Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sticks and Stones....

...will break my bones, but words will ALWAYS hurt me...
I recently watched "Bully" a heart gripping documentary that tells the stories of varies teens that have been bullied, shunned, and in some cases have taken their own lives at a very young age. I highly recommend this film to everyone because something has to be done about it. It is cruel and wrong; no child should be bullied to the point of taking their own life.
I was bullied. I was made fun of and ridiculed growing up by my classmates. I felt like I was the problem, and on some occasions thought that it would be better if I were dead. My bullies never laid a finger on me... but their words and laughter were powerful enough that even today at times it affects me.
I was made fun of for something that was absolutely and entirely out of my control; I was born with NF, and there is nothing I can do to change that. The only thing I can do is live my life to the fullest and enjoy every second of it. 
I very rarely go to that dark and depressing place in my memory that brings tears and anger.I do not like driving past my middle school because the seventh and eighth grade was the absolute worse for me, I was taunted every single day by the same group of peers. I remember two girls. Specifically, that would be friendly towards me some days and then other days would be the cruelest and would lead the class in taunting me. I despised weekdays with a passion that I can not explain. When I walked home, I ran, when my mom picked me up, I jumped in her car. My parents were aware of what I was going through, but I did not let them do anything about it because I knew if they did it would only get worse. 
Despite all the ugly and cruel things that I have gone through I have been able to let it all go because I have always had the best of friends that encourage and push me to be the best Angela possible. I have brothers that always have and will always do anything in their power to see me laugh and smile. They over protect me, and I do not mind! I have two loving parents that did a great job in raising a daughter that does not let her physical appearance stop her from achieving her goals and dreams. 
Yes, I was bullied. Yes, I survived.  But I still have flashbacks, and it still hurts, because unlike a bruised rib or a black eye that eventually heal... being called "big eye" "ugly" " monster" "anorexic" and  "You will never find a boyfriend because you are too ugly".... those wounds never heal.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Patch.....

So I did it, I wore an eye patch for the day!!  I bought it almost a year ago but never actually wore it until this weekend. Now, I know for a fact that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to me wearing an eye patch and I completely understand.I actually understand now more than ever due to the simple fact that I wore it out and about. I know some think that it is a good idea and that I should have started wearing them years ago. By wearing it, my facial disfigurement is not as visible because the patch covers my eye and my long hair hides my scars.
 I also know that some may think that I look perfectly fine without it and that regardless of the patch or not people will still gawk and ask questions. I can handle questions,  it is the gawking that hurts because it makes me feel like an alien at times.
Every time a member of my family brings up the subject I become very defensive because I am against the idea. After years of arguments, wearing and had a heart-to-heart with my ever so honest and loving godmother; she made me realize that by wearing an eye patch does not change who I am. And that what I am doing by wearing an eye patch is giving people the opportunity to get to know Angela as a whole and focus on me as a person. Not Angela the girl that has something wrong with her face. Because if I am honest, people do notice; they see my face, my eye, and my scars before they notice me as a whole.
The way she put it made it click. I now realize that she and many others said what they said so many times before because they had first had experience how rude and ignorant people could be. And if they felt uncomfortable and upset than I must feel ten times more hurt and upset.
So, I called my mom up in Florida and asked her to send me my never worn eye patch to DC because I wanted to actually wear it. I wanted to experience people's reaction to me wearing an eye patch versus me not wearing one.
I decided to test out my eye patch at a party filled with people that I did not know. I decided to do this because no one knew me or had ever even seen a picture of me; I thought their reaction towards me would be genuine enough that I would be able to compare similar circumstance with wearing and not wearing an eye patch. The results were that people actually looked at me with a natural smile and were completely comfortable around me. Unlike other times that people really didn't know how to approach me or how to look at me when talking to me directly. It was a very positive experience. Although I have only worn it once, I do plan on wearing it again, it's just a matter of me feeling comfortable with it and having fun with this whole new concept.

With or with out the eye patch I am the same girl.....and like my godmother said "You are a beautiful, smart, and loving girl. Wearing it is like you are putting on makeup, it's part of your  routine, part of your wardrobe."