I remember stepping into the sixth grade at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School one morning and learning that people could be cruel. My teacher had stepped out for a few moments to speak to Sister Mary who collected the attendance sheets every morning like clockwork and she decided to put me in charge of the class, not realizing this was the beginning of many horrors.

As soon as Mrs. Coterie left the room, all my classmates got up and rushed towards me. I was overwhelmed by the cruel intentions of questions and teases that were brought upon me. “Why does your hair look like that?”
“Why are you so dark?”
“Why does the teacher, always, pick you every time?” questioned a few of the mean girls from school as the remainder of the students chanted “teacher’s pet” loudly.
In that moment, I knew that you could be hurt and betrayed by people that you thought were friends.

I couldn’t understand why those kids were constantly bullying me and it haunted me, ferociously in school and as the years went by. I couldn’t help the emotions of being left out and ostracized. This treatment had a huge effect on me, to where, I had many thoughts, thinking something was wrong with me or I just wasn’t good enough to do anything.

The bullying over the years became more aggressive. For example, I was changing in the locker room for track and field practice and overheard some girls on the other side of the locker room, saying, “…Listen, we’ll befriend Juelz (me) and drug her at my homecoming party and that’ll teach her not speak to Brandon”, hissed a familiar voice.

The messed-up part of my whole experience was, I became an insecure and fearful adult behind these experiences, not knowing how to deal with those bottled-up issues and becoming antisocial which was pretty absurd as I look back. It took me many years to realize that you can never stop people who want to project negativity; you can only control how you deal with that negativity.

I didn’t realize how much bullying would prepare me in life because life is full of lessons. It prepared me to be able to handle rejection and how to make the right decisions throughout life.

Once I stepped in the real world to start my career, of being author which is the industry of rejection; I entered this brand-new world where I was constantly told that, I wouldn’t make it because I was a woman or a person of color. This hurt me bone deep. Not only was I getting rejected by the industry world, I was getting rejected by friends and family for following my dream.

I was constantly being antagonized by people for not following a professional career and following a ‘hobby’, supposedly. It was to the point where I started to second-guess myself and that had to do with all the naysayers and the projected negativity from the past and the present.

It took me a lot to get rooted because I knew deep down in my heart, I wanted to be an author and I was going to pursue my dream, whether it was the last thing, I decided to do.
I wanted to succeed, so I removed all the naysayers. I started to exercise and meditate to get my confidence back up, in order to be able to move forward with my career.

These strategies helped paved the way for me to become stronger to be able to move through life and to not fall into other people’s traps or what they expected of me. If it wasn’t for those struggling experiences, I wouldn’t be, who I am today, an inspiring author.

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