I may only be 24 years old, but I have had my fair share of experiences just like any other person. Like many other people, I grew up in a small town. It was bigger than a village but smaller than a city, populated by 2100 people, having increased since then. My childhood was great, I didnt really begin to experience anything until I made it to Jr. high school. For me it was very difficult. Growing up where I did, it was very hard to find a place where you felt like you could fit in. Most of my classmates parents made a lot of money, allowing them to have pretty much anything a young kid in school would want. High end school supplies, high end clothes. These were all the same kids who got good grades and took part in football, track, cheerleading, you name it. I was an outcast from the start. My parents weren't rich like their parents, but how much money my parents had never really bothered me. Money and items dont make you who you are. On top of not having a place to fit in, I never had that many friends. There was a small group of us, but it wasnt anything huge. This was a group of friends that I loved very much. We didnt care whose parents had more money, who had the better house or stuff like that. This group of friends only cared about the important stuff. It was a place to fit in. For a long time, it didnt really seem to bother me. Then I discovered my feelings for a guy. This is where I began to start dressing up more, putting my hair up all pretty and wearing what little make up my mother would allow me. While doing all of this it never occurred to me that maybe I could just be myself and that might be good enough. I never really thought about it because this place, this school, all the girls had such high standards of what they looked liked. Here I was looking like a tom boy. I grew up out in the country, so for me all that work to make myself look "good" really was work. I was trying my hardest to be somebody I wasnt to impress a boy. Eventually he began to show interest and I was happy. But long story short, he was showing interest for all the wrong reasons. It was a dare or something, one of his friends put him up to. Talk about kick while you are down. As a girl in high school, that would be enough to make you wanna go home and never go anywhere ever again. I never told anyone about it, not even my friends, not even my family. I just swallowed it all and went back to being my "dirty" country girl self. I began to really wonder if something was wrong with me, I started shutting myself off to the outside world. I would just go to school, do my work, and then go home. I would wake up the next day and do the same thing all over again, showing no emotion ever. It didn't help matters that I loved wrestling. My mom got me into watching wrestling on tv and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It became my hobby. It really consumed me, but it gave me something to look forward to and something to show interest in. Of course that got an immediate negative reaction at my school. I began to wear all different kinds of t shirts for different wrestlers, and one week during homecoming for career day I dressed up as my favorite wrestler. I got made fun of so much for it. I would just shrug it off and act like I didnt care, but on the inside my heart was just crumbling more and more. This was going to be my life until I graduated and left it all behind. Things didnt get any better either. Im gonna flash forward to my senior prom. I had been talking to this really cute guy for awhile, and it really seemed like it might go somewhere because he seemed to be showing interest in who i really was. The real me, my dirty cowgirl, playin in the mud, playin in the woods self. He asked if I would go to prom with him and of course I said yes. I had never been asked to go to a dance or anything of the sort. Not even a date, so I was very excited to say the least. I got my dressed picked out and my mom bought a corsage for me. The day came and I couldnt have been more excited as my sister in law helped me get ready. I made it to prom and he was nowhere to be found. Eventually I found out that he stood me up, and decided to go to his ex girlfriends prom with her. I was very hurt and upset. That was probably the worst thing that could have happened to me. I didnt confront him, and I didnt do anything about it. I just wanted to find a hole to crawl into and never come out. Needless to say it didnt help with my self esteem at all. All I could think was there had to be something wrong with me. Graduation came around and we all said our good byes. That was probably one of the best days of my life. I couldnt wait to leave this school and all these negative small minded people behind. And I did just that. I began going to the gym on a regular basis and eating healthy. Yes, I was unhappy with my body, but I also wanted to make a lifestyle change and prove to people that I could become so much more. When you struggle with self esteem, your weight can be a huge issue. And it was very huge for me. But I am also a tall girl. I am 5'10", which I never really liked. I mean what kind of guy is gonna want to date a girl thats not only bigger than him, but taller as well. Eventually I just stopped caring and focused on what I wanted. I wasnt happy, but I wasnt miserable either. I just felt like there was something missing. I felt like there was something else that could really help me, something that could help me with how I see myself when I look in the mirror. Thing is, (not to mark on myself) but I am a very humble girl. When I stand in front of the mirror I dont look into it and say "Dang Im freakin hot" or anything like that. I just look into it and decide if I am happy with how I look that day. Thats just how I am, its how I was raised. 6 years later, to this day, I still do the same thing. And I still workout, but now I do it because I enjoy it. I eat right, because I enjoy it. How did that happen? Well I ended up making some even more amazing friends, and these girls never missed a day of telling me how beautiful I was inside and out. And God, I found God. I discovered a new found faith that had been existent in my heart, but it was just shut away because I had so much sorrow that I could not get past. And there is music. I have always loved music so very much, but I cant play a single instrument. I cant carry a tune either but I still sing my heart out constantly. After everything that has happened to me, I look back on it all as a blessing. All the heartbreak, all the pain, it made me a stronger person and it made me who I am today. People may label you, they may judge you, but they only opinion you should care about is your own. When you look into that mirror, what matters the most is what you see, and how you see yourself. For me music, god, and friendship were my saviors. I finally feel like I belong. It has been a long painful journey, but I made it. No matter what you are going through, I promise you, it gets better. Stay strong and join me in becoming unveiled!