There is so many things that I love in this world and so many amazing people that I have encountered…. The type of people that I cannot tolerate though are bully’s.
Back in high school I remember never having a “clique”. I didn’t understand the concept of having only one group of friends and that’s it. The fact that different people had different interests and stories always appealed to me. I was even threatened at one point that if I friended people “outside” of their group that they would no longer talk to me…. and guess what?! That was one of my first lessons of learning not to follow the crowd and to think for myself. Why should somebody tell you who you should and shouldn’t be friends with?!?!
High school is a challenging time for a lot of people… Trying to get good grades while dealing with social pressures, the awkwardness that comes with puberty and just trying to fit in, while also figuring out your own self and who you really are. I remember getting teased because I was way more focused in Gymnastics and living life than I was into finding a boyfriend… I would be called a “tight wad”, “a tease” and harassed for not wanting to date. I never understood why people had to be so judgemental in high school…. I admit I was probably lucky and I’m sure there are people that get it so much worse and it kills me to know that. After highschool is when bullying really started to affect me……
At the end of highschool I was blessed to have made the Winnipeg Blue Bomber Cheerleading team. It was an honour getting to dance with an amazing group of girls and to help give back to the community while volunteering at community events. I felt that I was In a good place in my life….. Reaching goals, experiencing so many new things, crossing obstacles and making lots of memories along the way. We would practise 3 times a week for 3 hours each night, go home and practise more, hit the gym to keep in shape, dance at all the games, stay after games to meet with the kids and take pictures on the field and volunteer 100’s of hours doing community service and promotional events. This is all while some of us were putting ourselves through college or working within our careers as well as starting families. I started to get backlash as a cheerleader, which really hurt. People characterizing you as the typical “slutty, stupid cheerleader that must be sleeping with all the football players”. Honestly it was horrible having to fend for yourself in that way. I always felt as though I was being judged…. that they summarized us before they even knew who we were and how smart and talented these girls can be.
The worst happened when I became Miss Manitoba….. Did I ever think I would win? No. Did I feel like someone else should have won?! Absolutely. It was just another opportunity in my life to try something new, open more doors and strive to always be a better person. With my whole pageant gig, photo shoots were something that just became a part of it. So much so that my picture was in the paper a lot one summer and someone got really sick of it. I got a call that I was plastered all over a website with the worst possible things said about me. I knew that certain things weren’t true obviously…. but there were some things that slowly killed me inside. “Your father paid for you to win the pageant”, “someone should just punch her out”, “she’s not even pretty”, “this girl should just die”. I could not believe my eyes that people wished so much harm on me for not doing anything to them. I remember hiding in the bathroom at work crying my eyes out, coming home crying myself sick…. feeling so insecure and so down on myself that I was now embarrassed to have been in a pageant at all. It’s really sickening to know that bullying still goes on even after highschool as adults, in fact it never really ends.
For 6 years (a big chunk of my twenties) I became very ill. I couldn’t go out, work, most of the time I couldn’t leave my bed. The physical symptoms were horrible but the fact that I had old friends that knew me for years when I was healthy and happy telling other people that I was faking being sick for attention… everything in me literally died. I never felt so low and alone in my entire life. I felt at the time that I had to keep quiet and not complain so that I wouldn’t be judged anymore. The suffering in silence was almost easier than having to explain and basically convince people of how crappy I was really feeling. I was told things such as “maybe you should just eat something”, “you need to go out more”, “try eating more junk food”. I just got tired… Tired of trying to explain… tired of trying to convince. You should NEVER have to waste any of your energy trying to convince people on how sick you are but there I was not only fighting to hold onto my sanity that comes with being sick with no answers but also my dignity that was slowly drifting away with the words of others.
Once again I knew that I should have paid no attention to what they were saying.. as I was the one going through hell and back, not them. But I just didn’t understand how and why they would even think that. I was always out and about and friends always came first to me. Five years being locked in my house….. thinking I was doing it for attention?!?! It still hurts me to think about it but I can’t change people. They are going to think what they want to and I can’t stop that. The only thing that I feel us victims of bullying can do is to know that you aren’t in this alone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you can be the target. They create a perception of you that isn’t in fact you at all….. it is a reflection of the type of human being that they are. In fact I’ve learnt to feel sorry for those that have to waste their own precious time trying to destroy others.
We are all human beings that are faced with certain differences and challenges. Our differences are what makes us beautiful and unique. We all have a different story to tell, a different purpose in this life to contribute in some way to society. Help change the brokenness in this world. Compliment a stranger, lend a helping hand, stick up for one another. We are on the same level of playing field. Not one of us is better or higher than the other, some of us are just dealt with different challenges. And please check in on your loved ones……. If I didn’t have the love and support from my family and other special people in my life I may have not climbed back up as easy.
Thank you to those who have shown nothing but support and motivation through all of my endeavours. Y’all seriously hold a special place in my heart and I am forever grateful to you. Let’s help make a change in this broken world and help to end bullying.