Kelly Clarkson has always been one of my favorite pop artists of all time. The lyric from one her famous songs, “Stronger,” holds true in my account. As a teenager, I was exposed to a plethora of elements that shaped me into the person I am today: a confident young lady. Most of these exposures were not beneficial, however. Although I’ve had great memories that I will cherish forever, this wasn’t always the case.

Some people may consider high school as the best years: we make every moment unforgettable with great friends, we fall in love, and best of all, we explore and discover what we want to make with ourselves. The others, on the other hand, are not so fortunate. For them, high school was Hell, and their peers, the demons. Unfortunately, I was one of those people tormented by these demons, for the initial part of high school anyway. And although the bullying only occurred for a short period of time, it left me with a scar that only completely healed after graduation.

It all started the very first day of school. Like all other Freshmen, I was in a hurry to get to my first class. As I was racing up the stairwell, in hopes of making it to class on time, I ran into another student: a girl who was much taller than I am, with curly blonde hair, pink pouty lips, and a great sense of style. Unfortunately, her style was ruined when the cup of Starbucks she was holding spilled all over her burgundy leather jacket.

She was frantic. I, however, was paralyzed by her piercing blue eyes. She came at me with such strong force that I fell to the ground as she shoved me, thankfully missing the flight of stairs. I was traumatized. I didn’t know how to act. I apologized several times, with tears trickling down my cheeks, as I slowly walked away. I could feel her cold stare following me as I rounded the corner. I thought that nightmare was over, but I couldn’t be more wrong.

The next day, I was casually walking up the same flight of steps when I encountered her again. This time, she was accompanied by two equally beautiful girls. They eyed me from head to toe, making remarks about my ragged sweatshirt, ripped jeans, and my short hair under their breath. I felt myself blush. As I slowly walked passed them, one of the girls held her pedicured foot out, tripping me in the process. I fell face first, in front of what seemed like half of the school. I was humiliated, and again, more crying ensued.

This happened for weeks, until I was able to familiarize myself with the school. I’ve found different routes and shortcuts to my first class, hoping that I’d never have to see her or her friends again. Thankfully, I’ve never had to encounter her again.

These girls made me feel inferior. During those weeks of torture, I’ve felt a whole range of bad emotions, from distress to humiliation. I felt my self-esteem drop to an all time low. I’ve become more and more of an introvert as the time went on. I had come to an epiphany that I never wanted to feel those emotions again, nor do I want anyone to go through the same situation. Gradually, I’ve surpassed that short, though traumatizing, obstacle.

As time went on, I’ve gained more confidence, and I quickly came out of my shell. The boost in self-esteem assisted me in gaining friends, and making memories. All in all, I had a great high school experience, even though it started a little on the rough side. At that point, I have come to realize, that what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.

Jeanne Nimo

Jeanne M. Nimo is a college student from Southern New Jersey who has a passion for learning. She is in the process of earning her two degrees -- for both Nursing and English Literature. When she's not working her day job as a Pharmacy Technician, she can be found lurking at a nearby Starbucks, sipping on seasonal caffeinated beverages, trying to conquer the world -- one profession at a time. She is also a publishing artist under 451 Press, whose debut poetry collection is set to be released on March 2016.