Be yourself. It’s all that really matters.


I have to tell you, this social media stuff blows my mind.

Have you ever noticed how one person can shout all over social media “The sky is purple” and (s)he gets a thousand followers, but if you say the same thing, you’re ignored or laughed at? What the heck is that all about?  I’ve got a couple of friends who can shout out, “Life is awesome!” and they’ll get 1000 people to comment and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.. However, if I said the same thing, hardly anyone would ever notice.

I don’t get it.  The experts tell you to socialize with others. Do things for others. Be kind and it will come back to you ten fold.

The experts lied.

I talk to people. I mean, I genuinely talk to people. I ask them about themselves, what they love, what they dislike. I talk to them about their pets. We share pics of our pets. I post pictures of books I’m reading. I comment on books they’re reading. I do everything my fellow successful socialites do, and while they continue to get 2k followers a month, I remain at 200 after a year or more.

I’m not exaggerating.

So, what’s the scoop?

My 17-year-old inner Gollum says:

Sometimes, I think he’s right.

Even as a kid, I’ve never been the one to catch the attention of others. You know how some people can walk in a room and everyone gravitates to them? Or someone speaks and everyone listens? Yeah, that’s not me. I was always the speck in the corner that was lost in the shadows of the silk plants. I was and am the one who gets passed over in a conversation. It happened twice this Christmas. I was telling a story and someone else butted in with whatever he wanted to talk about, focusing everyone’s attention on him, and I was left standing there, thinking What the hell? Did this person not see or hear me? The second time, I retreated to the kitchen and washed dishes while blinking back the tears.  The sad thing was, it was my husband who interrupted me twice. And never once did he apologize or even recognize he hurt me. When I told him later he hurt me, he waved me off and said the same thing my mom always said: “You’re being overly sensitive. You need to get over it.”

I shrank further in my shell, and another small part of me died. That’s what happens to someone who has been verbally abused all his or her life.

Remember that old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Yeah, that ‘s a lie. Words do hurt people, and every time a person is beaten down with words, the more that person retracts into a hole where (s)he can’t get hurt. A place where other people can’t come in. A sad, lonely place where tears are frequent and praises are too few to count. A place where self-image is clobbered until there is no self-image left. People like me find socializing a horrible chore. We feel and believe that we have nothing of value to say or any words worth listening to. So, to keep from being hurt, we say nothing at all, or as little as possible. We nod and smile. We make pleasant talk when out with others. We might even take a Xanax to keep the anxiety to a minimum. But to those of us who have been and continues to be verbally abused/ignored, and then told we are being over-sensitive when we expose our feelings, we never learn to Grow up and get over it. We learn to keep our feelings inside because no one cares to hear them.

One of my favorite songs when I was a teenager was At Seventeen by Janis Ian. The words echoed everything I believed about myself.

I can’t tell you how many times I contemplated suicide as a teen. Even tried it once, and grew angry at myself because it was one more thing I failed at. Of course, now that I’m older and have kids of my own, I’m glad I didn’t succeed, but at seventeen, eighteen, all I wanted to do was die so I didn’t have to feel the pain anymore.

Why am I telling you this now on the heals of Christmas and the start of a new year? Because maybe someone who feels the way I did as a teen (and sometimes now as an adult) will find my words, and maybe my experience and words will have some sort of impact. A new year brings new beginnings, and for someone suffering from verbal scars, every day needs to be viewed as a new beginning.

What advice can I give to a teen who is hurting from bullying or verbal abuse?

  1. Seek help if you can from someone you trust. It could be a friend’s parent, a dear friend, a counselor at school, a teacher. Maybe even a certified counselor if you can convince your parent(s) to take you. These feelings are real, they hurt, and they shouldn’t be ignored.
  2. Try to find something about yourself that you love and focus on that. Do you have pretty eyes? A contagious smile? Are you an artist? Do you like to write? Focus on those things that are wonderful and  unique to you and immerse yourself in those things. It helps to push the negativity away and develop some self-esteem.
  3. Create a mantra and say it to yourself every day. Put notes around your room, inside your books, on your mirror, notes that will remind you of how wonderful you are when you think no one else can see it.
  4. Be yourself, no matter what. I know how much you want to fit in and be like others, but if you have to be something you’re not so you can “fit in”, then that’s not the crowd you want to be a part of . Find those who love you for you. They are out there. They are who you need to be around.
  5. If you are a teen and suicide seems to be the only way out, please contact any of the following:

Teen Line

Teen Suicide/Youth Suicide 

Teen Health and Wellness Hotline

If you are an adult, please call:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Take it from someone who has been there, suicide is not the answer. There is a beautiful, new world waiting for you, a world that is willing to embrace you. Life is not as bad as it seems. You also don’t have to go through the pain alone. There is help out there.  Never give up. You do matter to someone, even if you don’t think you do. And try to remember, you may be like me. You may never be the one who gets all the dates, or the accolades or even all the raises and praises at work. Sometimes, it may feel like the entire world is against you. You may not be Mr. or Miss Popular, you  may never be GQ handsome or Vogue beautiful, but you are you, and that is something no one else can be. Take pride in your individuality. Hold your head high and face the new year with hope. There is always hope, even beneath the darkest cloud.  Life may not be perfect, but it is a wonderful adventure.

