“Hey faggot,” was my salutation daily beginning in the second grade and continuing to the fifth. At that time that was hurtful for me considering the people who called me such names were those who I considered friends. But today I can tell the difference between somebody you call a friend and an actual friend. I would also soon find out that being who you are is one of the most important things to do.
I suppose that second grade was the year that people started to realize I was different than most. I was looked at differently by some people while others avoided me, and many simply made fun of me for the things that made me dissimilar. Popular names included faggot, homo, weirdo, retard and mostly: fat. I was shocked and confused to be called these names by my friends. Most of the time I was so alone, feeling confused and outcast, which sometimes caused me to act out. This continued on through second and third grade when I decided that it was time to give up, so I blocked everybody from my life completely.
In fourth grade, I’d become more mature and aware of myself. By that time I’d been taught by a lot of my “friends” that the person I was becoming was not one they approved of. They said that my sexuality was wrong, my weight was wrong, my looks were wrong, the music I listened to, the shows I watched were all wrong. That’s when the insecurities started. I told myself daily that I needed to change who I was because who I was was wrong. My pride was torn away from me. I was always trying so hard to find some way to get attention by either doing or saying something stupid. But by the end of the day I was in tears, telling myself that my “friends” were right about everything. I then made the decision to build a wall of disrespect and sarcasm that I’d use when threatened or intimidated. Nobody knew that on the inside I was really just lost and depressed.
By fifth grade the bullying started to slow down and I started hanging out with a new group of friends. I was much happier and stronger, and those bullies seeing me that way started to back down. For once I felt free.
That’s why my philosophy today is to accept and express yourself for who you are because there are people just like you who find you perfect in every way. This philosophy has kept my head held high and has bumped up my self esteem, knowing that it gets better. I hope to gain enough self confidence from this belief that through my self confidence other people will see that who I am is worth something, and I hope that those people who were mean to me realize how much their comments hurt me. And this is what I have grown to believe in.