Bullying

‘I was called ‘gay’ before I even knew what it meant. I have to be a strong papa to my girls. I can’t let them see I’m hurting.’ Gay father from deep south says he’s just like ‘any other family’, finds confidence after years of bullying

“My cousin called my mom screaming when she found out. ‘How can you be happy for him?!’ In public, we get looked at A LOT. It doesn’t matter if we’re at Olive Garden or Home Depot. It’s hard to turn a blind eye to the glares. As much as I wish I wasn’t bothered by my past, it comes bubbling back up. There’s something that happens to one’s confidence when they grow up in an environment like mine.”

‘I’d kill myself if I looked like you.’ Everywhere I went, I was the center of attention. I accepted that dying wouldn’t be such a bad thing.’ Man with venous malformation birthmark finds ‘happiness and confidence’

“My birthmark grew bigger and bigger. I got used to others pointing me out, whispering, laughing. Throughout my teenage tears, I avoided public places, family events. Any situation that involved people. I always put on a brave face, but in the background my confidence was constantly taking a hit. I couldn’t bring myself to face the world.”

‘I can do this, right?’ I scanned the faces around me, absolutely mortified. ‘Of course. Just take your shirt off!’ Peopled waved, said hello. Where were the looks of disgust?!’ Mom embraces plus-size beach body to set example for daughter

“I spent years trying to sabotage my marriage in hopes he’d leave me for someone skinny. Day after day, I’d tell myself how nasty, disgusting, fat I was. I had no idea my gorgeous daughter was listening. She started saying how fat she was. How ugly. I was HORRIFIED. I knew I needed to make a change.”

‘Her hair loss isn’t from stress.’ The pleasant chit-chat stopped. ‘There’s no cure for this.’: Little girl diagnosed with Alopecia starts head scarf company to ‘help all of the bald kids’

“We noticed a handful of brown curls on Rosie’s pillow. ‘Maybe she’s stressed about the new baby?’ The next morning, even more curls. ‘Maybe she’s allergic to her shampoo?’ Monday came and the last of her hair fell out. Our pediatrician assured us it was stress. It wasn’t. Our hope that this would be a temporary condition, even a funny story someday, slowly faded. Instead, we had to get used to the unkind stares and finger-pointing.”

‘I had to wear a wig on my wedding day. ‘What’s going on?!’ my mom asked. ‘I don’t know,’ I lied. It was my dirty little secret. I was a prisoner of my own body, and I put myself there.’

“I had anxiety about what people would say to my son about my hair. Would he be teased because of me? I just couldn’t do that to him. I bought a wig and started an 18-year game of hide-my-hair. I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. Each day, I hoped no one caught me.”

‘My principal told me, ‘Some kids just like to be bullied.’ She stared squarely at my parents. ‘Unless it involves blood, don’t call me.’ I felt so alone.’

“All of my materials were stolen and vandalized. I would barter with my bullies. ‘If you’ll be nice to me for one lunch hour or recess, I’ll give you my lunch.’ I literally gave them everything I had, but everything wasn’t enough. There wasn’t a single morning I didn’t beg my mother to not make me go.”

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