Today is numero uno of my 'Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You'. Inspired by this amazing cat, Mattie Cragin and her current 30 day challenge, as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, here I go. In honor of October being National Bully Prevention Month, I am committed to shedding light on this subject and highlighting that Bullying is absolute bullshit. I have just joined the BULLY PROJECT and Mary Beth LaRue and I have a joint goal to bring the Rock Your Bliss movement to youth in the World.
I did not get off easy with the bullying when I was younger. And to share one thing that scared me and still scares me, today I will share some of bullying stories I dealt with as a kid. No matter how big or small it may feel to some, these are my woes, not yours. I request no judgments when you choose to read what bullying was to me, be it that yours was far worse or way less than mine. Bullying is bulllying. Period.
Here it goes:
1) I have really hairy arms. I do not know where they came from, I remember checking my Mom and Dad's arm and they are basically hairless. I, however, am a full on fur ball. Friends at school used to make fun of me for having hairy arms. I used to dread the Fall and Winter seasons, as my arm hair would turn darker and my skin go lighter; making it even more prominent. To this day, I still shave my arms.
2) Might as well keep on the subject of hair, all the boys in school would point out that I had a mustache. I would use the Sally Hansen Creme to bleach my upper lip hair every other week. It not only bleached my hair, but also my lip skin and often times causing irritation and acne. I had discoloration and breakout on my face where I wanted it least. I now pay a beautiful Indian woman to thread the upper lip hair every 2-3 weeks. I still cringe when I go in for my eyebrows and she asks "upper lip, too? It is needed". Thanks lady.
3) Call me a late bloomer, I did not fill in a sports bra until the age of 17. Padded bras were the name of my game. And they were not discreet, people found out and made fun of me at school, at slumber parties and at gym. Years later, I am thankful for the smaller chest and ability to not wear a bra at all with t-shirts. How the times change, if I only knew.
4) Cold sores. Every Fall and Winter season, I would get a cold sore on my lip that accompanied a bronchial cough known as the Croop. I would feel terrible, absolutely hacking cough and and to add salt to the wound, I would have a fever blister on my lip at least 6 times a year. Some instances, two at one time on my upper and bottome lip. One day at lunch, a boy noticed and yelled out to the entire crew at lunch "Jacki has herpes, Jacki has herpes". Crude comments followed and there is no hiding this monstrosity on your lip - no make up, lipstick or cosmetic base. The worst. I still get them and I own that it is hereditary and will heal in 2 weeks, not something that once was sexually transmitted as I was so often teased.
5) One time at a friend's house, I sneezed and farted at the same time. You can imagine, I basically sneezed in fear for the rest of my high school years. Knowing now that farting is a right of passage in relationship, I scoff at those bullies.
6) I was definitely a prude. Growing up, this was a sore subject as a late bloomer with a mustache and hairy arms. Self confidence was not always available and the idea of 'putting out' as we called it was actually beyond my knowledge. Prude and naive. I never got the sexual jokes and definitely got made fun of when I tried to fake laugh to fit in and then people would ask me if I actually knew what they were talking about. Never.
7) Teacher's Pet, teacher's pet. My Mother was a teacher at my school from Pre-School to 8th Grade. I was in all the Honor's classes and definitely cried whenever I got a bad grade. It is true. However, on the flip side, when I received any type of praise, achievement, varsity team or award, people often reminded me that the only reason I got anything was because my Mom worked at the school. Never, ever on my accord. I cried when I got bad grades and good grades.
When I write this, I feel like I am throwing myself a pity party. But at the time, be it age 8-18, this was more than real for me. This was all that mattered was approval of others. Yes, I made it through school just fine and I chose to write this blog because I wanted to share that bullying is real. I realize now that I put up a guard, a thick guard that read in grafiti letters, 'I don't care what you say or think. I don't care, you cannot hurt me'. I wore that guard for years to come and it got in the way of close relationships, true friendships and actually truly becoming me. I had this vote of confidence that people saw as cocky when really I just was protecting myself from the pain and trying, all along, not to care.
Hairy arms, mustache, still a bit naive and prude, fever blisters, B cups, passing gas and teacher's pet. In all honesty, this is still who I am. I have a radical family, amazing friends and a super hot boyfriend that love me and all these traits.
Coming of age is a hell of a journey. And the journey does not stop at age 17 when you get boobs. It is ongoing. Let's commit to making it easier. Even in my upcoming 30's, I absolutely know bullying still exists. People, let's get real and be kind. We are in this together. Let's start acting like it.
The people that cannot see ALL of you are not even worth your time. This I know. And let me be the first to say, I see you, I see all of you. And I know you rock. Share you bully stories below and let go, accept and be you.
Interested in the Bully Project, find out more here: http://www.thebullyproject.com/
Bullying Sign courtesy of: http://www.bullyawareness.org/