It does get better.
Some months ago I found an incredible project called “It gets better”.
It was created to support young people who face daily tormenting and bullying, particularly LGBT young people. The project aims to show them that there’s a life waiting for them outside high school, they just need to get through their teen years and it will start getting better.
When I read the book I cried many times. I related to many of these stories, although I am not gay. High school was without a doubt one of the hardest periods of my life, especially the first year.
I transitioned from the 9th grade, where we were only 28 students and all of us were friends, to a giant high school where I didn’t know many people.
The few friends that came from the same middle school stopped talking to me in our new school, which made incredibly sad.
On top of that I started being bullied and ostracized for being a geek.
I didn’t understand the sudden change.
I always liked school and getting good grades, and until then it was usually perceived as a good thing. But in high school everything changed, it felt like having good grades and liking school made you weird and a target of many mean comments and attitudes.
Even people in my family started talking to my mom about my “problem”— I was not being a “normal” teenager, because teenagers need to party and not to care too much about school.
My parents and I had many talks during that period. They asked me if I was feeling pressured to get good grades, if I felt that I needed to be a good student to make them happy— But all I could say was that I liked school, that I had always liked school and that I was good at it.
However, at 16, things started to get to me after a while. The mean comments increased, the gossip around me and the rejection started to feel heavier. I wanted to quit that school.
I wanted to go to a different school and forget about those people who were hurting me, both the new and the old faces.
I just wanted to focus on my reading, my books, my numbers. The more they attacked me the more I liked being alone with my music and my own thoughts to get me through it.
After the first year ended, I told my parents I wanted to change schools, but they both agreed that I should give it another semester before I could do that.
My second year got better, I found few, but good peers that made it all better. And although my self esteem got a little bruised, I graduated high school and moved on.
That experience definitely helped me shaping the person I am today. I learned that people will always find something they don’t like about you, but we’re not here to please people.
Maybe it’s because you’re gay, or because you’re a geek, or a nerd, or are overweight or not “attractive”— The list of things that people think are “wrong” with others could be endless.
But the only person you really need to be ok with is yourself. You need to love the person you are because that’s the only person you can’t get rid of.
Days in high school can be tough. It’s already difficult to try to figure out what’s going on with you, and your new mind, your new body. And then you add some extra kids whose only job would appear to be making you miserable.
Don’t let them— I can tell you: IT DOES GET BETTER.
If you’re a kid experiencing bullying, in whatever form, for whatever reason, please hold on to life. Hold on to whatever makes you happy, don’t ever think there’s no way out of it, or that it will always be like that.
Be kind to yourself, read a lot, listen to music, talk to someone you trust ( a teacher, a parent, a friend, a help line), work out, focus on what’s important to you.
There are many wonderful things in this world and great people to share them with, it might just take some time.