I remember when I was in grammar school, I was constantly teased and bullied about my weight and complexion. It also didn’t help wearing glasses, only adding fuel to the fire. These issues caused me to grow up with a complex about myself, which I held on to for a very long time. My family always told me I was beautiful, but when you step out into society and you're hit with negative opinions from others; it can be overwhelming. The usual bully terms like, “ugly, fat, 4 eyes,” were thrown about, but some were nastier such as “crisco, blackie” and other vicious names. It’s no wonder I hated grammar school. I remember in high school I had this physical education teacher who referred to me as the fat girl. Boy did that hurt. In retrospect, the teacher was trying to be everyone’s favorite by siding with the majority. Usually a student finds comfort and support in a teacher, but this teacher was just as bad as some of the other students. After that experience, I lost trust in people because I thought teachers built you up, not tear you down like the others. Eventually the taunting caused me to crawl into a shell and not come out. I trusted no one, and the wall I built in grammar school became taller and concrete, painted with a fake smile.
Unfortunately, many children go through bullying in school. At times the pain can be so unbearable and overwhelming, that the victim can fall into depression, leading them to do some type of harm to themselves. In today’s society, bullying has advanced to social media where people can spread rumors, upload destructive videos of a person, attack an individual's appearance and/or sexuality, or leave disrespectful negative comments on someone’s profile, all while hiding behind a computer. However, there are support groups on social media for anti-bullying support along with body positivity and cheer-me-up focuses. They respectively show why you’re blessed with your body and encourage you with motivating stories of others (I myself follow these groups). The internet can be used to connect with other individuals going through similar situations and exchange ways to overcome difficult times.
After graduating from high school I began attending college in New York City, where things started to turn around for me. Outside of my familiar surroundings, I was meeting people of many different nationalities and cultures. It was captivating, interesting and fun. All I can say is, I loved every minute of it. Going to school and working in the city gave me the strength to open up because New York is filled with so many personalities, aspiring artist, musicians, and individuals who are not afraid to be different from the norm. This is what I love the most about being part of the Big Apple. While attending school, I started to learn about my major, Journalism, through the school paper, which I joined. I held interviews with professors and this forced me to open up and become social once again. I finally felt like the wall I built was no longer relevant and could be torn down.
Once I got back into socializing and realizing opening up wasn’t so bad, I started applying for jobs and landed clerical jobs through various temp agencies. While gaining more and more experience in the work force I started to land better opportunities, which included landing a temp job as an Office Assistant for Spike Lee”s advertising company located in Manhattan at the time. Talk about a cool experience, I never, ever imagined working for a celebrity but all things are possible. When I started my assignment at Spike’s advertising company, every morning I hopped on the bus to New York, I would say to myself “Am I really working for Spike Lee?” Although it was just a temp job, I still felt like I accomplished something because here is the same girl who was ridiculed for how she looks, now temporarily working for someone famous on television. I met some very interesting folks while working there. Alas, all good things must come to an end, so once the assignment ended it was time to move on to the next great opportunity.
I eventually ended up in investment banking, which had me working on Wall Street and consulting for some major financial firms in NYC. Funny thing about those situations, many people told me I wouldn’t get far because I didn’t have a college degree. Earning nearly 6 figures and consulting some highly reputable firms, showed them otherwise. Working in banking forces you to interact with people. It’s a fast paced environment where no one plays by the rules. Many different personalities, challenges, obstacles, and opinions lead to chaos, which requires you to be a quick thinker and ready for anything.
At times, I would look back at my life and playback events I experienced during my childhood. All this did was instill fear along with self doubt, but I kept reminding myself how far I’ve come along; the good things I experienced, the lessons I learned, and the great things I accomplished just from opening up. I was able to go after the things I wanted in my life. You can say bullying made me rebellious and bold because no one can tell me what I can and can’t do. I live for me and only me, I make my own decisions, and I don’t believe in seeking approval from others because with or without their approval I will do what I want and do it well!