I started out as a pretty popular girl in elementary school, and even aside from my bratty snottiude, I was liked by peers and teachers. But, in 5th grade I had to move to a new school, and everything changed.

I was The New Girl – the kid tag for Instant Loser. I was able to gain a few close girl-type friends (one who I am still very close with today – right, Bin?!), but my popularity never caught on like it had in years previous. I was not well-liked anymore at all. I remember one day in particular when I was surrounded by about six boys while I was eating my snack by the tetherball court, and one of them said, “you’re weird, and we don’t like you!”, and they all walked away laughing.

I didn’t even know what that meant, but I knew that it hurt.

I struggled to get through the next three years before I was able to escape into high school where I thought that it would all end once I could become anonymous. I was wrong. I was bullied and harassed, hated and tormented… I loathed almost every day of school. I began to numb myself out before leaving the house each morning, and being selectively deaf with the help of alcohol certainly helped me at the time. But man, did it ever lead to a whole mess of other life-long issues!

Anyway… I’ve been hearing a lot about this campaign IT GETS BETTER, and although I am not a part of the LGBT community, I sure as hell support them and this campaign (that was initiated by one of the more vocal members)!  I had my own issues with bullying, and a big part of that was being taunted about being gay. I’m not gay. But we all know that ineptitude and lack of creativity go hand-in-hand when it comes to bullying. Idiots.

I don’t know what it was about me that people chose to hate. I don’t know why it was me that they targeted. I don’t know why it hurt me so goddamn much when I really didn’t care a rat’s fig about any of the troglodytes that were pushing me down stairs, and ripping the door off my locker.

What I do know is this: it gets better.

I survived high school, and was scarred by the slaps for many, many years. In fact, I’ll be honest with you, I *still* hurt sometimes, but not like before. Now it’s more of an echo than a stab. But here I am.

I went to college, got a scholarship, went to university, got my degree… fell in love, got married, got divorced, had adventures… I’ve had dogs and friends and a lot of great nights, I’ve eaten brie in Paris, had granola in Australia, and skinny dipped in the Ionian sea. I’ve had houses and homes, walked a thousand miles over a few continents, and gained enough reward miles to buy the best person I know the best gift I could give them.

I have fallen in love. Truly now, for real. It doesn’t get any better than this, and I sure as hell glad that I’m here to experience it. And I’ll tell you one thing for certain – there is nothing better for blocking out an ancient echo, like the sound of your own laughter in the heart of the present.

I’m no celebrity. I’m no one, really… but I know that I’ve been where I never want anyone else to have to be. I’m not there anymore, and I didn’t even have to try to leave that place. All I had to do was live. And so do you.

It gets better.