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Self Hate to Self Love

Kimberly London

I believe everyone has a story, but I was once a girl who thought my story would never even matter. Why? Because, I was the "weird" girl no one ever understood. I was the overly nice girl that everyone took advantage of. I was continuously bullied and mistreated by other students on a daily basis. It was the most horrific time I could have ever experienced as a child. It all started in the fifth grade. I literately thought I did not have a purpose in life. I thought of myself as invisible. I honestly did not want to exist anymore. I felt victimized for being myself, but then again, I felt as if I committed a crime for being myself because everyone around me seemed so unsatisfied with my presence.

During this time of my life, I had personal issues at home that made me feel bad enough. When I went to school, other kids would make fun of the clothes I wore because they were not name-brand, or I would repeatedly wear the same clothes over and over again. The fact that I didn't have upscale clothes like everyone else did not faze me at all, but the fact that other people seemed to recognize me only by my clothes, tore me to pieces. But all in all, I never ever chose to retaliate. Instead I was taught by my mom to humble myself and love people anyway. Besides, I am not perfect and never have been, but I have always had a very sincere heart towards other people and I believe everyone reaps what they sow, good and bad.

Fast forward to middle school, I thought maybe now my life would be a bit of a breeze. I thought being in a completely different environment would inspire me to think more positively of myself. Just as I thought I would finally escape the cruel people I met in fifth grade, I met even more. In the seventh grade, for the first time, I had suicidal thoughts. I had enough of people bothering me. I had enough of the humiliation. I was too weak to defend myself and my confidence was extremely low. I remember secretly harming myself with sharp items at home. I was way too afraid to kill myself, so I gave myself a punishment. I thought harming myself would make everyone else happy. I mean, all people ever did was hurt me. I thought maybe I wasn't created to feel happiness.

It felt like no one understood me. The only person I could turn to was my mother, and ultimately, God. I remember the times I had to make up lies to tell my teachers about why I had scars on my arm. I remember the time my mother finally noticed what I did to myself after hiding my scars for so long. I could only imagine how she felt. I felt even more disappointed that my own mother had to see dried blood and scars on my skin that I inflicted upon myself. My mother was strong though. I am sure she has shed tears behind closed doors, but for me, she was very uplifting. She told me to look at myself in the mirror that day and say "I am beautiful. I am bold. I am different, and that's okay!" From that moment on, I kept those statements in my head every day, especially "I am different, and that's okay!" My mom was my assurance that being different from other people wasn't such a bad thing.

In the beginning of my ninth grade year, I was very shy and timid. I was still extremely nice, as usual. I had the privilege to work in the attendance office as an assistant helper for the secretaries. There I met a very beautiful, kind-hearted woman named Mrs. Boyd. After a month went by, one day, she approached me about her non-profit organization, Divine U. She told me she would be delighted for me to join. She explained to me that I carried myself well as a young lady and that I have great qualities about myself, but she also noticed how shy I was, too. She described me as a turtle, always stuck in my shell when I was around other people. She told me that she wanted me to be powerful and assertive with my life. I really did not understand why she walked into my life. I did not understand why a stranger seemed to care about my well-being. But something about her was very special and I was positive that she would serve a great purpose in my life.

Mrs. Boyd is a true inspiration. She is caring and giving, and does everything with a passion. I had no friends growing up. Mrs. Boyd is the best friend I have ever had. Most of all, the relationship we have built goes beyond friendship and mentorship. I consider her family. We are not blood related, but family is not always defined by blood, but by loyalty, respect, and genuine love. She has most definitely gained my respect, trust, and love.

I remember having break downs at school. Mrs. Boyd would not dare treat me like a baby. She showed me tough love and how to grow tough meat on my skin. She has always taught me the realities of life, whether I liked it or not. She exposed me to new things so that I could break out of my "shell". I've shared my life story with her numerous times. She knows about my humiliation as a young child, my suicidal thoughts, and vulnerability, yet she continued to build me up and encourage me.

Because of her, I am more confident. I used to think I didn't belong in this world. I felt like I did not fit in anywhere, but Divine U is where I am accepted, and that is where I learned to accept myself.

One of the most important life lessons I have learned in Divine U is to give back to my community. I had the opportunity to witness many circumstances of other people. I realized that there are people in the world that are struggling ten times worse than I ever have, but the fact that I can be a blessing to other people makes me ecstatic. Each time I participated in any community service event, I began to find my divine purpose in life. I finally understood why God put me on earth. God created me to help other people.

My purpose in life ties into the passion I have for motivational speaking, and someday I plan to speak internationally. It is my dream to inspire millions of people. I want to be the voice some children do not have, perhaps, the voice I wish I had when I was a child. I am proud to say that I can look at myself in the mirror today and love who I am. I love every single flaw and I accept myself for who I am without anyone else's validation. I validate my own life. I will continue to live my life fearlessly and strive to be the change in this world that I wish to see. All of the courage I have today was always there in the past. I could not find that courage then because I did not love myself. But today, I can say that I am alive, I love myself, and being different is a blessing.