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    Bullying Cast An Ugly Spell On Me

    MannaXPRESS May-at-20_edited-e1413953493211 Bullying Cast An Ugly Spell On Me
    May Oyairo in 1987

    Bulling convinced me I was Ugly

    Not too long ago, I was looking for something in my picture bin when I stumbled on this throwback picture of me taken in 1987. Staring at it induced pangs of agonizing memories. I was 20 years old, painfully shy, void of confidence and quite frankly, fragile. The smile on my face was merely a curtain hiding the anguish raging on my inside. Mental bullying had dealt me a bad hand – it fooled me into thinking I was who I wasn’t. Looking back now, I cannot grasp why I believed the lie I was an ugly, hideous monster. No one could convince me otherwise and I will tell you why.

    You see, I was born with a pronounced red birthmark on the left side of my face. As a kid, I assumed it was the first thing anyone noticed when meeting me for the first time. I felt odd because no one I knew had a face like mine. It seemed as though I mistakenly fell on earth from another planet. 

    Elementary school was a bittersweet experience. Some naughty classmates delighted in teasing me non-stop. They had no problem stabbing my self-esteem with gibes like: Red-face monster, Ugly girl, Two-face monster, and the one that hurt me the most Your-mother-must-have-slapped-you-with-a-red-spoon.

    These taunts laid the foundation for many pity parties I hosted at home after getting bullied in school. “Why me?” was the question I used to cry and repeatedly ask God. I could not understand why He gave me a red birthmark, funny teeth, some mean classmates and my overall appearance.  I disliked what I now know was “a figment of my distorted imagination.” That is what happens when you believe the lie of the enemy.

    Whenever my mother came home from work and saw I’d been crying, she would try her best to convince me I was beautiful. Her words had a way of soothing the ache from the malicious blows of that day. Thank God for a good mother who believed and loved me to pieces. She kept speaking life to me with declarations like: “You are beautiful,” “You are great,” and “You are somebody.” 

    With time, her positive affirmations produced a glimmer of hope. I started believing there might be some truth in my doting mother’s words. In 4th grade, I gained an iota of confidence and began the process of breaking the shackles bullying forced on me.

    An adult unknowingly joined the bullying squad

    I was almost there when one day my teacher tried to get my attention. Instead of calling me by my name, she said: “Come here, Red face.”  The expression of shock that instantly registered on my face was inconceivable.  How dare her stoop so low and litter my path to self-love with weeds of doubt? The gravity of her seemingly innocent utterance instantly cremated the tiny confidence I had managed to build. She succeeded in wounding and dragging me back to square one. 

    Tears are falling as I write this. Such a painful memory! This is most likely a cathartic wave. About time!

    For an adult to add nails and fasten what kids had naively plastered on the wall of my brittle heart convinced me I was indeed a red-face monster. Unknown to my teacher, those four words that came out of her mouth that day, contributed to the anguish that haunted me for decades.

    As my teenage years gave way to my coming of age, maturity eased some of the pain from my past. It didn’t erase it. God placed some very special friends in my life. They celebrated and encouraged me in memorable ways. By the time I graduated from the university, it was not as daunting, but there was work to be done. I still had a hard time finding my self worth. This trauma accompanied me into adulthood where it created some painful chapters that robbed me of a few golden opportunities. My self-esteem graduated from low to invisible. For the life of me, I just couldn’t find it!

    My turning point came the moment I let the soothing word of God permeate my life. Over time, affirmation and daily confession of key scriptures in front of my bedroom mirror, gave me the courage to declare war on the fear of rejection. 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” became my anchor verse for reassurance and boldness. The word of God taught me all men are equal before the Lord and there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. After all, if God is for me, who can be against me? I made up my mind that no matter what, I must believe in myself.  The light bulb of truth was switched on and It began to dispel the dingy lies bullying planted in my head. It was time to replace self-distrust with self-love and take back what the cankerworms of intimidation stole from me as a child.

    I started to love and be the best version of myself. I replaced disdain for my birthmark with appreciation. Above all, God gave it to me for a reason – I have no right to question Him. 

    The excess emotional and mental baggage that weighed me down for many years started falling off. The temperature of my self-esteem began rising from low to high. Things were finally looking up for me. 

    A better person emerged from the dungeon of bullying

    Today, I can sincerely look in the mirror and say to myself, “Thank You Lord for making me beautiful!” I deeply appreciate and love the way God made me. My happiness is my priority.  I guard what enters my personal space (If you do not guard your space, shenanigan will guard it for you.) Everything is on my terms and not according to the dictates of others. Enough of that nonsense. My people-pleaser days are gone with the wind. 

     I cannot imagine the other options I might have employed to medicate the pain bullying birthed in me. Who knows the catastrophe that could have befallen me while seeking validation from the wrong sources?  It could have been very costly. Thank God for turning my captivity around and causing me to be like them that dream. 

