Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Feature, Friday Friends, Follow Friday

Call it what you want, but one of my favorite things about Friday (and there are SO many things to love about Friday!) is the #FF trend on Twitter. I love seeing who my friends love. I love interacting with amazing women (and men) about all of the things that I love.

God has encouraged me greatly through the sweet friends I have made online.

I have always struggled making friends. I have always been different in one way or another and that always sets me in a place where I'm apart, my difference is known.

Throughout my life I have been bullied. Not the physical kind, but the psychological, social kind. It started in elementary school when I moved to a new school. The "cool" girl at school hosted a sleepover and they picked on me there because I had boobs and no one else did. Boy, did I hate those things. Then on Monday at school she brought a pair of purple underwear, put them in the middle of the lunch table, and said, "Amber, you forgot these." They weren't mine and I knew that, so I denied owning them. She then admitted to taking them out of my backpack at the sleepover so she knew they were mine. If I knew then what I know now I would have put her on blast for stealing from me, but I was just mortified. And I went home and cried to my mom, that has always helped.

In middle school I found a new group of friends, one being my neighbor girl, and others at soccer. This really helped. The middle school years were more (not completely) drama-free. It was just awkward because of the time of life where your body is changing, your learning all the routine of hygiene and beauty, and you're just starting to notice the opposite sex.

High school brought an onslaught of mean girl attention. My family adopted our beautiful Baby Bear who transformed our sweet home into a cozy, lively, love-filled house! My love for my family, although strong to up to that point, was a whole different thing after Baby Bear. At the same time my best friend and I started to grow interest in one another... He wasn't white and in a high school where racial tensions were high, we began to receive lots of flack from peers. My senior year two of the popular cheerleaders decided to make me the butt of their jokes in the cheer locker room. A close friend on cheer told me what happened and I was beside myself. The girls made fun of Baby Bear (something I just couldn't stand for), for my relationship with a boy of a different race, and for the way that I truly love my family. While I realized that it reflected on the girls, I was really hurt by their words and the aspects of my life they chose to attack.

College didn't free me completely from bullying. The girls in my dorm didn't understand why I was going to college only so that I could work for a couple of years before I started having kids and would stay at home with them. They thought I was insane... In fact, some of my close friends now think I'm crazy, but are respectful instead of mean. My sophomore year, two of my roommates always stole food from me (which is such a big deal in college, of course!) after they would smoke weed in our on campus apartment. I spoke to them several times about it, but they continued to do it ignoring any conversation we had and adding slamming doors and defacing my door decor... I was beyond frustrated and needed a way to escape their rude behavior. Thankfully I had sorority sisters to help defuse all of my frustrations.

Then I got into blogging. Oh my, what a release. But, just months after I started, the cyber bullying began. I received emails from friends saying they didn't like what I was writing (which is entirely allowed, however, the emails also held lots of personal attacks)... In all of this, I shut down two blogs and started up this one, free from where others could find it. And thankfully, I have been free from any bullying that could rear its ugly head in my life again.

Why does this happen? Why are girls encouraged to be mean to one another instead of loving and supportive? How do girls that have been bullied change this course over time?

I remember as a child saying:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." 
Unfortunately, this is not so much the truth. In fact, words can be so hurtful. It's rather simple to heal from the physical wounds that comes from the scratches that sticks and stones create, but the words can resonate forever. The mean words can truly remain within one forever. It's funny how pictures or a sweatshirt I still have or hearing a phrase can take me back to that place of hurt and frustration.

Some days I wish I could tell those bullies how hurtful their words were, how long their mean "jokes" linger in the lives of their subjects, how it can be no big deal for them, but a big, big deal for me.

I'm so thankful for the support, friendship, and love from my sweet new friends who have been nothing but nice. Although I'm not always get at replying or saying thank you, my heart is truly encouraged. I hope I can provide little bits of sweetness in the comments and tweets that I share with others, just as it has been done for me.

Thank you my dear friends! You truly are amazing!


Amber said... Best Blogger Tips

Sweet Amber, I am so sorry you have been a victim to such bullying your whole life (which I SO don't understand, you're one of the sweetest people that I've never met! ;)) You have the sweetest heart! And I'm so glad that blogging has made us friends. :) Keep your chin up doll!

Ashley Slater said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so with you about the making friends.... I have had a hard time with that. There are some incredible women in the blog world!

Love that I found your blog, looking forward to following you!


Blair said... Best Blogger Tips

If anyone tries to be mean to you in this space, I will beat them down.

oh. wait. that's probably not what I'm supposed to say.

oops ;)

Lindsay said... Best Blogger Tips

love you, girl!!! so sorry to hear about everything you went to. just remember that you're better off without people who are mean and you're a stronger person because of what you went through. the blogging community is a great support system! so glad you found them. always remember how beautiful you are. have a great day! you deserve it :)

meghan said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so sorry to read all of this. I can't believe that all of this happened, and it makes me sad. I hate so much for you that people have always treated you like this, and I understand some of it because I've had it happen at times in the past. I'm so glad that you feel happy in your new blog. You're so wonderful and should really know how special you are! I'm really enjoying getting to know you and keeping up with you!

Zoe said... Best Blogger Tips

I've never understood why people feel the need to tear others down. It is great to see that you haven't let others change who you are and have surrounded yourself with people who love you :)

Cailin said... Best Blogger Tips

I really identified with your post. My Best Friend and I just had a falling out due to her new lifestyle choices. I'm glad to read I'm not alone in my thinking and so happy we have become friends :)