Here's a story that's a little different from the others that have been told. Meet Caitlin.
"Unlike many of the other stories on here, I did not get bullied by other people. I did, however, struggle with a bullying maybe equally as harmful: self-bully. Once the shallow teasing about my height stopped in the seventh grade (mind you I’m 5’1”, not that short…), I began to look at girls around me. I had noticed the difference in shapes and sizes, hair color and facial features before but never thought they mattered to people so much. I saw them for the beautiful human God created them to be, and rightly so. But slowly my attention began to shift to myself. This process didn’t happen overnight but gradually, over years of observing and comparing.
My high school years were the in betweenyears- the years of finding myself, developing my personality, active in my school work and sports, and not a lot of time spent on my “outward beauty”. Only in college, when it apparently mattered “most”, did I start to notice my body for what it truly was. I had gained a few inches around my middle… people said they couldn’t tell but I knew it was there. My face had gotten rounder… probably a normal thing. My feet were (are) small. My skin, too pale. My nose, ugly. My eyes, lopsided. My smile, crooked. My ears, not the same size or shape. My hair, not the right color nor the right thickness. My nails, not shaped correctly. The list went on and on. It seemed every week I’d discover something new and absurd about my body. And the more I began to notice my features, the more I hated them and obsessed over attempting to perfect them. I truly believed that no one wanted me for who I was.
The vicious cycle of critiquing my body and demanding a more unrealistic beauty continued for two years. Only when I started voicing my disgust for myself and getting responses of “you’re actually not fat” and compliments on my features, did I begin to recognize what state I was in. If a friend or stranger had been going through the same thing, I would have stated the truth- they ARE beautiful and they ARE loved despite how they see themselves. Here I was infatuated with how the mirror saw me and more selfishly, not caring about others. With this new realization, I began to take my focus off of the mirror and put it others (positively). Her hair I adore may be the one thing she hates about herself. His cute crooked smile may be something he’s self-conscious of. People need to be built up so they don’t tear themselves down like I did."
If you want to tell your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The more stories that are told, the better.