    MannaXPRESS 20191027_115351-1-scaled-e1608183241800 Bullying Cast An Ugly Spell On Me
    May Oyairo

    No matter what you are going through, the first step to recovery is to believe in yourself. Do not allow anyone to bully you. Stand your ground and love yourself. Believe you are somebody. Leave the past behind – look forward to a better tomorrow. You are fearfully and wonderfully made – the world is waiting for you.

    Also, it is imperative our words to people are soothing, encouraging and filled with love. We must make a conscious effort to bring out the best in human beings. What we say matters a great deal. We can make or break others with our choice of words and action. We should form and maintain the habit of using words wisely and kindly. Nothing beats making others happy and spreading joy especially during this pandemic. 

    With all hands on the anti-bullying and speaking-life-to-others deck, our endeavor to make this world a better place will not be in vain.  

    May Oyairo is the Publisher of MannaEXPRESS.

     

     

    May Oyairo
    May Oyairohttp://www.mannaexpressonline.com
    is the Founder and Publisher of MannaXPRESS.

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    57 COMMENTS

    1. I know exactly what you went through when it comes to others calling you names because I am a little person, medically known as dwarffism. It’s nothing I can hide from. What you see with me from all sides, front & back I am a little person, the only 1 in school for yrs. My name was Shorty, or Midget. I hated Midget bc I wasn’t a midget. I couldn’t even get a office job after going to buss. college bc as soon as they saw me the job was filled. There is a difference with a Dwarf. Anyway, I also had great parent’s, sibblings, & friends that loved me for who I am. Don’t give up, just continue living for the Lord as I do & he will see you through anything. It seems now days, dwarffism is accepted more bc my daughter & 2 granddaughters are also little people & or dwarf’s. People & kids seem to accept they’re situation. Even boys want to date the girl’s. 😆 I didn’t when I was that young. I love my God so much & he has done so much for me. You take care & keep loving & serving your God.

    2. I was born with a smile that only went to the left side of my face, explanation being, I suffered stroke before I was born.
      I went through much ridacule as I was growing up. I too had that trauma, unfortunatly I almost overcame them, as I am male, I hit lots of people, I learned to entertain my self. even to this day I still haven’t overcame all of it.
      Anew chapter in my life came when my HEAVENLY FATHER showed me about our words,in the book of Psalms if tells me to put a watchguard on my mouth.
      When GOD created the Univerce, HE used sound waves, when HE said let there be, and we are created us in HIS image.
      And in Romans HE said we can call things that be not as though they are.
      HE isn’t done with me yet, as I’m 72 and still learning.

    3. I went to school witha girl named Kathy. She had the same birthmark. Her smile was beautiful and I remember thinking dispite a half red/purple & white face she herself was beautiful. I can see her in my minds eye today with curly balck hair to her shoulders nd an infectious smile.

    4. I’ve been made of fun of because of my “buck teeth” since grade school…I’m 53 yrs old now and still suffer from the ridicule and made fun of… I consider this bullying….Please think before you speak..

    5. Lord Jesus, help me watch what I say to others knowingly or unknowingly. For those whose lives I have impacted negatively with my words, please forgive me and touch their hearts to forgive me also. Thank you Lord.

    6. The one thing that hit a note with me in your recount of your childhood feelings is the one question I struggled with so often as a child myself. I was abused as a child and one of the most liked forms of abuse towards me was hurtful words that destroyed myself esteem created in me an inability to believe anything good about myself. The question I struggled with was “Why me?” Then my uncle, after listening to me ask this question, posed another life altering question to me that would forever change my point of veiw of my dire circumstances life had thrown me into. He asked me if not you then who? He questioned me on who I hated enough to wish my life upon? Who did I think deserved all the hurt and pain I had to endure? My 12 yr old mind pondered these questions and found I couldn’t find a single person I would wish my life upon. Not even all my tormentors did I feel deserved to feel and face the things I faced on a daily basis. I believe God set that question on my uncle’s heart 4 me.

    7. As an 8 year old I had a step father who was malicious with his words. I was the chubby child of my family, my sister being tiny and petite. I was not allowed to wear dresses and I wasn’t allowed to go bowling because he thought I looked ridiculous. He told me I was slow and piddly whatever that is. It was very harmful. I pray no child has to go through the mental anguish I did. It still hurts 38 years later. Watch what you say to people, and especially kids who are formative in their growing.

    8. As I am sure you are well aware, God made each of us in His own image and we are precious and beautiful in His sight. I, too, suffered bullying at a tender young age because of my weight and fought to overcome the scars it left me with. Even today, I struggle with my weight and the poor self-esteem that being overweight brings.

      Thank you for a beautiful, poignant but sad story. May God continue to reveal to you your beauty and purpose in life. 🙂

    9. I was born with my left eye smaller than my right n when I look down it gets bigger then lower. So through tout my childhood I was called “lazy eyed, dog eye, freak etc.” of course I felt alienated by my classmates. But threw gods good graces n mercy n unconditional love n by my family members I am still here today n stronger than ever – although in the 8th grade was when I started fighting back n then the ones who tormented me r friendlier than b4 🙂 some of em…

    10. This touched me so much because I can relate to being bullied as a child. Thank God your experience did not drive you to drugs!

