i am a bully

i stare at myself in the mirror, that horrible reflection staring back at me. those eyes, those lips, that nose, those ears, that hair... who could love this person? this ugly, ugly person? i’m plain. i’m average. i’m nothing. who could love me with these eyes, these lips, this nose, these ears, this hair... who could love me for me? for what i truly look like?

no one, that’s who.

my eyes stray towards the counter, where i’ve put them. they sit there, tempting me. “if you use me, you will be beautiful, and people will like you. if you use me, people will love you.”

i glance around guiltily. then, on an impulse, i snatch them. i pull the brush out of the tube and start applying the mascara to my eyes. i grab the concealer to cover my face. i grab the lipstick and cover my dull lips. and i stare at myself. that’s better. but is it enough?

before i know it, i’m back here again. i stare at myself, mascara on my eyes, concealer on my face, lipstick on my lips. i stare, that horrible, ugly face staring back at me. “you’re ugly.” i grab more, put more on, thinking, “maybe this time, this time i’ll be beautiful. this time i’ll be satisfied. this time, people will love me.”

i suppose that’ll do for now. i stop, and turn away.

i stare at myself in the mirror. there’s no makeup. there’s just me. and i’m ugly. my eyes stare at me, full of tears. my lips quiver.

“i’m ugly. you’re ugly. you’re horrible. you’re unlovable.”

people don’t know what i really look like, let alone what i’m really like. all they hear are those jokes that i’ve crafted to make them laugh, make them smile, make them like me. all they see is me trying to be nice so that they’ll think i’m a nice person and like me. all they see is this lie of a person that i’ve created, so that people will like me. they see someone who’s strong, who doesn’t need other people. who’s independent, who has lots of friends. but the real me? that’s not me.

the real me is scared - scared of being alone. the real me has quirks - strange quirks. the real me likes to talk about a variety things that aren’t always just fun and funny. the real me likes to be honest. the real me has problems that the real me doesn’t even like to talk about. the real me fears that it is stupid and a failure. the real me is emotional. the real me carries weights - a lot of weights, weights that most people don’t even know about.

if someone knew the real me, then they wouldn’t want to. no one would want to care about me enough to realize that i have faults and problems, just like them. and to accept that.

so i have to be perfect. fun. funny. nice. i have to be beautiful. smart. athletic. i have to be everything that makes someone likable, so that i won’t be alone. so that i will be loved.

i have to be something more.

“you’re a bully.”

when my friend told me that, i gave them a look. what was running through my mind was, “um... no i’m not.”

that’s when they followed it up with, “you’re being a bully to yourself.”

i knew what they meant the first time, but i still didn’t want to accept it.

i said something like, “so-and-so, i don’t bully myself.”

“yes, you do,” they replied. “didn’t you just hear yourself?”

the words that i’d said a few moments before came back into my mind - “i’m ugly.”

i gave them a look. “that’s just what people say.”

“that’s being a bully,” they pointed out. “don’t bully yourself.”

their words stuck with me. was i being a bully? was i really bullying myself? i mean, i’ve read plenty of books. the bullies are always the mean kids who make the main character’s life miserable. they steal lunch money, beat kids up, and get them in trouble with the authorities. but me? i wasn’t a bully.

...or was i?

physical bullying isn’t the only kind. there’s always verbal bullying. and while it might not seem as painful on the outside, it can be. whenever someone says something unkind to me, whether or not they don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s a big deal to me. those words just keep on hitting me, like waves of failure, beating against me again and again.

if those people think that about me, then... then is that what i am? they see me from the outside; i only see myself internally. so is that what i really am? stupid? a failure? ugly? i mean, if that’s what i’m really like... no one will ever like me. love me. i’ll be alone forever. i hate being alone. even just knowing there’s someone else nearby is comforting.

soon these words - these lies - they become so much engrained in my brain that they came out in my own voice. “anna, you’re stupid. you didn’t know that. see? they knew that. the fact that you didn’t means that you’re just stupid.” “anna, you didn’t do that perfectly? they did. you know what that means? you’re a failure. a worthless failure.” “anna, didn’t you hear them? they said the other person looks pretty, and didn’t say anything to you. that means that you’re ugly. you’re ugly and unlovable.”

and pretty soon? i’m sitting there, telling myself these things, and feeling myself sinking, lower and lower. they thought i was ugly? gotta be prettier. they treated me like i was stupid? i’ve got to become smarter. they acted like i was a failure? i better make sure i’m never ever again a failure, even if it means i don’t try things i really want to just because i’m sure i’m going to fail - and that’s not an option.

and when i fail, time and time again? “anna, you’re just horrible.” “anna, you’re just a failure, just like always.” “anna, everyone hates you.”

and pretty soon, i just don’t want to go on.

i didn’t want to admit to my friend that i was a bully. i didn’t want to admit to myself that i was a bully. it was unhealthy, and my friend saw that and called me out on it. and yet i didn’t want to engage. because the alternative didn’t seem like an option. but the thing is? the alternative is actually the truth. God’s setting-free truth.

so what?

so what if i fail? so what if i’m ugly? so what if i’m stupid?

so what?

if people aren’t willing to spend time with you because you’re not the best-looking person ever or because you don’t always succeed or because you’re not the smartest person out there, then they’re not your true friends.

when someone told me that, i looked at them and said, “then i’ll be all alone.”

