My journey through being bullied
Jolyn Tan // November 19, 2018, 11:51 am
Illustration: Christina Wong/ Thir.st
I often think about the seasons of my life.
As a kid, I was unwanted by the people around me. The wayward and strange culture that I grew up in had a way of distorting my thinking. I learnt that because I am a girl, I was born to serve others. I was never allowed to have an opinion, nor a future that I planned out.
I learnt that as a girl, all I had to do was get through school, get married and then have kids. The rest of my life would be spent raising my kids.
School was supposed to be my escape from home, until the day I started falling short in my grades. Then the bullying started. I never knew why I had to go through what I did.
But I soon came to decide that I was a mistake and no one would ever stand up for me.
Years later, I tried changing and fitting myself into other people’s lives to be accepted.
Doing so destroyed me. I was a misfit – a puzzle piece that belonged to the wrong box. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for years.
I had no one. I always wondered why I wasn’t invited to lunch, or included in that party, or left behind and forgotten so easily. Even when I was surrounded by people.
It took a long time for me to be okay with the way I am; to accept and love myself the way God does for me. There were many nights of depression where I would have been lost, if not for the still small voice of God. There were days of countless tears where all I could do was turn up my battle song and worship Him with my all.
For a season, I doubted whatever I was doing in my life because I was just trying to prove myself to others that I was no longer the weak girl they once knew.
I even thought maybe, just maybe, that I wanted to live in New York … I wanted the people who looked down on me to realise how wrong they were.
But what I realised was that though my past seemed like a dirty mark in my life, my future isn’t tainted because I now know God’s love for me.
He has compelled my heart to change. I started traveling the world, and I met so many different people. And my heart was moved by His love.
It took far too long for me to finally realise that I was a princess to God.
He said that I was His daughter – extravagantly pursued by Him. The mask I daily wore – put on to pretend that everything was okay – was taken down by His love. He never asked me for anything when He gave me His unconditional love.
This was love. And it had a name – Jesus.
He was okay with me being myself. He was okay with me carrying my anger and frustrations towards Him. He was okay when I said things without a filter. He was okay when I laughed out loud, and He was patient to hear all my thoughts.
When He touched me with His love, suddenly, even the simplest thing that I did in my life was because His love compelled me so.
I learnt to see everyone with love that comes from Him.
I learnt that everyone was made in the image of God, He forms everyone lovingly in His hands. And I prayed to be a house of refuge for people, after God taught me to fight my battles on my knees in tears. I found a fierce faith that comes from knowing that the One above will guide and lead me wherever He calls me to. I am okay with the way I am now – because He loves me.
I tore down the walls of my heart. I am transparent about my desperate need for my Saviour. I no longer want to shortchange myself and be someone God hadn’t intended me to be, and end up being miserable and depressed again.
I want to live authentically, knowing this is how God created me to be. I want to walk in His plans.
Now, I am a wounded healer.
God can use my scars to bring healing to others, for scars represent more than I ever realised. They can be beautiful. They are the marks left by a healed wound, so my scars signify healing.
And if you look around, everyone has scars. There’s something captivating about people who are unafraid to be themselves: Authentic, unmasked, and unashamed of the wounds that shaped them. Their vulnerability was magnetic to me. I was drawn to them, to learn from their self-acceptance and to hear their stories of courage.
Now I’ve learned that it is often a good thing to ask people about their scars, as long as I do so respectfully and lovingly. Asking about scars demystifies them and allows for people to share about their journeys. Each scar has a story that may be used to inspire others.
So we should wear our scars like jewels – beautiful reminders of how God has brought us through it all.