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Rise up to change, and love yourself!

Rosalie Gadoua, Grade 11
Last week, we had a free dress day in the honour of anti-bullying, a situation that affects too many people.
A survey shows that in reality, 1 out of 5 kids aged from 5 -18 have reported being harassed. In theory, that would mean that in this room, about 50 students have been bullied, or will potentially be. That is 49 people around me who have perhaps lived through the same hell I have.

For a very long time, school was an absolute nightmare. I’ve always had a bit of a hard time forming friendships with girls than guys, but if you think it’s bad today; you should have seen me from 1st to 4th grade.

Every morning, I would bring a little bucket completely filled with bakugans and their cards. Every recess, I would be outside having bakugan duels with the boys. During classes, I wouldn’t even listen to the teacher, I would have my nose in a book or the newspaper. Did not really scream cool kid!

I suppose that was enough to make me a prime target for bullies. I had two of them. One of them would beat me in the lockers until I had bruises all over my body, and was bleeding. The other preferred verbal abuse. which wasn’t that much better. I remember once, I was drawing in a room
because that’s what 9-year olds do and she turned to me and said, “Maybe you should just do us all a favour, and kill yourself.”

Today if someone told me that, I would laugh it up and tell the girl to bug off. To a little girl with no friends who felt like an outcast, well; it broke me. The fact that no one bothered standing up for me, broke me. Her constant cruel words and determination to make me feel worthless, broke me. Some mornings, I went as far as to shove my fingers down my throat to make myself throw up so I would not have to go to class.
I should not have been the one penalized for their actions. They should have suffered the consequences of their harassment, but life isn’t always fair.I ended up having to switch schools, which I am now thankful for because in all honesty; I don’t know if I would still be here today if I hadn’t.
You know how they say that bullying scars for life? As some of you know, that’s true. I am not bullied anymore, but I sure didn’t get out of it, unscathed. In reality, I don’t have much faith in my abilities, extremely low self-esteem. I don’t often feel like I’m good enough. If someone asked me what I truly think about myself, I would say, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not nice enough. I still remember everything that has been said to me, all the cruelty. It’s hard to get rid of the little voices in my head telling me I’m not worthy, or I don’t deserve what I have.
I want that to change. Back then, there was nothing wrong with me, I simply liked different things than other kids. There is not anything wrong with me today. So, what if I’m not MVP of the soccer team, I’m an incredible benchwarmer. Why does it matter that I don’t look like a model? I’m 5’2” and proud of it. Yes, I feel my happiest when reading Harry Potter or in a museum with an audio guide in my ears, and not at a rap concert; not that there is anything wrong with that.

I have a weird laugh, that, I’ll admit. As my New York friends Charlotte, Phil and Patrick would put it, its like a symphony of 20 different laughs! When it’s been going on for a while, it just sounds like a sea lion choking and gasping for air. I laughed a lot, but what do you want, I’m happy and I like having fun!

Who cares that I’m not on the heads list, I put a lot of effort and work every night, that’s what matters. I have dancing parties in the bathroom at the end of almost everyday to get rid of nervousness, and let me tell you; I am not a great or even decent dancer. I regularly hurt myself by flinging my hands on the shelves or I accidentally knock stuff off during the spin moves. Issy, I’m sorry you’ve had to walk in on me dancing, but that’s something else that I’ve come to accept about myself.

I also tend to act as a 5-year-old when I’m really excited about something. No matter how small or insignificant it might be, and people find it annoying. Guess what? I don’t care, I refuse to change who I am.
I am Weird. I would even say I’m situated pretty high on the weirdness scale. That is more than ok with me! I am done hiding what I am because of what other people might think of me, or because of what people have said in the past, and I hope you are too.

Be exactly what you are, your flaws as well as your numerous qualities, never be ashamed of everything you are. From now on, I’ll ignore what people say about me and embrace the person I am.
- Rosalie Gadoua
Grade 11