The Power of Words

February 6, 2017
By , Mundelein, IL

In 7th grade a lot of things changed for better or worse in my life. It was a mixture of both the good and the bad that had made me who I am today. One of the first things that had came out of place were my friends. Then, it was my best friend who died a couple months later, and finally, it was my self-esteem.

At the beginning of seventh grade a new student came along and had started to slowly take my friends away from me. Soon, I was forced to find new friends. My current friends were also being slowly pushed out of their friend groups, so we ended up becoming friends even though at one point we all hated each other. My new friends introduced me to amazing music that I never thought that I would listen to before.

Everyday at lunch my friends and I would smush together around the table, do homework, and complain about our classes. This one girl who I had been friends with since elementary school out of nowhere one day started to call me names and insult me. At first I was able to brush it off as a joke but after my best friend of 8 years had passed away, I became much more vulnerable to what was being said to me. Everyday at lunch this girl would call me anorexic even though I clearly wasn't -at the time- and would say how if I ate my lunch I would get fat and all of this hogwash. The days that she wasn't there were perfectly fine and would be filled with laughter and jokes; when she was there lunch was slow, gloomy, and everyone was having their own little conversations. Out of the 6 people that I had sat with that year only one of them defended me; the others would either laugh, ignore what she was saying, or worse add to what she was saying. She was basically controlling them. The one friend that would defend me and not fall victim to her control, was the only thing keeping their harsh words from greatly affecting me.

Her tormenting had gone on for the entire school year, but they didn't really affect me until 5 months after they started. Then I started taking what she said to heart and started to act a bit differently. As a result of the actual act of bullying and ‘joking’ from my friends I had developed a form of social anxiety that had made it even harder for me to be in large crowds of people or stand up and present something in fear of being judged. It wasn't until the end of seventh grade where I began to eat less and would skip at least one meal a day. Every night I would weigh myself and tell myself, “Tomorrow you're not gonna eat breakfast and not have an afterschool snack,” or something along those lines. The people around me barely even noticed my lack of eating or changed persona. 
Even though the person who bullied me moved away after seventh grade I continued to get worse. To me, starving myself just wasn't working so I turned to ‘the next best thing’, purging. If I would eat dinner I would try to purge it back up. Every time I ate I could hear her voice echoing in the back of my mind, “If you eat that, you know you're gonna get fat,” she said to me one day when my friend and I split a donut that we took from one of our other friend’s boyfriend.

I had done that for about 3 months before I started to get tired of its repercussions. Every morning when I woke up I could hardly talk because of how bad my throat hurt from being rubbed raw. I stopped purging before eighth grade was over. I had realized that what I was doing was just holding me back and making life harder.

After the puzzle that was my life had fallen apart, the pieces of what was left had came together to create a brand new piece of art. I have found passions that I never knew I had, I ended up falling in love with photography and music. I have wonderful friends that encourage me to do my best and help each other out the our rough patches. I am more confident in the way I present myself and have a new perspective on how I see life.

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