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Take off your mask story: Today, you changed my life. (SIC)

Today, you changed my life. I know you speak to thousands and thousands of people every day but it still felt personal.
You took time from speaking to compliment my hair. A small gesture to you but something that meant the world to me.
I spent years never having a friend. As a child I would just read and stay in and eat. My parents were my best friends. Until I was 11 this was the norm, I kept to myself. Then I realised I wanted people to talk to who were my own age, I tried relentlessly to change myself to fit in. This only resulted in me being horribly bullied. I was a chubby little girl who was taller than everyone, essentially a perfect target.
Eventually I made a few friends outside of school and they made my world start spinning again, I started secondary school (Irish equivalent to high school) with an open mind and positive outlook on life for the first time in as long as I could remember. I was bullied everyday, my life became hell and the idea of continuing living became more unbearable than ever. I hid my sadness from everyone and pretended I was happy but started taking it out on my friends. I was controlling and demanding and it breaks my heart to think how horrible it was. Eventually I realised I’d never fit in and started to try being myself, I lost most of the excess weight and dyed the ends of my hair blue and got an eyebrow piercing. I finally felt comfortable in myself but this only managed to make everything worse. I was different and unafraid to by myself which only further angered the people upsetting me, I tried so hard to be happy but there was constantly new horrible messages about me on walls and I was constantly getting hit and I couldn’t take it anymore. All I could think about was if they hate me so much what reason do I have to like myself? I lost all my friends because I was in so much pain they couldn’t be around me and I took it all out on them. Then my mom found my crying one night and called the school. Its been about 10 months and my life has turned upside down. I’m still pretty much alone but people are nice to me and I’m so happy, I just want the best from life and today you made me realise I’m the only person standing in my own way.
I have crippling anxiety, when the bullying was the worst I’d be having a panic attack every day. My body was so drained I passed out constantly. I’m getting better at controlling them. I’m learning to help myself rather than destroy myself.
Although I’m still struggling with self esteem issues I’m mostly happy with my appearance and today you reassured that happiness by complimenting me.
I’m taking control of my life. I’m not going to allow myself to be sad anymore. Because I wasted the first 16 years of my life being that way.
Thank you so much, I’m more grateful than you’ll ever know and I know you probably won’t remember me but I’ll remember you and your message is something that will stay with me forever.

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