I remember back in 2011 when i was in my first band and we had put out our first music and along with positive reviews i also bumped on a website that included me in their ”Hot or Not” column.
The voters had decided i was a ”Not” because i was too thin and there were comments writing all sorts of things about the way i look – from questions such as ”doesn’t she get it she looks sick?” to recommendations to ensure my wellbeing suppposedly such as ”somebody buy her a sandwich”.
Just for the story… the previous year i had been hit by anorexia caused by severe burnout.
The way i felt back then about it was not significant but as happens every time you outgrow a phase in your life you look back and say years later ”hey, wait a minute, that wasn’t right”!
Even earlier at school as a 12 year old girl entering puberty i was mocked even by teachers about how thin i looked.
Summer of 2004 i auditioned for the Music Gymnasium and a female teacher at the audition said ”my God you look awful – so thin and dark, where did you come from, Ethiopia?” – which already back then i found very insulting towards people from Ethiopia.
The truth is growing up in the South (Greece) i was dark. If i stayed longer under the sun – which was often because i enjoyed being a wild nature child – i would be even darker than anyone at home or at school and that was often a source of other kids and even teachers picking at me – for my color.
I watched as chubbier, blonder, more feminine little girls were favored for almost anything whereas the skinny, dark and athletic me was made fun of. So i started to think something was wrong with me.
I remember thinking as a child that maybe i looked dirty. I didnt’t like my knees cause they were dark from the sun and they seemed dirty to me no matter how hard i would wash them. I looked at my fingers and found them ugly. Too dark. Shouldn’t my hands be more feminine? My fingers look too… strong if that makes sense. I was 10 when i thought about that.
I was shocked when my music teacher congratulated me on my ”long, strong fingers” – they would be useful to me as a pianist. I was like ”really? are those ugly fingers actually good for something?”
Teenage years went by with me excelling in music and that bringing about more bullying from other aspiring singers – i was snatching the roles they wanted to have at school musicals.
2 years before graduation in 2008 and said bullies had filled up Facebook with hate pages against me – they even had pictures of me with a red X on my face and they were mocking me for everything – even about the fact that my family owns a big piece of land on an island – they said i was coming from a farm (which i still didn’t see as a bad thing but i started feeling like even where i came from was not good).
At work my bosses made fun of the fact i was a singer and in a metal band.
And the list could go on endlessly.
But i want to say 2 things especially for those who suffer from what people say…
#1: Don’t freaking let it get to you. After years it finally happened to me and i almost buried my self to play roles that would ensure my survival AND STILL this was not enough – there was always something else i had to do to keep those people happy. So don’t do that, there is no winning when you go like that.
#2: It dawned to me that my mistake was ”ignoring” them. So with me never speaking up these people found ground to do more until they got to me, they made me second guess all that was great about me. It all changed when in my middle 20s i started speaking up. STAND UP for yourself.
Don’t allow anybody to come and mess with you. Put them in their place. My life changed since i did that and i don’t even attract such people anymore because I CHANGED. When you change from the inside your world outside changes too.
In the past i allowed even some strangers to come in my own home and insult me. Well… finally last time they came i ”insulted” them back so strongly it shocked them. That person was staring at me and i stared back with such intensity they had to look away. They never came back and they avoid me since then which has been amazing.
In most cases you don’t even have to curse someone. A simple ”nobody asked for your opinion” is shocking to those people who have been used to no resistance from their ”victims”.
It’s time you woke up.
I spent my life being too polite. Don’t do that. Don’t be nice. Be real. Be fair. Be vocal. And stick to it. Once you get up, stay up until they leave. It’s a staring game-be the one to outstare them.
You will because bullies have no real substance. But you do. You endured for years, you built strength but bullies cannot endure, all they do is for instant gratification they get when they see someone break under the weight. But this time, you don’t break. Cause now you know that it is the brightest of us that stick out from the crowd, that it is the best of us the bullies want desperately to brush shoulders with – well, let them have it, let’s see if they can survive the impact now that you know you are one of us, you are the brightest, the best – and ultimately the strongest.
I found that more than half of the people who bullied me either ended up dead or in jail – all of their own doing. All of them had some demons they were fighting. That’s because when you enjoy making other people’s lives hell, at some point hell comes to your doorstep. It’s law. Some succumbed to substance abuse or did something criminal and got locked away.
Others are still alive – or so they say cause their lives don’t feel very alive – most are addicted on something to get them through the day – be that sex, recognition, social media, overworking themselves or still abusing others to get their kicks. I say ”get well soon”.
I am still here. Healthy, fullfilled, satisfied with my life on most levels (nobody’s perfect).
And you are here, too. Even though they said you wouldn’t be. So fuck what people say.
All my love,