It Does Get Better After High School, Sometimes You Just Have To Go Back To See How Far You’ve Come

Elena Montemurro
Elena Montemurro

Yesterday was our 10 year high school reunion. None of us were really enthusiastic about going, it was more of an “I’ll go if you go” type thing. And when the day came, we went…

Honestly, what I remember about high school, besides the close friendships I made with four girls I am still good friends with to this day, was being tormented and picked on for my appearance. This happened all throughout my grade school years, from kindergarten up until senior year. You see, I was cursed with being very overweight, and in the town I grew up in, this was the most horrendous thing a kid could be.

Apparently, it didn’t matter what your personality was like, it was what you looked like. Day after day I would be picked on for my appearance, and little by little it broke me down. What made my appearance even worse for ware was that I have a twin sister who is the complete opposite of me. She is smart, and athletic, and what the kids considered “normal” weight. We are as close as two sisters could be, but I was always envious that she got to be the “better” one.

So, when I became broken down enough early on in my middle school career, I began acting out in my classes. You see, I thought that if I created enough outbursts it would make it seem like I didn’t care what the kids said or thought. My twin always said everyone remembers her because of me, and that is because I acted out to make it seem like I didn’t really give a shit. (I have learned later in life that this was actually the complete opposite, but that is for a different essay.) This acting out lasted up until my freshman and sophomore years of high school. It became the worst it ever was that year. Then suddenly sophomore year, I was granted my long time wish of getting Gastric Bypass surgery. That was the miracle that saved me. You see, after the weight started coming off, the kids started being nicer to me. It was RIDICULOUS! I was the same person, but because I was becoming skinnier the attacks on my appearance began to decrease as well. I remember this making me even more upset that these kids were so focused on appearance that that was why they were nice.

What these kids never knew was the amount of times I would go home and cry myself to sleep. The extreme depression I had thrust upon me because of my feelings of inadequacy, the many times I wanted to kill myself because I thought it was better than having to be picked on every day. The fear I felt going out in public. The fear I had of males for years because that was mostly who picked on me. They were the reason I couldn’t hear a compliment and take it seriously. They didn’t know that I had gone so far as to plan how I was going to kill myself, and one horrible day I actually wrote a suicide note. These kids never knew the effect they had on me, and they probably still don’t.

So, of course the last 2 years of high school after my surgery were far better than the first 2, but those were the worst years of my life overall…

And, the other day, I faced my anxiety of potentially seeing people who made my life miserable with a few shots of liquid courage, and realized a very important lesson…sometimes you have to go back to move forward.

In the 10 years since high school I have come to realize there is so much more to life than those horrible years, and yesterday I was able to realize that the demon I thought was high school actually made me such a better person today. High school broke me down, but it also made me able to build MYSELF back up. I was able to give myself more confidence because I knew what it was like to hit rock bottom.

I went to college; I joined a sorority, graduated Cum Laude, and got a job right out of college. I did all these things with a small support system of close friends and family, but I basically did them on my own. All these things I never thought I could do because children made me feel like I was a nothing, I DID THEM!

I now know that I am beautiful on the inside and the outside. I have had so many great life experiences and met so many great people in my professional career. I have regained my ability to listen to a compliment and take it seriously. I am not afraid of men as much as I used to be. I am a completely different person, and these kids never got to know the amazing person I am. I am in the best mental state I have been in ever, and thank a higher power every day that I did not kill myself.

It took going back, and facing my fears and demons to make me realize all these things. I can finally move forward! Thank you for the freedom! TC mark

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