Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 26: Think Before You Hate

I just watched Demi Lovato's recent 20/20 interview. I don't know what I was expecting, but right now my heart is just overflowing with love for this girl.

I KNOW, I KNOW. I'm so cheesy it hurts. But it's true. She's been through so much, and she's so strong. I'm just in awe.

She mentioned that all of her issues started when she was bullied in school. I can relate. School kids are brutal. I was really smart, so the cool kids wouldn't talk to me. They made fun of me for getting A's. I've battled allergies and sinus problems my whole life, and I would cough and sneeze in class all the time. Brock Bogan, the jackass who sat next to me in 5th grade, would imitate me every single time I coughed. And some other asshole, whose name I can't even remember, would tease me every single morning as I walked into school. Why? Because he thought my last name was funny.

It's amazing how long these little things stick with you. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was truly devastated. I can vividly remember failing spelling tests on purpose because I wanted to fit in. I felt like an outcast because I was the only one at my table who could spell words correctly. And can you imagine being ruthlessly tormented because of your name? Something you have absolutely no control over. I don't know how I found the strength to walk in those doors every day. I'm really surprised that I turned out as well as I did. I could've easily gone off the deep end.

I guess what kept me going was my ability to stand up for myself. My mom always made sure I knew to tell an adult if anyone was picking on me. So I did. When Brock Bogan (who is probably in jail now) was being so mean to me that I couldn't concentrate in class, I asked my teacher to move me away from him. When what's-his-name made fun of my name every single morning, sure, it made me not want to go to school. But one morning, as I ran past him with my fingers in my ears, I accidentally smacked him in the head with my clarinet. He didn't bother me after that.

Granted, violence is never the answer. But sometimes accidental violence is helpful.

Today I find that even on a stage as small as YouTube there's pressure to be perfect. Random strangers tell me I'm fat and ugly all the time. But I don't let it get to me because I know they're wrong. I guess I'm just lucky that I've always had pretty good self-esteem. I've battled mild depression off and on for years, but it's never controlled my life. Had I grown up in front of the entire world, however, I might not have been so lucky.

Moral of the story, kids: You never know what demons people are secretly battling every day. It takes at least 50 compliments to cancel out one mean comment. Remember that before you tell someone she's fat.

In conclusion, Demi is still, and always will be, my hero and my #1 girl crush. The end.

Days Without Meat: 24

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