It started as young as when I was 13/14 years old. In our culture, it is a symbol of starting to become the person you will become. For me that time was birthed into a struggle. I had a happy home life and childhood memories, there was one aspect that started out small that slowly started to become bigger until I could no longer ignore it’s presence in my life. I was bullied.
It started in grade school and just continued into Jr. High school until the bullying and isolation was becoming too much to bear and I did not know where to turn or whom I could trust. I felt like I was falling into nothingness and had no idea what was waiting for me at the bottom. The people and places I usually turned to for help and safety I could no longer find. I found myself hitting the bottom all alone and I felt that I was left to pick up the pieces. I endured a world of pain, suffering in isolation and terrified of what people would do or say if they found out only compounded it. I was in constant fear and ashamed of who I was and what I was experiencing and struggling with. I experienced many times where I tried to reach out but ended up getting “burned” from people for a variety of reasons. And, each time it jaded me just a little bit more. I started to wonder if this is how it would always be and if I would always be alone.
Slowly, little bit I started to feel more alive. I felt like I was starting to get the hang of this thing called life. I started to feel hope and joy being myself. Until one night I was put into a situation where force was used against me. I starkly remember feeling like my world was being turned upside down and was thrown into chaos, pain, with a whole new set of labels and struggles. I just remember how dirty I felt and I could not even look at myself in the mirror because the sight of myself disgusted me. I remember at one point vowing that I would never trust another human being again because I felt so hurt, distrusting of human beings and the destruction that had been brought into my life. But thankfully I did begin to have experiences of something else and bit-by-bit I began to feel like I was getting my humanity back and myself as a person. I began to find people in my life and continued who have stuck by my side and helped me heal and grow. They helped me find the beauty in life, had faith in me and just loved me. Today I have grown so much and really evolved into the person I want to become.
Today it is not as those things have completely disappeared from my life. I still experience the pain, isolation, chaos and suffering that the world has to offer. I want to disclaim by saying that not everything that has happened to me is “fair” and I don’t even believe that this “was destined to happen”. Some things that happen are just simply sucky and don’t have a purpose. I have found that validating that grief and that it just is a horrible, awful situation and having people just sit with me! Not have them fix it or “make it better” but just being present and holding me has been one of the most validating and loving experiences I have encountered. Some of those people have become my closest friends and biggest supporters. I now have found how to use these experiences to enter into connection with people with empathy and create meaningful connections. When those struggles arise now I do not fight it but I walk beside it. I take myself, wrap myself in love, acceptance and I actively surrender to it all. I find ways to work with it and rather than despise, despair and hate, I use my learning over the years to gently (with the help of others) to work through those challenges - to learn how they are great learning opportunities. It may not all been destined to happen but it has made me into the person who I have become and I think that this creation is pretty fantastic.