Everyone has a slightly distorted self-image. That's pretty natural, but sometimes self-image gets really twisted.
I actually have no idea how I look. It sounds really strange, but from what I understand I don't see the same person that everyone else sees. I see someone who is short, fat, has crooked teeth, bad skin, oily hair, a pug nose, a weak chin, hell I could go on and on. If you let me I probably would. I relentlessly try to make myself prettier, I use new skin creams, different makeup, I diet, I do yoga, I use special shampoos and conditioners, wear heels that kill my back. I admit, I have a problem with OCD, so I do obsess a bit more than I should about things, but that's what I see and try to fix.
Now this is apparently not what other people see. I mean, they see the short, I'm 5 foot, there is no changing that. But from what I understand they don't see that other stuff. My friends tell me that I'm attractive, not really fat, and reasonably pretty.
Lots of things contributed to my unreasonable self image. Part of it is my OCD. While I don't completely focus on self-image with my OCD (My main focus is food) it does certainly shade my perceptions. Another part of it is bullying.
I will admit, I was a victim in high school. Hell, through most of my education until college I was a victim. I really must have just thrown out a pick on me vibe. Girls in particular can be freakishly cruel, but even guys got in their jabs. Hell, I used to be spit on. Spit on for God's sake. I never told anyone that. Do you know how humiliating it is to be spit on? And not once, or twice, but many times.
People talk about the damage done by bullying as if it is a fleeting thing. It pisses me off because part of me is still that girl that was bullied for years because of how I looked. Some people are affected for the rest of their lives by what they went through as teenagers. It isn't just the kids that show up with a gun and shoot up their school that you have to worry about. It's also the kids that grow up to be people like me. I had a crappy home life and I couldn't even go to school to get away from it. My teen years were so stressful that I had regular panic attacks and developed some traits that I still can't free myself from.
Bullying is an overlooked issue in this country, and it affects a hell of a lot more than just the kid that snaps and kills people. I bet a lot of people out there will state that they were bullied, but what I'm talking about is that extreme form of it that goes on sometimes. The kind that just kills you inside. That is the kind of bullying that we don't want to admit goes on in schools because it means that something might be really wrong with our kids. We need to find out when bullying went into this extreme and figure out how to fix it, how to stop it. Not just turn a blind eye or tell everyone "ignore the bully" (seriously? Dumbest advice ever. Trust me).
I have no idea how to do this, but damn it I intend to make sure that my kid never deals with what I dealt with when she gets to school.