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Beauty from Ashes

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Brooklynn Bradley-LaFleur

In all honesty, I wrote this blog a few months ago and it has just been sitting there. I wasn't sure I wanted to tell my stories. It is something I have always been embarrassed of, but in the last few years I have had way too may clients cry in my chair over similar stories about themselves or their children. I have realized I can never help anyone overcome their own experiences if I don't open up about mine.

So here I am. Opening myself up because if I can help just one person get through one day or find closure from something years ago, then it is all worth it.

I told no one so I had no one. I was alone and I don't want anyone to ever think they are alone or be too ashamed to reach out for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Being bullied doesn't mean there is a problem with who you are or how you look. Instead, it speaks VOLUMES about the person bullying you.

How do we, as human beings, find joy in making others suffer? This is something I have never understood. I wish I could say it stops after high school, but it doesn't. Grown ups can be just as petty and abusive, mentally, physically and emotionally, as kids.

Back then, I let fear of other people's opinions control me. I dropped out of sports because I was too nervous to perform in front of anyone, and instead of auditioning for parts in school plays, I chose to work behind the scenes because I didn't want to be made fun of any more than I already was. I honestly believed, even into my adult life, that I was unimportant. It resulted in me alienating myself and holding myself back. I truly believed no one cared about how I felt or what I had to say, so I just kept any real emotion I was feeling to myself.

I was the only one standing in my way.

I am not going to go into the details of all my stories. I could go on and on about each one. I will however, share pieces of them.....

Every summer before school starts, my mom and I would go visit my dad in Texarkana

and go back to school shopping. It was a special day I always looked forward to. At the beginning of the year I was in athletics working out and had gone into the locker room to change into my gym clothes. After my workout, I went back into the locker room only to find that some of my clothes were gone. The next day, one of then came walking into the classroom wearing the shirt that was stolen. She said, "Brooke do you like my shirt?"

One day, something very scary and life changing happened to me. The kind of experience that scars you for life and gives you nightmares. I came to school the next day and told my "best friend" because I was terrified to go to the counselor alone. It wasn't long after that everyone knew.... rumor has it I was just "wanted attention."

My dad loves to play jokes. Especially when he is getting me or my mother a big gift. He bought me a car for my 16th birthday and played this really fun elaborate joke on me.

It was so special and he was so proud. A few weeks later, I was at a FUNERAL and left my car there for a few hours. When I came back, my car had been shot several times with a paint ball gun.

How about walking into school and seeing typed pages on every door and every locker with a list saying all the reasons you are a whore? Yeah, that was a fun day for me. Keep in mind, I dated the same guy all through high school and non of the reasons had anything to do with actually being promiscuous. Ten years later, I found out who did it. I still don't know why. I mean, she hand wrote this list, took time to type it up, make a million copies, and put it all over the school for everyone to see. So much energy wasted.

One morning I woke up and my '67 Chevelle SS 396 Convertible had been egged.

When homecoming queen elections came around I was nominated and ended up in a tie breaker. I couldn't believe it. It was so nice to be nominated, but I didn't try to campaign because I didn't think I had a shot at all. One of the girls also got on the court and she decided to ask my "serious" boyfriend to escort her. It was more of a petty situation, but after all the other crap, it was one of those "cherry on top" situations.

Cheer leading was my whole life. I loved it. I was good at it and it set my heart on fire. What I wasn't good at, was math. My teacher came up to me one day and told me if I didn't pass a certain test with a certain grade, I wouldn't be allowed to try out for cheerleader. I studied so hard to raise my average in time for try outs. My dad and I stayed up late every night studying. When the test came, I was very nervous but I ended up making the exact grade that I needed! I was so excited... until I found out that for some reason he decided to wait until the next week (after try outs) to put his grade in the book. That meant I didn't get to try out for cheerleader. It had something to do with this certain group of girls. I found out 10 years later my dad had come up to the school and raised hell.

I tell my story not to sit here and whine about my past, or get you to feel sorry for me. I tell my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to reach out to me, or anyone, and talk to them. I did too much dwelling on how I wasn't worth having any friends and no one actually cared about what I had to say, think or feel. Looking back, as the person I am today, I would do everything different.

Since high school, I have constant anxiety attacks and it has been hard for me to really open up to people. I am learning though. I have learned how to handle these situations. I have learned not to carry the weight of it, engage, or take it to heart. I'm not letting it control me anymore. My skin has become so thick since my husbands election. My anxiety attacks are the lowest they have ever been and I am starting to be comfortable sharing my story.

There is always someone out there who is miserable in their own life for whatever reason and looking to compensate by making someone else miserable. Try to understand, you never know what someone else is going through or what drives their actions. Know your worth and never for a second let anyone hold you back or take that from you. Whether you are in school or dealing with a group of grown adults who have nothing better to do than try to bring you down. Handle it with class, ignore it and don't engage.

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