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Column: Moving onward

‘We can either ignore it or conquer it.'

%22However%2C+the+past+only+defines+what+I+have+been+through.+It+doesn%E2%80%99t+define+my+future.%22
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Column: Moving onward

"However, the past only defines what I have been through. It doesn’t define my future."

Photo by Marissa Redding

"However, the past only defines what I have been through. It doesn’t define my future."

Photo by Marissa Redding

Photo by Marissa Redding

"However, the past only defines what I have been through. It doesn’t define my future."

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It’s a dreadful nightmare of mine to stand in front of a big crowd of people. It’s fifth-grade graduation and I’m twisting my gown along the sides of my hips. I avoid trying to make eye contact with the speaker on the stage or with the crowd behind me piercing my soul as their eyes burn a hole into me. I can’t stop shaking, feeling more nervous than I have ever felt before. I feel like there’s another human trying to come out of me through my throat; I can’t breathe.

The feeling of wanting to run out the building and needing to be alone was all I could feel that day at graduation. I didn’t need anyone to see me; I felt as though people would’ve booed me off the stage. I didn’t want to risk anyone noticing me.

 Why do I have to be here? Why could we not receive our diplomas in the mail, and let’s all just stay home?!

Thinking to myself wasn’t uncommon at all; I hated to speak aloud to people. I didn’t want to be there, being around people who only gave me bad energy. I always felt alone and trapped in this melancholy state that only made me want to be alone even more. I didn’t know what to do most of the time, and I never could tell anyone what I was feeling.

Before graduation, I was going through my share of avoiding school in every way possible: pretending to be sick, skipping school and going to the nurse frequently. Being bullied in elementary school gave my self-esteem a major dip and having to separate myself from people caused me to develop social anxiety. This toyed with my ability to make friends.

I told my mom as she was always supportive of everything, but she didn’t take me seriously on anything I said this time around. This bothered me and made me more emotional because I felt like she didn’t care. What really aggravated me were my younger siblings, who laughed at everything I said about the names and jokes my bullies made toward me. I didn’t want to attend Miami Shores Elementary School anymore. My mom eventually figured out I was serious about not wanting to go to the school anymore, but it was already too late.

Most days, after school, I was always sad and alone. I looked for direction in my younger siblings, but they were caught up in their own lives and friends – something I wanted for myself. I then fell into more somber music, including The Neighbourhood, Pop Etc. and Florence and the Machine.



By the time I reached middle school, it seemed as if I had
“bully me” written across my forehead. I moved to several different middle schools. I moved states and in every single school I experienced someone having some kind of problem with me. I started to become more depressed and alone. I moved to Georgia from Florida and at Twin Rivers Middle School I stayed in the shadows and didn’t speak to anyone.

Finally moving to Texas, I attended Huffines Middle School and made friends with the people I knew were the kind of people who would bully me. Being a part of the more sociable crowd was terrifying to me; I didn’t listen to the kind of music they did and I didn’t follow the drama they followed. I was more into watching movies, completing homework and doing chores. They were into going to any and every party they came across. I didn’t belong in their group; I was nothing like them. I tried to merge into other groups and received backlash for doing so.

In high school, I made more of an effort to be my own person. All I could feel was eyes staring me down the same way it felt at my fifth grade graduation when I almost gave birth to another human trying to crawl out from my throat. I never let others get to me. I was an extrovert and people liked me for being funny as I was outgoing and nice.



The entire journey from elementary school has taught me bullying is everywhere, but it can definitely go away. We can either ignore it or move forward from it. But ignoring the mean words, gestures and harassment can either make us or break us. In my case, it made the situation worse. Dwelling on the past has always made the future difficult to look at. However, the past only defines what I have been through. It doesn’t define my future.

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