M. Cendejas

Monique.jpg

I am a quiet person at heart. My timid personality pushed me to become a follower around my peers. To be blunt, I was a pushover. Friends would tease and taunt me about the small things that I thought were normal. I started to be bullied around the first grade where kids would call me names and not invite me to play with them. As I grew older it became more aggressive and the name calling turned into vulgar comments and gossip. My faith helped me get through a lot of this and I attempted to ignore the aggressors by focusing on friends, school and sports. Going into high school I had hope that I would meet new people that would accept me and not walk all over me. My best friend and I were going to the same school so I felt confident that things would work out. And yet I settled again for group that tolerated me and again treated me like shit. Freshman year I got involved in regrettable things that demonstrated how little self-worth I had for myself. Sophomore and junior year it started to get better. I was still involved in unhealthy friendships at school, but I just focused on academics and water polo to distract myself. In my mind it was better to have fake friendships then to be alone every day. Senior year I decided to go and try to find a relationship. I felt that a guy would be able to support and protect me. I went to parties in my local area and a few in LA. The way I portrayed myself to get attention was self-deprecating. I placed myself in unsafe environments that ended up hurting me more. It made me realize how little I thought of myself and how I was desperate for affection. It wasn't until senior year that I was able to escape my high school friends and found a new group of people that truly understood my character.

Throughout my struggle my family was always with me. The love that I had at home was my back bone. Coming home was the best part of the day because I was able to spend time with them. I also had two friends that were with me throughout high school that kept me from completely breaking. I didn’t confide in anyone. I didn't tell my friends or family what was happening in my life. Even now I don't think that they know now how much I depended on their presence; the smallest interactions that made me happy and feel loved. I chose to keep my feelings to myself and I was able to find people who truly cared for me. The hardest part of this experience was looking back at it and coming to the understanding that I deserved better. I would always give excuses for things and somehow blame it on myself. I had to realize that it wasn't always my fault. My friends and family were the main reasons I was able to pick myself up. They make me feel loved just by being with me. They support me and care about me and I have grown because of them. The best advice I have for people going through this is to reflect on yourself and realize that you can find support in your friends and family. Find the people that make you be your best self and stay with them. Don't settle for something that is half as good.

I had only gotten an Instagram/ Facebook this year because I have always been afraid of social media. The idea that someone can find me by searching my name and clicking some links always freaked me out. I didn’t want people to know what was happening in my life so I stayed away from it. People don't share their struggles online because they don't want to relive their problems again. Online you are a perfect person who goes out with friends and has a great time without worrying about anyone. They can be a new person and escape the struggles of their real life.

Monique.jpg
Asia Croson