As a teenager I was bullied in high school. It was really awful at times. I used to feel terror before walking home from school everyday and my art teacher would often give me a car ride.
I never told anyone about the bullying but I guess she suspected something, hence why she would offer to drive me the few blocks home (and out of her way).
At one point, a close friend at school was beaten up so badly he soiled himself. The fear of similar acts felt very real.
I refused to let bullying define who I was and somehow my tormenters were never able take away my belief in my own self worth.
My family believed that I had artistic talent. I held onto that and I could hold it above my tormenters. My art teachers bolstered that belief in myself and I eventually left home to attend an art college, Pratt Institute, in The Big Apple.
That was a leap of faith and I’m so glad I took it. Everyday for the last 15+ years I’ve been making my art on my own terms and I’m loving the process of creating more and more each day.
In life we will always cross paths with bullies, even as adults. But, I know who I am and I am not afraid. If anything, my wife wishes I would tone down the confidence! Ha! (For the record, she’s the absolute best.)
As an adult I don’t often think about the bullying I experienced. I don’t even remember the names of those kids anymore, but back then they truly made me miserable. As much as I hate to admit it, those awful experiences shaped who I am today. It made me stronger, braver and more self assured because I found a way to survive.
My experience inspired me to make this short animation. I thank you for taking the time to watch and for reading my story. Please feel free to share with others who might benefit. And, if you are being bullied it will get better. Trust me. It will.