The Jocks, The Cheerleaders, The Band Kids & You…

Bullying to everyone means something different. I grew up in a schooling system just like anyone else where there were the cool kids, the nerds, and the popular girls who had boobs, the jocks and the rich kids. There are the cliques of friends, the cool locker area, the more fun “homerooms” and the band kids. I had braces, was awkwardly skinny and I was bad at math.

Anyone could sit down and list all the negative things about growing up and getting through high school, where at the moment you think are the worst and best moments of your life.

Then upon graduating you realize there is a bigger picture to the game we call “Life”..Which I just picked up on maybe a year ago..

But a lot of kids sometimes don’t get through those 4 years like anyone else; they are judged and ridiculed for being whom and what they were meant to be. Being tormented and put down for believing in what they do, saying what they say and engaging in activities that make them happy.

This is something that has always bugged me growing up. I pride myself on the fact that I was friends with everyone in school. No matter what class, what lunch table, what after school activity. No person is better than another based on if they have a letterman jacket or a clarinet.

The bullying I experienced wasn’t as extreme as what I read about in the headlines today, but I hope maybe my words can offer some hope if you or someone you know are going through a tough time.

When I was in high school I was very determined and knew exactly what my plans were for the future so I spent all the free time I had working towards that.

Instead of Friday night football games and parties after, I would be at the studio taking extra ballet classes, and then staying after to re tape the studio floors and wipe down 20 floor to ceiling length mirrors.

Instead of sitting and flirting with the football team during study hall, I would be rushing to get all my homework done knowing I had dance everyday immediately after school till 9pm.

Instead of going to house parties on the weekend I was too busy doing online research of dancers, choreographers and studios in California and New York to study under in the summer. I would have to wake up every morning at 7am for ballet classes and I worked a weekend hosting job at a restaurant to save money to move to California.

All these things at the time were “un-cool” to all my peers. My “friends” were getting mad at me for not partaking in “beer pong Fridays” and “keg stand Saturdays” when in reality REAL friends should understand your drive and support your every move. They would always talk about stories that would happen that passed weekend and I would always feel really left out of the jokes, but I knew it would all pass and I just had to stay focused in getting through that day. If I had let go and given in to the peer pressure I would be at some Ohio Community College studying something I didn’t have a passion for.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t let other peoples’ opinions influence the way you live, because what is happening right now will affect the rest of your life. I am living proof that those dreams you have in high school that you write about in English essays can and will come true if you put your whole heart and mind to making them reality. Take chances, and do not succumb to peer pressure.

But now more than ever I am dealing with bullying and peer pressure here living on my own in Los Angeles. It is SO easy to get caught up in the social scene, hanging with the “cool crowd” and “doing what the cool kids are doing”. People lose track of what they moved out here to do, getting stuck in drugs, partying, and social statuses. I get “bullied” by not going to some club opening and wanting to take dance class to further my career. Or teased about my weight, what I’m wearing, what car I drive, where I live etc.

I got caught up in a moment where I was living to please everyone around me where I became very unhappy. People, mostly dancers were putting me down for jobs I would book because of jealousy. Luckily, one day I realized where this animosity was coming from and how to fix it so it didn’t affect me anymore. I had to find the confidence in myself and remember everything I have done and gone through to get where I am today, not letting anyone strip away from what I have achieved.

Kids from my graduating class will write me on Facebook all the time about how proud they are of me for doing what I have always talked about doing. It’s weird to hear how they look up to me. Being younger I always felt like an outcast for going against the grain, but it has turned out to be the most rewarding thing I could of ever put my time towards.

“Nothing can stand in the face of a person who is self disciplined and possesses willpower.”

For more information on how to help visit The Bully Project!