I was a little girl in the fifth grade growing up trying to find myself. My hair was brunette, and always cut into some hideous mush-room cut. I looked like a little boy. It was so uneven. It was humiliating. I embraced it. My mom wasn’t exactly a hair-stylist, but she gave me home-made hair-cuts. It was all we could afford. I appreciated it.
I never liked dolls. I hated barbies. I liked playing sports in my backyard. I liked playing with toy cars and making them race each-other. I liked playing with marbles. I was a tom-boy. I was so ridiculously weird. This has made my life a little complicated.
You wouldn’t know all that looking at me today. I learned how to become a classy looking lady who embraces make-up, high-heels, and beautiful dresses. I come across women who hate me and judge me for my outside without knowing my inside. I come across men who feel rejected by me and tear me to pieces because I can be so choosy.
It often makes me wonder why people take rejection so harshly when rejection is all I’ve ever known. It’s like I’m a mean person because I don’t want to live in places of hurt I’ve already been. It’s like I’m a mean person because I have empathy and in the end I know I still have to stay loyal to my dreams. It’s like I can never win.
It often brings me right back to that little girl. The little girl who dreamed of the day I’d have friends. The little girl who had none. I remember waking up every day knowing that I was going to school to another day of being bullied. I rarely ever stood up to my bullies. I always took it. I always showed compassion. I always showed forgiveness.
I remember the days I’d go home crying, burying my tears into my pillow cases. I’d open up journals and I’d start writing. I’d wrip up the pages and throw them out. I’d hide out in my books and I’d read. I felt like the characters in the books became my friends. I fell in love with the fantasy world that so many authors created for little girls being bullied like me. There are so many authors who don’t even realize how much of a gift they are for those of us who had to endure bullying.
I read and I read and through my reading I learned about people. I had a dream. I had a vision. I dreamed that one day I’d find my place in the world. I never had nice clothes. I always wore hand-me-downs from my older sister or clothes my mother purchased at a thrift shop. She never had the best taste in fashion. She still instilled into me the attitude of gratitude and what it means to be grateful for what you have. I never got to have the nicest gadgets all the other students in my class always had. There were days I was envious. There were days I was jealous.
I’d always run home: “Mommy, can I have this?”
and she’d always reply: “No, we can’t afford it.”
I was pretty much a loner. The ugly kid in the class. I look back remembering how I was made to feel, and every day of my life that little girl has never left me.
I still remember us setting goals and on those goal sheets the assistant teacher made us write. I remember the assistant teacher got to me and I wrote down: “I want to be an author.” She looked at me and how lonely I felt in the world. She took her red pen and she wrote: “I hope one day I see your name on a book.”
I’ve carried this dream with me throughout my life even when most of the time I think I fail at it. It’s the only thing that ever stays with me. Friends come and friends go. Boyfriends pretend to love me, and boyfriends leave me. I cry sometimes thinking: The world is so unfair.
It’s in those tears I learned to pour my heart out. I never saw myself as a writer. I saw myself as someone with a hobby. It was my way of not dealing with the world. As a little girl. I learned the world could be quite cruel.
I grew up. I got a makeover. I made friends. The friends I made were not genuine. When I got hurt in my teenage years. I wasn’t hurt for being bullied. I was hurt because I was being used. I was a vulnerable spirit living in a world I wasn’t prepared for thinking that once I was noticed the world would be kind to me. The world actually made me feel more empty.
Disappointment after disappointment. Failure after failure. Betrayal after betrayal. Break up after break up. It went on into my young adulthood. I started feeling sorry for myself wondering what I was doing so wrong? I started attracting pain and pain started attracting me. It was my normal.
I found rock bottom. If you’ve been there you know the desperate state you’re in. I just knew in my heart there was a better way of life. I looked for it and never found it. I found a bunch of friends. I wasn’t fulfilled. It’s like I always felt like a part of me was missing. I always felt like I was compromising who I was. I started hearing everybody around me telling me how I was never good enough to be them. It was like I was trapped in a box of other peoples dreams instead of my own. I started to believe the lies. I started to think I need to change myself so they will like me. I realized the harder you try at anything. The more people who will come to break you down. I kept getting broken down. The destructive patterns just wouldn’t stop.
I thought I was able to do it by myself and I had to learn that throughout life we all need teachers. We all need people who will mentor us and show us the ropes. I often thought about the American Dream and running away to Hollywood. I think we all have those dreams sometimes. Hollywood is just the screen. Everything that we become starts with who we already are. It just becomes magnified once we start living in our purpose.
I had to accept that I wasn’t perfect, and that I had fallen down. I fell down into the mentality of playing the victim card. Playing that card always attracts the wrong people. The people who prey on our vulnerabilities. I had to remind myself that the past is not the future. I had to continue on in the girl I already was and embrace her. There are so many things in life that are put there to destroy us, to put fear in us, and we need to know who we are so that who we are is always enough.
Now I know what it means to be a dreamer. It means to live up to people who already been there and allow them to teach you how to grow. It was the day I understood that – I had a different attitude towards everything. The hard part about this different attitude is you look back and you see the people who treat you like you’re a competition, and it’s not a competition. There is a path and a lane for everyone. Sometimes you look back with empathy and other times you move forwards with dignity. I learned you can’t please everyone. People will hate you if you put yourself first. People will hate you if you put yourself last.
That’s never the end goal. The end goal is to fight so hard for your dreams that you’re in a place to give back. You can’t give what you don’t have. I think so many times we try so hard for the image. We forget to create the lifestyle.