I was BULLIED in high school and…

I am soo thankful for the way my life turned out. I couldn’t ask for more (except maybe a smaller waistline) but I am worried about my kids. I want to protect them from the pain that I experienced. I want them to be confident and believe in themselves. I want them to be happy.:-)

It took me a long time to find the happiness I have now as an adult. I want them to have it much sooner than I did.

I was bullied in high school and I want to share my story in hopes to help other women or girls experiencing this type of bully.

Read my story carefully. It might not be what you expect.

My bully was a pretty girl with a ton of friends who was nice to everyone EXCEPT ME and very few people knew about it. She did it when they weren’t looking.

She called me FAT, UGLY, STUPID! She told me all my friends were prettier and smarter than me! She made me feel UNWORTHY of LOVE. She told me I would be an old cat lady one day and nobody would ever love me the way that I was.  She made me CRY almost EVERY DAY for a long time! I was in so much pain there was a time I would go home, eat until I couldn’t move and then cry myself to sleep.  I hated going to school. I wanted to hide away in my room. I dropped out of sports and I gained 50 lbs in like a year! It was TORTURE!

I’m 44 now and have grown stronger so her words don’t hurt me as much but I STILL SEE HER from time to time. She’s grown too so she’s not as mean as she used to be BUT she still does little things to try to bring me down.

I never understood how she could be SOOO NICE to EVERYONE ELSE but treat me like dirt. She has a heart of gold, is extremely sensitive, hates conflict, loves animals, works hard, is kind to everyone, sees the best in (most) people, is giving, loving and believes you should treat others as you wish to be treated.

My bully was ME! You see, while I would never purposely hurt another person or animal, I abused myself on a daily basis because I thought I deserved it.

I suffered with depression for most of my teen years and am much better now but from time to time, I feel the pain again. The weight is still with me. When I was depressed, as a teenager and young adult, I used to think that “If I lost all this weight I would be happy!”  In my mind, it was the key to happiness! I tried several times, failing again and again but one time in my early 20s I got down to my eighth grade weight! I was thin for the first time in my adult life but it didn’t last!

I remember the moment when I realized that as thin as I was, I STILL FELT FAT and was unhappy! I thought “Oh shit! It doesn’t matter what I weigh! I’m fat in my head and I can’t get away from it!  Man was that an “ah ha moment”. It’s been a struggle of 70 lbs up and down since then.

Right now I’m close to my heaviest and it sucks BUT I’m lucky to have a man that loves me and doesn’t mind the weight as long as I don’t complain about it. He’s perfect for me!

I KNOW I’m worthy and I have literally EVERYTHING I ever dreamed of having and more! Teenage me would NEVER believe the amazing life I have, so WHY do I still struggle with my weight? Not sure I will ever know!

I will tell you that as the mother of two daughters (and a son) I try VERY hard to not talk about my weight or looks in a negative way. I swore the day I found out that I was having a girl that I would not body shame myself or them for their appearance.

I worry that might not be enough. My mom always told me I was beautiful and perfect just the way that I was. She was kind, loving and supportive of everything I did but it didn’t matter. She NEVER body shamed me. I did that all on my own.

When she told me I was beautiful (or made another compliment), I would say “You’re just saying that because you’re my mother.” I knew it wasn’t true. I knew my fat made me ugly and unworthy despite all the building up she tried to do for me.

I want to go back to that girl and tell her It’s GOING TO BE OK! You ARE worthy! You WILL find love and success and everything you ever wanted! BELIEVE IN YOURSELF” I want to be her BEST FRIEND, NOT her BULLY! I want to lift her up, not tear her down.I want her to know SHE IS BEAUTIFUL just the way she is.

Problem is that at 44, my self worth is still tied up in the number on the scale! I still hesitate to go anywhere that I have to wear a bathing suit. I still get upset when I see pictures of myself when I’m heavy like this. I still don’t understand why I can’t lose the weight and keep it off.

I wish I had a “happy ending” to this story but the fact is that there is NO ending! Fighting the inner bully are a LIFE LONG BATTLE! I’m not depressed (love my life) but I still struggle with my body image.

I think that is why I use my photography to make other women feel beautiful! I’ve been doing it since I was that girl in high school!

I used to take my friends to a local park or even into the city and pretend they were models.

That is when I learned the power I had with my camera.

When I look through my lens I SEE YOU…REALLY SEE YOU and I capture a beauty that emanates from within. It’s truly magical!

It’s my gift. It’s the power to create images (and an experience) that can show someone their own beauty, something we often miss when we look in the mirror or get a snapshot of ourselves on an iphone.

I can’t tell you the joy I get when I turn the camera around and show a client how they look and they hear themselves say the words: “Wow, I look beautiful!”. It’s music to my ears. Knowing that I GAVE THEM THE GIFT of hearing those words come from their OWN MOUTH (not their mom’s or their friend’s) is an experience like no other. It’s why I do what I do!

I use my photography to help others defeat their own inner bully, to show them what others see. To show them they are beautiful, especially if they can’t see it for themselves.

 

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