I am 20 and I survived Depression
I don't usually like to talk about these sorts of things, but I figure if my story can help anyone then it is worth it.
It begins at the young age of 12. Everyone goes through the awkward stages of puberty and we all face our own struggles. Mine was developing much more quickly than the other girls. It made me stand out in the crowd. It wasn't that I felt unattractive, just strange. People always seemed to take notice of my body, boys and girls. Since I was really shy at the time it was all they seemed to notice. No one really talked to me, just about me. I wanted t all to change so I decided to come back to school the next year and recreate a new image. Focusing on my body was the only way I knew how to make people want to be around me. I emphasized it in a way that an 8th grader shouldn't have. But it worked. People wanted to be around me and talk to me all over a few changes in wardrobe and makeup. It was silly of me to do what I did, but I was immature at the time. It made me feel as if the only thing people could like about me was my body. It made me feel like that was all of my worth. People began to talk. I gained a bad reputation and people felt the need to try and "help" me. They said I needed to watch my image. A teacher blamed me for the way a classmate was staring at me. Saying it was my fault he was looking. The guys would tell me they were going to spy on me in the locker room while I was changing. It made me feel fearful but I knew I couldn't say anything because the teachers would blame it on me again.
When I moved on to high school, I got separated from most of my friends and I thought I could start out fresh again. I changed the way I dressed to be more conservative than before. I hoped that people would want to be around me for me. Somehow I once again ended up with a bad reputation, even though I was still a virgin. One day in the hall, I was walking and a complete stranger ran up behind me and lifted my skirt up for everyone to see. He ran off so quickly, I don't even know who it was. The worst for me comes from when I got a a job, early junior year. The company I worked for was small and not properly run. They played favorites and people got away with things they shouldn't have. Two or three of the boys I worked with grabbed me inappropriately on a regular basis for over a year. I was tricked by one employee who asked me to check out something he had cleaned, only to be lead in an area with no cameras where he tried to force himself on me. He had a fiancée. One guy grabbed my hand and forced me to touch his privates. I finally got the courage to speak to a manager about my issues I'd been dealing with and they decided to move me to a different department. None of the people I mentioned were fired or reprimanded even though some of it was on tape.
My biggest regret is not taking further action. I know I should have quit but it just seemed so unfair that I was going to have to go without money and find a new job and those who assaulted me would just continue on. It still affects my life today greatly. I have issues with my current boyfriend because of it. Sex has become something that I fear or dread. He is very understanding and loving, but I can see it is hard on him. He hates knowing that we can't share intimacy because the beauty of it was stolen from me.
Even though it has changed me forever, I am still standing strong. I don't have the low self esteem like I used to, and things feel like they are headed up. I am about to graduate from college in a month and I got a much better job now.
My message to young girls would be to not let their body define them. I know sometimes you feel like you have to fit in, but I promise you, it isn't worth it. If people don't see your inner beauty then they aren't worth your time. Focus on being the best you. We are so much more than our bodies. Don't degrade yourself by even entertaining the idea that it makes us who we are.
I live my life today focusing on my inner strengths. You ladies can too. (:
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