1997 – This was a very pivotal moment for me. My family ended up moving to a small town just outside St. Louis, MO from Troy, MO. I had spent numerous of the past years reading, watching, following… anything fashion oriented. Working on forgetting my trauma-filled past. I was transferring to a new middle school, which is awkward to begin with, but being fat, poor and going in to a new middle school……the door flew wide open for bullies. I felt like I was against an army, with no shortage on the amount of kid’s that regularly kicked my ass for one or more reasons. One of the main reasons being the clothes I wore, and my inability to pay for what was “acceptable” to my classmates.
The bullying started out minor and then grew in severity over a short period of time. Name calling quickly turned in to: being spit on, kicked, punched, pushed down stairs, and having razor blades tossed in my locker. Nearly all of the kids went unpunished or left with a slap on the wrist. Thoughts of hopelessness began to run rapid when I saw no one cared to listen to what was going on, and I began to give up on my life all together.
Home life was a second serving of the abusive ring I was stuck in. My brother was very close in age to me. He saw what I would go through while we were at school. He used that as an open invitation to give me the same treatment as my classmates….I literally had nowhere to go to get away from VIOLENCE. My environment was literally KILLING me from the inside, and no one could see it, or see how dangerously close I was standing to the edge where there is no return. I began to better understand my father’s suicide, I began to reason with his choice.
I began continuously contemplating ending my life…..the pain was already overwhelming for me. It was the one way I could get the abuse to stop. Thinking they can’t hurt me if I am not there.
My journal entries became more and more obvious of the road I was heading towards. If I had continued that path, I would NOT be here sharing this with you today. I was fortunate to be given a light at the end of my tunnel….the media!
I missed a LOT of school because I absolutely couldn’t take anymore physical, mental, and emotional abuse from anyone. I stayed home the entire week, and on that Tuesday, I was laying in bed and watching daytime TV. I saw an ad looking for stories of bullied kids that happened to have extraordinary talents. LIGHTBLUB! I popped up and frantically wrote down the phone number. I ran in to the living room and started telling my mom my idea. She was very hesitant and didn’t believe a word I was telling her, and she asked me, “What’s your extraordinary talent?”. I told her I could do martial arts. I was a black belt (R) in ATA Taekwondo, and had dozens of trophies and awards from competitions. My mom agreed.
My story was chosen out of over 48,000 callers. The sad part was that there were over 48,000 kids out there whom were just like me, bully victims. To me, this was my last chance to plea for the abuse to stop, and to bring awareness to a silent war I was apart of. My school responded by holding a meeting once they got wind that I was going public on the national level. They were beyond scared of what I would say in front of the cameras; so they kept their liabilities low by threatening me with a lawsuit. Bad press equaled to less money for the school district so they felt the need to silence anyone that wanted to speak out about what they were doing. They saw me as a big, FAT, threat, and they were right. I had been documenting everything that was happening to me in my journals. I had very VIVID accounts of the more severe attacks where my school officials had just pushed it in to the background, or ignored the situation all together. Incidents where my principal stood in the middle of the hallway…SCREAMING AT ME from the top of his lungs, while classes were in session, saying how despicable I am, and how he was sick of me all together. I just stood there with the best poker face knowing he was the one that was despicable. I had snapped inside at that moment.
This was when I officially obtained my M.B.A…. Motivation By Anger.
Nothing, not even their legal threats, kept me from telling as many people as I could about what was happening, to not only me, but to THOUSANDS of kids like me.
When I came back, I was my school’s #1 enemy. The feeling was very mutual, and the experience of speaking out left me empowered! It was the first time ever I stood up for myself, and thought that maybe my life was worth saving. I was no longer the victim, they were.