, I was able to see that it was all all just a story I was told. Inside, I believed that I was amazing. With the help of a close group of friends in college, I started to realize that I was cool, people liked me and I was fun to be around.

I never had a boyfriend and I was still a virgin all through college, and even some time afterwards.

I'd like to say it all changed in college, but I didn't. I had a Scarlet O'Hara obsessed roommate Freshman year, she used me to get close to a guy she liked, she pretended to be a guy to ask me out and generally made my first year sorta hellish. But I did meet an awesome group of girls I am still friends with to this day. The liked me the way I was, they encouraged me and made me feel I was the amazing person I thought I could be. (Love you Marie, Jamie and Megan!! XOXO!)

This was where I started to love myself....

After college I met the best dude in the whole fucking world, just when I thought I would never find love. He fell out of the sky and saw the awesome inside me: saw the person I hoped I was, the person I wanted to be and he loved her despite her size. He loved everything about me and no change was needed. It was his love and unconditional support that got me where I am today.

I made the choice to lose weight after we were married. My choice was based on my realization I was becoming physically unhealthy. I tried and failed a couple times at losing weight and then I actually did it. I lost 73 pounds and kept it off. My weight was the one thing I wanted to change. I didn't want to be skinny, just to fit in a straight size, but I never thought I could do it. I heard those voices in my head. You're fat, you're ugly, no one loves you was whispered to me all along. When I realized how horribly I spoke about myself, to myself, I replaced the voices. I replaced them with you're worth it, you want this and you have every right to it!

I was conscious of my thoughts and my inner voice for two weeks and turned it around. That was when I really started dropping the pounds.

By conquering this beast I knew I could do anything! So I started this blog and I feel like I shoulda shared this with you sooner.

So if I ever found out who sent me that horrible note in the mail I would tell them,
"I'm fucking fabulous & loved by many especially myself!"

My calling is to make a contribution, to inspire and to help others be happy.

Through food, through fitness, some encouragement and with a nice pint of beer!

But mostly I want you to know... you are amazing, you are beautiful and you can make a contribution to the world!

By turning your mean girl voice into a supportive friend, you can accomplish ANYTHING!

I would like to hear YOUR stories here in the comments or email them to me if you feel uncomfortable.

What mean things have people said to you in your past & what would you say to them now?

How have you overcome bullying?