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You’re Not Alone

Posted: 4/1/2014

Ever since I was young, I have traveled the world with my family. Because of this, I have been exposed to cultures of all kinds and have gained a great respect for diversity. I suppose I took for granted the people around me that accepted me for who I was.

Shortly after returning to America, I received a scholarship to a rather prestigious school. It was also infamous for its outrageous pricing, which successfully weeded out many of the "lower class" students. For the first school year that I attended, I was in paradise. As an aspiring author, I found my niche spending hours in the vast school library, exploring every page of each book I could get my hands on. The next year, however, trouble began to brew.

When the parents heard that I had gotten into the school by way of scholarship due to merit, many were infuriated. This derogatory attitude toward me didn't not stop with the parents. It spread like a disease into the minds of my peers. Suddenly, I was an outcast. A wretched creature like a weed among roses. Yet, being only on 6th grade, I didn't know what I was doing wrong. Passing by in the halls, people would call out "Rat." In the locker rooms, angry tongues would lash out at me. "Hood."

"Dirt"

"Low-brow"

"Trash"

Somehow, I made it through the first semester, managing to keep my chin up. Little did I know that disaster was coming. Like a hurricane, it would sweep up my entire world and dash it against the ground in a whirlwind of tears, rubble, and eventually blood. When spring rolled around that year, I signed up for the school play. A few weeks before the production, some of the girls in my class came to me. "If you cut your hair, you can be one of us. You have to change to be one of us." Excitedly, I pledged to do whatever they wished for acceptance. I would do whatever they asked because I craved the attention that only my peers could give. I needed approval.

"Cut your hair"

So I did. Chop, chop, chop... It all fell away.

I gave my identity to them that day. Of that, I am truly ashamed.

To make matters worse, they lied to me.

Instead of taking me under their wing like the flightless bird I had become, they shoved me from the nest.

(Really) long story (not very) short, I lost my scholarship due to my parents' divorce. So, the next school year, I was moved across the street to another school. At first I was excited, as the school had a reputation for having a vast majority of minorities. This meant that I could finally fit in. At last, I could slip into a crowd of diversity.

Only, it didn't. Those kids couldn't get past the fact that I came from the "Rich white school.” As if to put me in my place, the eighth graders decided to make an example of me. The hit me, shoved me, choked me. The injuries they inflicted, the cruel punishments they attempted could take up a novel, so I will spare all the details.

Between the chaos continue to rage on at the home-front, and my hellish life at school, things were not looking bright. An eighth grader was eventually expelled for pinning me down on the hallway linoleum, spitting in my face, and beating me senseless. After the boy's removal, things got worse. I learned the definition of sexual harassment. I was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety symptoms. Though I still struggle with them today, I remind myself that I can take this opportunity to be a beacon of hope to others.

I tell this story not because I want pity, but because I want people to know that they are not alone in their pain. Bullying takes so many different forms, but it is all destructive and painful. People are afraid to seek help, as I was. Many even give up on life itself. I want the world to know that no one is stronger than a survivor.

There are many of us out there -- Simply waiting for the right time and place in which to spread our story.

By: Anonymous

 
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