and you know what they did?

they laughed, smiled, and replied, “God’s always there, anna. you’re never alone.”

and you know what? they were right.

a lot of you guys probably know the verse that goes, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10) i don’t know about you guys, but my family’s my strongest confidant on most things. but even if they reject me, God’s going to be there for me. so i will never be alone.

i will never be alone.

trying to bully yourself into perfection, into something unattainable... like my friend saw, like i realized - it’s unhealthy. it’s bad. it can even be dangerous. and it’s just plain mean, just like every other bully there ever was.

so even when i want to “joke” - which i’m pretty all of us know that when we do that we actually mean it, just a little - something negative about myself, i want to stop myself. i want to stop myself and think, “i am God’s child. i am loved. i am beautifully and wonderfully made.” and instead of being a bully to myself? i want to be a friend.

be a friend,
anna

the story in italics was partly fictional, but some of the feelings were real. also, some of the conversations i was trying to quote might not have been totally exact, but i tried to keep the heart and meaning of them.

20 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. Anna. This...this was amazing. You are so, so right. I think that a lot of times I fall into that same trap of bullying myself. And let's face it, it's just not healthy. ^^ This post was such a great reminder for me. Thank you so much for posting this. :)
    xoxo
    Grace Anne // http://totallygraced.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you so much for being honest, and for your lovely comment. :)

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  2. This is beautiful, Anna. You captured such a true feeling we all face perfectly. <3 Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I love your writings, and how you turn us back to God and His perfect love for us <3
    So encouraging to read :)

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  4. In movies bullies are always the mean kids who explicitly push the weaker ones around. That's not real though. The real worse bullies are ourselves. We really do bully ourselves, because we're so terribly insecure and we interpret everything against us. We need to be liked because we need other people's validation, since we're so busy bullying ourselves to provide it within. The people we create are so fake, and I've only just realised that I don't know how to be real anymore. Is being fake actually not fake but real?

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

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    1. I think that I, at least, beat myself up at lot because I feel like I have to reach this unattainable level of perfection for someone to like me. And I know it's unattainable, and it just makes me hate myself more. And I try, and I try, and I just can't. I think that if I'm the prettiest or the smartest or the funniest or the most athletic, then someone would love me. But even if I was the most of something, if that was the only reason that somebody liked me, if I didn't perform as highly as they wanted, they'd leave me in the second. The real friends are the ones who stay with us when we just dragged ourselves out of bed to get to some place on time or smile with us when we make corny jokes or still like hanging around with us if we're making our team lose or they'll still care and help me understand what seems like a simple math problem to them. And even if it feels like there's nobody? God's always there, and He'll never leave you, no matter what kind of a mess you think you are.

      I sometimes feel like the person that I am to most people is someone fake, some person who sometimes feels like the opposite of what I really am. I feel the need sometimes to fit in, have lots of friends, have other people like me. I feel so hungry with that need that I push aside good things and do things to fit in. I think that these "fake" people that we've created are someone that we're living as, but that we don't have to stay as. At any point, we can turn around and head back in the other direction. We can can do the things that we really want to do, deep down inside, and that we actually think is right. We don't have to worry what other people think of us, what other people are going to say, or whether or not they like us. Because it doesn't matter. We need what is God-honoring and right. And often the fake person that we're living as, is not that person. I can say that's true at least for my own life - I don't know if that's true for yours or not.

      The fake people that we have created don't have to be "us." At any moment, we can change into the people that we want to be. And when I say that, I don't mean that we have to be perfect and get it all right, because no matter how hard we try it's not going to happen. I mean that we can repent from sin in our lives and head in the direction of God. And every time we fall, we get back up. And every time we sin, we repent and head back in the right direction. We don't have to stay these fake people. We can turn into real people. Just turn to God for help - He's always there for you.

      Thank you so much for being honest and sharing your thoughts, M. I appreciate it more than you know. <3

      Anna

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  5. So moving. I am astounded that anyone so talented walks this Earth. <3

    Aliah | Indigo Ink

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  6. this is amazing. relatable. and life saving.
    also, anna, i think you're a pretty amazing person.

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    1. Thank you so much, Autumn. <3 That means so much. <3

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  7. This post...Was absolutely AMAZING. I'm SO glad that you realise now what you were doing to yourself. You're God's child, you're loved, and you're very beautiful! Not just on the outside, but in the inside too. Thank you so much for this post, I'm definitely looking forward to more and following your blog :)

    I'm having a Blogger Choice Awards and would LOVE for you to enroll!

    Rukiya XX

    p.s You're very talented in writing and I'm sure in a lot of other things as well :)

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  8. Wow... This is the first post I've read here, and I absolutely love it.

    The writing seems so thoughtful, so effortless, like sheer perfection...

    Thank you. I am actually physically changed now!! ;)

    - Lexie
    www.whatlexieloves.blogspot.com

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  9. So beautiful!!! And so true!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!
    Heidi Anne<3

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  10. Woahhhhh... You really have such a way with words. I was totally drawn in right from the beginning. Loved evey word! <3

    Oh and I wanted to let you know that I tagged you for the 777 challenge (http://apieceofmysky.blogspot.sg/2015/09/the-777-challenge-random-scribblings-6.html). I hope you'll take a look at it and maybe give it a try.

    Keep blogging <3
    ~Ash
    apieceofmysky.blogspot.com

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