I was a victim of bullying. I don't remember when it all started, but I do recall that it lasted until I was 16 years old.

Writing this article to me almost feels like self-harm; however, I want to share my story because the importance of body positivity is underestimated.

As a child I was different and this is probably one of the reasons why the bullying started. To be honest, I don't recall a specific reason why I was being bullied; however, I do remember that my insecurities started when I was a freshman in high school.

As a freshman, I hated wearing tight clothing and I ‘demanded’ my mother to purchase clothing in a bigger size. I did not want to wear jeans because I was afraid of love handles. I hated wearing lip gloss because I felt that having plump lips was not beautiful. More importantly, I wanted to prevent any kind of attention. Around the age of 13 years old, I had difficulties looking up and I started to feel uncomfortable when passing groups of youngsters because I was afraid that they would throw painful words at me. This is what bullying does: it drains your self-confidence, it makes you avoid situations as your body begs you to prevent receiving any harmful acts. To summarize, bullying makes the victim lose every single day and this is exhausting. It makes the sufferer doubt his/her self-worth and this is self-destructive. Bullying not only affects the victim but also their loved ones.

Photo Courtesy of @whitneyfromtheblog

Whenever someone commented on any of my features, I blamed myself, rather than blaming their impoliteness. Instead of refusing to give them the attention they sought for, I gave them a treasure by showing grief, pain, and anger. Most importantly, I did not realize that the opinion of others is valued less than a dime, as long I continued to embrace myself. When I was 16 years old, I started my journey to self- love, and embracement.

Even though the bullies left my life, the scars remained. They may have healed, but they never disappeared. It took years for me to look at someone straight in the face. It also took years for me to regain my self-confidence. I am still nervous when passing a group of youngsters and I do not trust people easily.

Currently, I appreciate the dark spots on my face, which is the residue of my acne. I love the thickness of my lips and I accentuate this pride by rocking bold lipstick colors. I am no longer insecure about my height. I dare to wear high heels in order to emphasize my long legs. Regardless of being called flat chested as a teenager, I do not care about the current size of my breasts. Not to forget, I appreciate the curve in my back, caused by my scoliosis.

I view my flaws as my own unique beauty features and I am aware that these do not define my personality.

If you have been bullied or are being bullied, please check out these resources with NoBullying. You are not alone, and we are here for you.

For more on how #NCCelebratesBodyPositivity, see Lauren's story on why she takes selfies for self-love.