My past and my past bullying isn’t something I usually talk about. I try my best to stay positive and not let my memories stray to that time, because I’ve worked to overcome the past.
As I get older I realize that I can use those negative memories for good! I can help young people that are going through what I was going through. so that they are capable of absolutely doing swell things, and that it does get better! With my testimony I can get through to people that bullying is a painful reality for so many, and that we are capable of changing that, and taking the burdens away from many children.
My bullying testimony:
I’ll start out and end with a little bit about myself! At the age of 3 I was diagnosed with a severe speech impediment. I took speech therapy until I was 7 and practiced all I could to be able to talk like the other kids, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t correct it. Most of my elementary school was okay.
The bullying got bad in middle school. This part is what is most unpleasant to talk about.
My speech impediment had a significant improvement, but I had a very high pitched and childish voice. When I entered middle school I was very different than the other kids were.
I was interested in different things then they were, and preferred to talk to the teachers and other adults. I had a sense of humor that they didn’t understand, and was very eccentric and creative. I had some friends though, three boys who I hung out with, and they continued to be my best friend throughout my middle school, but I mostly kept to myself.
In 7th grade I started to be bullied physically. The girl was a sophomore and befriended most of the girls in my class, but disliked me. I would go home bleeding almost everyday, and I kept it to myself.
The bullying carried on and got worse as school continued. It was hard, and I didn’t want to tell anyone and look weak- which is a silly thought now. My bully ended up harming me physically in different ways: twisting my wrists, hitting me, scratching, throwing me in trash cans, pushing me, etc. But the emotional pain and feelings of insignificance were the worst. It’s hard not to believe things that are told to you every day.
About a year later I was walking down the stairs of my school when I overheard a girl in my grade telling the bully she would pay her to beat me up. I walked down the stairs and looked at them with a smirk. (Which is another thing, my only way of self-defense after trying to be nice and talk to the bully, was to put up an attitude that I didn’t care and it didn’t bother me. I tried to make them think that I was emotionally stronger then there physical pain.) Later that day I was called into the lady dean’s office and told that my classmate who was going to pay the bully had told on herself, thus outing the bully and all that she had done to me.
I ended up telling the dean all that had happened, and the bully ended up being suspended for three days and when she got back into school she wasn’t allowed to be in the same room as me. In a way I had escaped! Yay! What I didn’t escape from was the emotional after effects. I will acknowledge that there were emotional after effects, but I would really not want to delve into those.
Now to tell a little more about myself! My name is Olivia Wright and I am the CEO of an organization I founded called H.U.G.S (Help Us Give Shoes). I along with my team have collected over 87,000 pairs of shoes and donated said shoes to places locally and all over the world. Including places like Haiti, The Dominican Republic, places all over Africa, Russia, and many more. I took the pain and threw myself into my work! I knew that I would show my bullies that I am more than what they made me believe, I would prove to myself that I am not weak or a helpless victim, and I would make a difference and shoe the world! I made it my mission to smile, and do everything in my power to make others smile.
I wrote and published a children’s book called Malarie Jane Learns to Help (all the proceeds going towards the Ronald McDonald House), and am currently writing a book for teens about teenage activism, that teaches how to make a difference. I am a Global Teen Leader 2014 for the We Are Family foundation, and a teenage peace maker.
If I had one thing to tell young people being bullied, it would be that you are better than they think you are, and one day you will show them. You are capable of amazing things! Please keep hanging on and please tell somebody, I know that it’s hard, but it does get so much better! Each person’s life is a beautiful and complex story, there are ups and downs, and at the end of the day, the hero ends up happy and victorious. You are the hero of your story! You are strong and chosen by a God that loves you and cares about you, and I love you, too.
Bullying is nobody’s fault but the bully’s. You are not anything that they say you are. No matter how hard life gets, there is good! Life is good! And there is someone somewhere who loves you. You have amazing things in your beautiful future, and keep your eyes upon that. You are going to do amazing things, and someday, you will look at where you are in life and not even remember the harsh things said to you, you will be too busy thinking about how strong you were to overcome them.
You are not alone, and if you ever need any help or guidance email me. I am here for you, and so many others are, too!
Stay strong little warrior, you are a gem.
Olivia Wright- CEO and founder of H.U.G.S.
Twitter and Instagram @giveashoe
Giving shoes and smiles.