(Trigger Warning: self-harm and bullying)
I see the sneers and the sideways glances. Their utter disgust with my body, and tattoos. I can hear them calling me Fat Amy when they think I can’t hear. They are uncomfortable with how comfortable I am in my own skin.
One of my friends told me awhile back that she was envious of my confidence and how sure I am about myself. Yet, I wasn’t always like this.
There was a time where I thought about ending it all.
There are many different types of bullying.
Growing up as an Army Brat, my dad always taught me to fight for not only myself but for others as well. I was bullied a lot growing up. I was bullied for being blonde. If I was given a dime for every dumb blonde joke, I’d probably have close to $5,000.00.
One kid told me once that it looked like someone had peed in my hair. When I replied, “Well at least I don’t look like I ate poop,” that same kid told the vice principal, a family friend of his father’s, that I threatened his life. He got me sent to mandated therapy sessions.
I identified myself as an outcast. On the outside, I smiled and acted like nothing was wrong. On the inside, I felt that I was on a sinking boat climbing the mast to keep from drowning. I began to look for creative ways to express my inner turmoil.
I started to listen to heavy metal music in the eighth grade. I began to wear darker clothes and heavy dark makeup. Then we moved from Washington, D.C. to Columbia, SC. In D.C. being goth wasn’t a bad thing. No one really paid much attention to it.
If you’re different than everyone else, you’ll get bullied more.
In South Carolina though, the bullying escalated. I started high school in 2006 and at that time, MySpace was the equivalent of Facebook. There was this one particular girl, I won’t say her name, but her mom was like the school admissions officer or something. (If anyone from my high school is reading this, you probably have a vague idea of whom I’m referring to.)
She came up to me the second day of class, introduced herself, said she needed a picture for the yearbook or welcome thingy. I don’t remember what she said but she took my picture. The next day I found her MySpace profile with my picture on it and a bunch of mean comments from my new classmates underneath it. I had never experienced bullying to that extent.
I made myself numb to their words. I cut myself to feel.
The bullying got so bad that I began to do something terrible to myself. I would take a razor, normally used for shaving, and cut myself on the outsides of my wrists. I did it for years and got away with it. I wasn’t doing it for attention. I was doing it because it helped me to feel a little bit better.
I would cut every time someone made a really mean comment to me or when the bullying was the worst. Cutting myself was like releasing the pain from my body caused by the bullying. No one noticed. My mom was focused on my younger brother and my dad was constantly away overseas.
It wasn’t until the beginning of my junior year of high school that my dad noticed. I had accidentally cut myself a little bit too deep and had to stick a bandaid on to stop the bleeding. When I had rolled my sleeves up to help move a piece of furniture, he noticed right away and demanded to know if I was harming myself.
I admitted that I was and the look of disappointment on my dad’s face was enough to make me quit. I joined the high school paper, which helped me to find my calling in life, and I was finally feeling better about myself. I started to incorporate more color into my life and think about my future away from the high school bullies.
High school is overrated. Life does get better after high school.
My life got better after high school. I ended up going to my dream university and majoring in journalism while minoring in theater. I was doing what made me happy.
So yeah, I’m not the skinniest person, and yeah I have tattoos. My tattoos are a reminder that even though it may seem like the end of the world, to not give up and to keep going. That I’m going to be okay. That harming myself isn’t the answer to life’s problems.
If you are cutting yourself or harming yourself in another way, just remember you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to about it feel free to contact me with the contact form or you check out To Write Love On Her Arms which has a Crisis Hotline and is available 24/7.