Trust me, if I can get through the dark days, so can you.  All you have to do is believe.

 

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13 thoughts on “Be yourself. It’s all that really matters.

  1. Social media is a beast & I think it’s all up to luck & timing. But I have found in all areas of life that confidence is key, and I was a teen who tried suicide twice. The way I’ve built confidence since I turned 18 is through a relationship with God. In my life, I know that the stronger I get in my faith, the more confident I become as a person. That’s just the way it works when you remember you are a dearly loved child of the most high Father 🙂 Happy*New*Year, friend. ❤

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  2. I can totally relate to that part about not being noticed, and being talked over, that’s always been me too – the other way it manifests itself that I always find hurtful is that people forget I was somewhere, they’ll talk about an event or something they went to and say “Bob, Lucy, Margaret and me went to X”, and they’ll totally forget that I was went too. Often the most popular people who get loads of attention aren’t necessarily the kindest people, but they just have something that attracts people, I’m sure confidence is a big part of that.

    Thankfully I’ve never gone into real depression, or suicidal thoughts, but great that you’ve posted this, and revealed your personal struggles, if it helps one person to seek help then you’ve achieved a great thing.

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  3. “Take it from someone who has been there, suicide is not the answer. There is a beautiful, new world waiting for you, a world that is willing to embrace you. Life is not as bad as it seems. You also don’t have to go through the pain alone. There is help out there. Never give up. You do matter to someone, even if you don’t think you do”

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    Love you, Sweetie. And be ready, because things are about to change in about seven months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I know. I guess I better be careful about what I wish for, right? 🙂 So need to finish books 2 and 3 before then. Oh, and by the way, I’m thankful for you, my dear friend. You’re an amazing person with so much love inside. Thank you for being there for me so many times when I didn’t think I could make it through. I felt your prayers and your virtual kick in the butt!! 🙂

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  4. Hugs, Jenny. Your blog always seems thriving to me. You always have lots of new releases to advertise for others. I wish I had that. All I do is list links for people to follow and now I’m into book reviews. It’s taken me forever to get an A-list author on a blog tour on my site and yet, I hardly ever get comments. I have some new plans for the new year, hoping they’ll work out. I’ve never been particularly social either. My high school years were hell. I remember crying because so few came to my graduation but I missed the important part: the ones who cared were there. I wouldn’t trade them for a boatload of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, Traci, I love your blog. I love finding new bloggers and authors and you have the most concise list around. I look forward to the new changes in the New Year and will do what I can to draw people to your site. Thank you for being such a loyal and faithful follower for so many years!! ((((Hugs)))) to you, too.

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  5. I am thankful you are who you are, Jenny. I completely don’t get the social media thing, either, and my suicidal days were postpartum and caused by depression, which I refused to take meds for until after a year of suffering and trying all the “natural” methods for boosting serotonin because people told me I was just weak, and needed to get closer to God.
    Yeah, people who say hurtful things without an extended hand to help you rise above it? They aren’t your friends. I’m sorry that we all have family that fall into that category.
    A new year is coming. Maybe we’ll be “discovered” on social media – or not. But I’m so glad we discovered each other 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon, I’m so glad we’ve ‘met’. You do wonders for my soul and I see wonderful things happening for you in the New Year.

      I feel for you and your postpartum depression. I didn’t go through that, but I’ve had close friends who did and it is horrible. People just don’t understand what depression does to people. Sadly, too many young people are taking their lives because of it, and somehow we need to reach these kids before its too late. Even adults can slip into clinical depression, and without the proper care, will waste away. It happened to my best and dearest friend. We feel so helpless watching from the outside. We offer what we can, but many times, it’s not enough.

      Thank you for being there for me. I’m so happy you are in my life. Hugs, my dear. You are special to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are very brave to reveal so much! Our 17-year-old daughter was brave enough to tell us her truth late last summer, and it’s made a huge difference that we could help her connect with services.

    The only think I would add is, teens who are hurting may not need a parent to seek therapy. State laws vary, but in Washington State a youth 13 or older can refuse treatment, which implies they could also register for treatment.

    Of course, it’s better if parents or other family members can support depressed teens, but sometimes that isn’t possible. An adult mentor such as a school counselor might be able to guide them through the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad your daughter came to you. That was very brave of her, and I’m so happy to hear she trusts you and can come to you with whatever bothers her. This sort of depression and sadness in teens is heartbreaking. So many people don’t realize just how real it is. Bless you and your family for taking the steps toward healing. Big hugs to all of you for being strong and brave. May love grace your home and hearts forever.

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