The Breath of Life This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 6, 2012
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School can either be a wonderful learning experience or a living hell. Ever since I was young, I have been bullied. A push off the staircase, a door slamming on my right thumb, a kick in the shins – I always seemed prone to the acts of my unkind peers. To my close friends and family, I was known as a quiet, shy, and intelligent girl who often had a bright smile on her face, who loved cracking jokes with self-deprecating humor. In grade school, I was fortunate enough to have three best friends. We created our own fantasy world – complete with our imaginary best friends who always sat next to us at lunch – played freeze tag, and all had a crush on the same boy. In fifth grade, during recess, a girl lunged towards me and tried scratching my eyes out. Even though ten witnesses claimed that they had seen her quite literally tackle me to the ground, she completely denied it. To top it off, her mother came to the school next day and called me a liar. In middle school, the cliques of girls isolated me for getting straight A’s, and from that day on, I was known as “the uber-nerd.”

But then came high school. Bullies often have subtle, artful ways of making you feel miserable; they seemed to find all my weak points and aggressively attack them. Cliques spread nasty rumors like wildfire and my so-called “friends” abandoned me. I was taunted for being a late bloomer, for acting like a baby. In turn, I would become very upset and agitated. A few months later, I developed anxiety. Worries about whether other people were spreading rumors about me, whether people hated me, or whether I did something wrong or terribly offensive, tormented my mind. I spent many sleepless nights rolling back and forth in my bed, or standing in the kitchen and eating midnight snacks to help ease my body into a restful sleep.

Instead of bottling up my feelings as usual, I opened up and spoke out more. I finally came to realize that even though I might have been different from my peers, I was completely normal and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I soon discovered one of the most beneficial treatments of my anxiety: the ancient practice of yoga. After stretching my body in different poses and exercises – my favorites include Sun Salutations and Deep Child’s Pose – I breathed more easily and felt at peace. Never before had I felt so happy and self-assured. Through my experiences, I have found that the only way to overcome bullying is to speak up and develop confidence and interests, as I discovered through meditation and yoga. In taking a breath of life, I have learned to relax my body, mind, and soul, but more importantly, I have learned to love myself.

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raindove said...
Oct. 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm
I've never been bullied, but I have close family and friends who have. I may never feel like the people who are/were bullied, but I can understand
Jessalynn said...
May 28, 2014 at 9:41 am
I was bullied, and I'm still being bullied today, just reading this makes me feel like I'm not alone, and I'm obviously not. Thank you for sharing this. It really helps
mplo replied...
Dec. 30, 2015 at 8:39 am
Sorry to hear that you were not only bullied, but are still being bullied today, Jessalyn. I don't know how old you are, but, unfortunately, kids who bully often grow up to be adults who bully, as well. It's unfortunate that bullying is so prevalant. Here's hoping that you begin to speak out for yourself, and that the bullying stops.
johnnyboy21g said...
Mar. 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm
very true this is very deep
BGIRL4LIFE replied...
Mar. 17, 2016 at 10:41 am
@johnnyboy21g I agree with you:)
rheame said...
Dec. 5, 2013 at 5:38 am
suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper goooooood!! i loved it  
bookmouse said...
Aug. 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm
Perfect! (And rarely say that!) You included detail to make it personal, and yet it was easy to relate to. Somehow you tied your own experience to bullying in general (I can't explain it besides "Bullies often have subtle artful ways of making you miserable..."). Your experience conjured up memories of my own experiences and those of others I know. I could relate to the peace you found in yoga since I found it in horses. If I had to mke a suggestion it would be that your self disco... (more »)
papagena This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate your constructive feedback, and I am sorry to hear that you were bullied too.
XXxTakersGirlxXX said...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm
I went through the same thing and I don't do yoga I dance =) dancing helps relaxes the body too =) great article
briana78 said...
Oct. 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm
This article is great . i think that all the bullying needs to stop and i would love to stop it.
Amoney said...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 8:14 am
Wow im sure a lot of people can relate to your story. sad thing school is like this.
BrookeP said...
Jul. 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm
This essay is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. 
Sue S. said...
Jul. 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm
Thank you for your insight into dealing with bullies. I never know that yoga could help. Well done!
ava_rogers said...
Jul. 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm
This is a good essay. You found a way to deal with the bullying. Way to go!
Ava_R said...
Jun. 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm
I enjoy reading your essay on bullying. It brought tears to my eyes. Bullying is a silent crime for it hurts the victims emotionally and spiritually. Let's put a stop to it.
Madison said...
May 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm
I truly admire your courage to stand up for yourself. I used to be a victim of bullying myself. I understand how you feel. Don't ever let those bullies take advantage of you. The bullies have low self esteem and no life. Wonderful essay on bullying!
Nathan said...
May 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Bullying is a serious issue, thank you for sharing your painful experience. It is a good essay.
isabella601 said...
May 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm
This essay on bullying is well written. I can feel your pain while you struggled to deal with the bullies headon. Thank you for sharing your experience of being a victim of bullies. Great essay!
Logan T. said...
May 11, 2012 at 8:40 am
Fantastic essay on bullying. It is personal and inspiring. Great job!
JaneAnderson said...
May 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm
Amazing article! It is touching and moving. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with the world!
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