    11. You are beautiful inside and out my friend and an inspiration to women across the globe. Keep on being you, the imaginary ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan, the only thing is the beauty was always there.

    12. Thank God for the victory we receive in him. God has a way of making everything in us and about us better at his time (when we ourselves trust him to). I have a birth mark on my right cheek also and you will not believe how much kids teased me in school then. Thank God for his revelation knowledge. You are and have been beautiful inside and outside. Like mum said; you are great!

    13. You are beautiful all the way.. my darling sis. Beautiful heart. All who know you will attest to this. I miss you my sis. Being a while.

    14. Great story Esohe. But I got news for you. We always thought you were absolutely beautiful and elegant! And there you were thinking the opposite. How ironic! Kudos for taking charge of your mind and turning things around…

    15. I have known you for a very long time now my sister May and you have always been very beautiful on the outside BUT most important to me is how beautiful you are on the inside – YOUR HEART!!!

    16. Your post is quite touching.
      I never saw you that way back then, just another student. Would have been funny if I did as I too was born with a white patch on the right front side of my head. In my case people had to constantly remind me I had a white patch and white hair in amazement. It was their problem. ..not mine.
      We are all beautifully and wonderfully made.
      I’m glad you didn’t let a bunch of ignorant bullies rule your world.
      Keep shining…

    17. I have always felt your beauty both in and outside. There are Very few people that can come close to the measure of your beautiful person you are. I consider it a tremendous blessing from God to be able to call you my friend. You’re a rare and beautiful jewel. Love you!!!

    18. You are beautiful.I did not see the red marks neither did I see the ugly teeth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, sister. Look at you now. Let your classmates say it again. Blessings to you woman of God.

    19. What a profound proclamation sis!! That’s what I call a healthy self image and I know it can only come from our gracious and loving Father. You are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Thanks for sharing and encouraging. Agape.

    20. I may not think you beautiful or perfect. But you know what? That’s just my opinion and my opinion doesnt really matter. What matters is who GOD says you are and your belief in that.And thank GOD you have dat. That’s all that matters. Any other opinion is TOXIC and more so if you choose to believe others. And you’ l be surprised that a lot of pple do presently battle with the feelings of one inadequacy or the other despite their larger that life mien..

    21. You are beautiful inside and outside, fearfully and wonderfully made. Unique! There’s no other May Esohe Olusola.. I’m glad you stopped belittling who God made u to be.
      I celebrate you.. You are such a blessing …

    22. Wow! I just read your post – none of what you said ever registered with me!! I thought you were one of the nicest girls in your set – you never treated me less and was always incredibly generous with your goddies! This almost shocks me but I totally understand – I always felt like less – the bottom pot – until I realized – I am enough and not less and on my really crazy days – I am too much sef! Thank God how he takes our insecurities pain. I think you are full of beauty and thank you for being one of those real people that works and talks it real! We are now officially overdue for a call!

    23. A most inspiring story from an accomplished and beautiful woman. It is unbelievable that you ever thought you were not beautiful! Thank God you have overcome the mental poisoning and rediscovered yourself. Best wishes for a lifetime of love, happiness and fulfillment.

    24. I never knew you felt this way all through our stay in Warri I always saw you as a confident and pretty girl, well God is good…maybe you had to feel that way inorder to get to where you are today.

    25. Yes, I remember the shy, young woman with some much love. You are the apple of His eye and very special to me. I love watching what God is doing in your life.

    26. Wow, finding it hard to believe you had low self esteem, you who was always so confident back then and walked with a swagger. Anyway glad you over came it in the end.

    27. Ms. May, you just said a mouthful my beautiful sister. This is a powerful testimony. Sending love and light your way. Remain blessed.

    28. Awesome, Nadia and I send blessings your way. Always remember the middle 3 letters of the word beliefs spell lie, and God’s word helps us to shed the lies that we have embraced and instead to embrace the truth of what He says about and to us! Rom. 8:32.

    29. looking at your picture, I believe you look good and even better now. Many pple especially ladies have one issue or the other that makes us feel inadequate when really there is no reason for it. It is just the lie of satan to simply steal our joy. Like you gladly mentioned, it is when we are fully in christ that we appreciate how we are created and what we were born to fulfill on earth.Thanks for having the confidence to share your inner thoughts and feelings. May God continue to take you to higher grounds in his ministry

    30. MAY MAY, THAT IS YOU. THANK GOD FOR YOUR TURNING POINT. EVERY THING CREATED BY GOD IS BEAUTIFUL. YOU KNOW, HE CREATED YOU IN HIS OWN IMAGE! THANK GOD FOR YOUR MUM BEING THERE FOR YOU. YOU ARE GREAT MAY.

    31. Funny you say that.. I recall how many of my seniors (and yours) back in school were praying, fasting, and reciting lines just to whip up nerves to toast you.. It was a revival party… If only you had known what was going on on the other side.. ok.. am not dropping names – forget it! Remain cool!

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