“He told me to unblock my ex’s number. At 2 a.m., he messaged me. ‘I know I’m not supposed to be talking to you, but I wanted to reach out to see how you were doing.’

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“I grew up in northwest Indiana and lived there until I was 10. I had a good childhood. I was born and raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ when I was 7 years old. When I was 10, we moved 20 minutes north of Indianapolis. When we moved, I was entering the 5th grade… and this was the start of it all.

During my childhood I grew up with great friends, so coming into the 5th grade in a new town, I had NO idea how to make new friends. I went from being an extrovert to an introvert in school. Every friend I made from 5th-8th grade always ended up bullying me or hurting me in some way, shape or form. I got bullied for my big curly massive hair, my gap in-between my two front teeth and overbite at the time, my race (they would call me ‘beaner’ because I’m Hispanic), and much more. It first started to be verbal bullying, then cyber, and then physical. This was the start of my journey of being confused in my identity, and feeling extremely insecure about who I was.

@arianna.tucker

The school wouldn’t do anything about it so we moved me into a private Christian school thinking it would change those problems. Don’t get me wrong, I was blessed to be in a Christian school for high school, but I did get bullied throughout high school as well. It just compounded on top of what I had already experienced in middle school. Towards the end of my high school years (junior and senior year), boys started to take interest in me. I ‘dated’ or had ‘things’ with a few guys throughout high school, but those always ended. I ended up dating a drug addict in high school and that started a downward spiral of insecurities. I later came to realize there were things the drug addict did to me that I didn’t realize at the time was sexual assault. And I now realize that, that was a huge start to me feeling ashamed of who I am.

@arianna.tucker

As you can imagine, I internalized all these feelings, but FINALLY senior year, I had my first real boyfriend. I was so excited and FOR SURE thought he was a gift from God. At that age we think we know everything. This relationship started off strong, and then when I went off to college, he was still in high school and that created a lot of problems.

The relationship became very unhealthy, toxic, and not pleasing to the Lord and the more I stayed in it, the more insecure I got. And the more I became less and less me, and instead became who he wanted me to be. I left the relationship at the end of my freshman year of college…and I was so lost. I had lost who I was…all for a boy. I felt so insecure, unworthy, and unlovable.

@arianna.tucker

Fast forward to that summer, I fell into a depression and didn’t know how to get out of it. Since I spent my freshman year of college consumed by a relationship, I had no friends from college and wasn’t really in contact with anyone from high school. With that, I became someone who would just lock myself in my room and get lost in my own thoughts, which was by no means a good thing at all. I went into my sophomore year of college a total mess. I did NOT want to go back to learn and I honestly didn’t want to be around anyone. I ended up going into the year in a ‘screw it’ mentality, and the first group of people I made friends with were partiers. I quickly fell into the party scene and that’s where I tried to find my worth. When I would dress up super cute and over the top for parties, people would pay attention to me! More specifically, guys would pay attention to me. This was all so new for me, but I loved the attention… at first. But then everything changed…

@arianna.tucker

You know that one guy you think is your friend that you’re really close to, but then they prove all of that wrong? Yeah, this is where my trust issues started to really develop. One day, this guy I’d known for a couple years hit me up and wanted me to hang out with him. I didn’t think any harm to it at all. The story goes – a guy and a girl get drunk, and oops, they go all the way. But the thing is, I didn’t want that. And for forever, I blamed myself for putting myself in the situation. But that wasn’t true at all. My heart and vulnerability got taken advantage of in that moment, and this was the moment that completely wrecked any security or morals I had left within myself. I felt like I was in someone else’s body. I felt like I was screaming from the inside out but hid it with a smile. I pretended like my life was roses and rainbows when I knew deep down, I was screaming for help.

@arianna.tucker

I knew I was at my lowest when I got invited to a house party one winter night and my drink was drugged. To this day, I don’t know exactly what happened to me – all I know is I was date raped. My way of harming myself and to numb all the pain was allowing myself to go to parties, get drunk or high to forget it all, and not care about my well-being or care about who took advantage of the drunk vulnerable girl because I had already felt so used.

@arianna.tucker

There are, however, a few key points about my sophomore year that really reeled me in and touched my heart: First, I had an amazing friend named Taylor who I am still friends with to this day, who always encouraged me, loved me, took care of me, and accepted my mess when my whole world around me was falling apart. To be honest, I don’t know where I would be without her love and support. Second, God clearly spoke to me one night. I hadn’t heard His voice for a long time. He told me to unblock my ex’s number for some reason. I honestly had no idea why. At 2 a.m. that night, he messaged me and said, ‘I know I’m not supposed to be talking to you, but I wanted to reach out to see how you were doing.’ That morning I woke up and saw this message and for the first time in a long time, I started to bawl my eyes out. Even though the relationship did not end on good terms, I still loved and cared for him as a person. I immediately called him and he updated me on his life which seemed to be going amazingly well. I was fake and lied about how my life was going, but hearing that familiar voice in such an unfamiliar place was such a turning point to me. Still to this day, I don’t know why. Everything happens for a reason and only God knows.

Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year, I had a boyfriend at the time. I broke up with him because he was not good for me and was just a filler boyfriend. I came home from school and no one was home. I was alone in my thoughts, and truly felt useless on this earth. I didn’t believe God loved me and I didn’t believe I had any worth or value. I had tried several nights during college to drink my life away but it didn’t work. So this time, I wanted to give up for good. I went up to my room on the second floor and opened up my window completely. I sat there thinking to myself, ‘If I just jump and end it all, who would even miss me? I have no purpose here anymore. I’m a waste of a human.’ The enemy began to attack my mind so much. I was at the point where I am sure the enemy was controlling me. All of a sudden, I was filled with emotions. I hadn’t felt true emotions in a long time. I started bawling my eyes out and God said, ‘My beautiful daughter, do not do this. I am not done with you! I have great plans for you!’

He reminded me in that moment that He would make beauty from the ashes and that He had amazing plans for me even though in that moment I felt useless. God said He was going to take my mess and turn it into something beautiful. That day, I opened up to my parents about everything I had gone through. My parents started to weep. God had given my mom dreams about everything I had gone through and told her to pray. Every day, she prayed. Ever since that day, it has been a roller coaster of a journey.

@arianna.tucker

God is good and I am finally learning what it means to make Him Lord of my life. I am also learning what it means to truly fall in love with Him and allow Him to be the center of it all. A few years later, not only was I able to speak at the college I went to about my testimony, but I also was able to get baptized in the river by the college. I will always remember those times because it was when I realized God really did do what He promised: He turned the ashes into something beautiful.”

@arianna.tucker
@arianna.tucker

[If you’re thinking of hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Arianna Marie Tucker. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more empowering stories of people overcoming bullying:

‘I know how you’re doing it,’ she whispered, then laughed and walked away. I felt my cheeks burn in embarrassment. How could she know? I was 15 years old and had been caught.’

‘I remember hearing my name. I was caught off guard because it was one the coolest boys in my grade. They came up to me and gave me a hug. The last one handed me a paper bag and said, ‘Man, you smell awful.’

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