Dream, Smile, Live: Be Your Self.May 28th, 2012 | Posted by in Thoughts | Your Voices - (0 Comments)
I’d like to share Erika’s story with you all. Erika, a 19 year old from Texas, is currently studying psychology and just completed her first year of college (yay, Congrats!!). Erika runs the twitter account @DreamSmileLive with the intention of providing support to individuals who are feeling overwhelmed, down, bullied, etc. She has over 800 followers and has contributed almost 11,000 tweets of support. Erika was awesome enough to send me an email about her background and why it is so important to her to provide a helping hand to others.
I started to get bullied from a very young age. I used to be called horrible names and sometimes people would throw things at me. I also had to deal with people I knew doing drugs and being involved in gang activities. I always had to watch my back no matter where I went. I didn’t feel save at school or my home. There were a lot of people always with me but I always felt alone. I didn’t know who to trust anymore or if my life was even worth fighting for. The bullying from classmates and friends got so bad that I did try to commit suicide once but didn’t go through with it because my angel, my little brother, showed me that kindness and innocence still does exist and that I shouldn’t give up. About a year ago I created a Twitter account called @DreamSmileLive to help others who feel alone and don’t know how to keep going. When I was going through my tough times I always used to tell myself Dream, Smile, Live. Now I want to help others who are going through tough times. I want them to know that no matter what they are going through they can keep strong and it will get better. That is why I shared my story with them which I wrote in a Twitlonger. I am in the process of creating a website to provide information and stories for those who don’t know how to handle the problems they are faced with. I suffered a lot but in the end it made me stronger.
Click below to read more about Erika’s story and a bit from her Twitlonger page!
I was in kindergarten when I started to get bullied. I remember once being on a swing when a girl came and told me to get off the swing. I said no. She then grabbed me by the hair and dragged me away from the swing. She went back to the swing and while she swung back and forth, I ran to a corner and cried. From then on, people thought it was easy to pick on me. I moved to the United States with my family and thought things would be different here, but they weren’t. I was an outsider, someone who didn’t belong. So that’s how they treated me. I didn’t know how to speak English, so the other kids found it easy to blame me for things. I couldn’t defend myself because I had no idea what they were saying.
After first grade, my little brothers were born. My mom got depressed and couldn’t take care of my little brothers and so I became like a second mother to them. I was 8 and I already had to take care of two twin children. My dad worked two jobs to try to provide for us so we barely got to see him. My little brothers gave me strength to do better. So I worked hard to learn English and get good grades. Second and third grade passed by and I guess you could say that I had friends. But we lived in a bad area and there were a lot of bad people. Me and my brother and sister saw things that children should never have to see or be exposed to. We saw death, violence, drugs. My dad said it was time to move especially because my little twin brothers were born. So we moved and once again, I thought this a fresh new start. But things just got worse. At this new school popularity was everything. Once again I was an outsider. I got some friends, but I could never trust them. There was one girl who said that I could trust her and because she was my only friend, I felt as though I could trust her. So I did. I trusted her and it was the biggest mistake ever.
A few years later, in sixth grade, my classmates started to make fun of me because of my last name and because I made good grades. It didn’t matter how much I tried to fit in — I never did. I acted tough, but inside I was dying. Later, when I entered middle school, everyone had changed. People grew. I however stayed the same, short and nerdy. I had three “best friends” and we did everything together. While I had them and could confide in them, I continued to feel like an outsider. According to those “friends”, I was the ugly one, the one that was always the last to be picked. My friends became my bullies. They brought me down. Made me feel useless. Life gave me so many reasons to give up a long time ago, but I kept on rising back up.
Now, years later, I am a high school graduate. I graduated in the top 3% of my class. Got accepted to 10 colleges and got over $650,000 in scholarships. I am majoring in psychology. I still have my weak moments but that does not mean I won’t keep rising back up. Three words that kept me going that I would say to myself was “Dream, Smile, Live”. I hope y’all can take my experiences and realize that you can get through it.