Guest Submission: Hilary
Then: 13 years old, Cleveland, Ohio
Now: 29 years old, living in Charleston, South Carolina. Happily married to the man of my dreams and working in sales.
Starting in elementary school, I was picked on for being smart, nerdy, skinny and ugly. I was pushed down and threatened and felt totally helpless. In middle school, things worsened as my group of girl friends and I exchanged hateful insults and ganged up on one another, choosing a new victim each week it seemed.
The low self-confidence I earned during those years more or less followed me up through college, where I slowly came into my own and began to recognize my strengths and self-worth. I earned my masters in social work and, before moving, worked as a therapist with teenagers in an outpatient clinic and inpatient hospital. I was able to relate to some of their struggles and felt that my experiences led me to be a better therapist and mentor.
I hope that I can pass on to my future children, nieces and nephews what I’ve learned about forming my own opinion of myself outside of what others think. I hope they can understand that who you are is not a reflection of your physical appearance, for better or worse!