I was ten years old and I remember having to wear these tiny shorts, like the ones track athletes wear, and a t-shirt with my school logo. I went to a private school and my only friend was a girl from China who did not speak Spanish and I did not speak Chinese, so we did not understand each other. We would just walk around the school at lunch, watching the other kids, and smiling at each other. By the way, I am from the Dominican Republic, and that is where I grew up.
The culture at the time was that you needed to be a little chubby to be pretty, so I always wished I looked like most of the other girls.
Anyway, this boy named Jose Antonio (he used to go by Josian) made my life a living hell in sixth grade. He would tell me how ugly I was, with my long skinny legs, how he wished I was not in his class and what a moron I was, which I was not. I was actually a smart girl.
Every Friday was the one day I hated my life... from 8am to 3pm. The trauma that boy caused me contributed to my making bad decisions later on in life, just because I was so insecure about the way I looked.
There were days throughout my life when I hoped I would bump into Josian one day and ask him what he thought of me now. Pointless, I know. And he was not the only one diminishing me for being thin. Even as I grew older, I was bullied for years and years, even by my own now ex-husband.
I am now happy with the way I look , with who I am and I would not change anything. It saddens me that we go through so much bullying in our lives. Nonsense. All of it. We, as kids, even as adults, do not realize the damage we do to others by supposedly having fun and the desire to make our friends laugh through cruelty to others.
I was not a perfect child, but I never made fun of other kids because my parents taught me better. It is up to us to educate our kids, to teach them to appreciate and accept everyone as equal. Every day I go to work, the grocery store, the gas station, I look for good qualities in people and I see them. Everyone has something unique and beautiful about themselves. So, next time you look at yourself in the mirror, appreciate the beauty of who you are, inside and out. It starts with you... Others will see you the same way you see yourself.
My body looks exactly the same it did when I was fifteen years old and I am not ashamed. Not anymore.
|In Evergreen, CO. 2006|
|Last year in Bailey, CO.|
|A few weeks ago|