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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This article has 28 comments. Post your own now!

steveholmes said...
May 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Great essay! I can feel your pain and suffering. But I am glad you stood up for yourself. Believe in yourself and be your own advocate. Thank you for sharing!
rachelcohen said...
May 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Your essay touches my heart. I do like the ending when you become stronger and deal with the bullying in your own way. Fantastic essay!
papagena This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Thank you so much for your comment! Bullying is a terrible experience, and I am glad to have overcome it. 
JaneA said...
May 10, 2012 at 9:33 am
I am moved by your essay. I used to be a victim of bullying too. You stood up for yourself. I do admire your courage to share this painful experience with us. Great essay.
Ray_RF said...
May 10, 2012 at 9:15 am
Great essay, good job!
Ford_M said...
May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am
This is really good. It voices a vital issue. Glad you stood up for yourself. Keep writing.
Isabella601 said...
May 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm
a fantastic essay! I do admire your strength and upbeat attitude. 
Rose said...
May 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm
Thank you for sharing your experience on bullying. Your essay is inspiring and moving.  It is well written. 
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