Bullying is a topic really close to my heart. I was actually bullied my entire childhood. I never really liked talking about it. As a matter of fact, until this day I hate talking about it. I don't know why but it makes me feel uncomfortable and it brings back a lot of bad memories. I'm a very private person but if my story can help others, then it's all worth it getting emotionally naked for the cause.
I actually wrote a song on my debut EP about bullying and going through the difficult years of being a teen; it's called "Little Girl". The song is about me talking to my teenage self. I was picturing myself talking to my 12-year-old self saying: "Don't worry; it's going to be okay." I'm sure a lot of people can relate to it. "Little Girl" is the most personal song on my EP and probably the most personal song I've ever written. I was really scared of people hearing it and of what they would think of it. I was afraid people would know my story. But then I realized that people would want to know what the song was about and that I would have to tell my story. I really hope that by doing so I can help others. If this song and my story can help just one person... then I will have achieved something great.
I've always been extremely sociable but I was always singled out. My first experience of being singled out I was probably in kindergarten. I never fitted in, or so I felt. The other kids often rejected me. This affected my self-esteem at a really young age. It made me hate school. And hating school made me not perform well in school. And I would then bring my problems back at home. It was a bad vicious circle. I would sometime come back home crying and my mom would try to console me by saying that the other kids were just jealous, but I really couldn't see that.
I will always remember this one traumatizing experience when I was in grade 6. Every Friday my teacher would have a discussion circle and every week we would talk about issues school related or class related. This one Friday, without any announcement or warning, my teacher decided to bring me up as the topic of the day. She asked the whole class why I was rejected. I was so shocked that she brought this up; I was paralyzed by her question. I just froze. Until one kid said: "Cause she's stupid and ugly". I wanted to disappear and become invisible. How can a teacher be so insensitive? It's truly lacking judgment and educational psychology.
I was so happy when elementary school came to an end. With the start of high school I was dreaming of a bright new beginning. But high school was not going to be any better. High school was actually worse. By my 2nd year of high school I was hanging out with the "cool" kids, I was part of the popular crew. But here's the thing, I was the loser of the popular crew, or so it felt many a time. My close girlfriends were great, but the guys in the crew were the problem. For a whole year I was petrified to go outside during lunch break. The guys would grab me by my arms and legs leaving me defenseless and they would try to throw me in pretty much anything: a puddle of water, mud, snow…until my girlfriends would come to my rescue.
Being bullied not only affected my spirit, my self-esteem but also my dating life. Most boys in the crew would make fun of me and would go along with the bullies by fear of being themselves singled out. There was this one boy in the group I had a crush on; I never thought he liked me but I found out later on that it was the opposite. One of the guys told him that if he would go out with me, he pretty much wouldn't be part of the gang anymore. Hence, my dating life was non-existent in high school.
It's funny how we all have a different perception of reality. To a lot of people I was a cool kid because they saw me hanging out with the popular kids. But my own reality was completely different. I was so miserable. My self-esteem was at its lowest and I was often depressed. When you're going through such a hard time you're just seeing darkness.
For years I truly believed that I was stupid and ugly. I couldn't take a compliment; whenever someone would compliment me I thought that it was an insensitive joke and it never occurred to me that it could actually be a genuine compliment. I was always looking at the ground and I wouldn't walk confidently with my back straight. I had to work really hard on myself in order to be who I am today.
Being bullied poisoned my life at a young age. If you would have told me then that things were going to be alright, that things were really going turn around for me, I never would have believed it. I wish that I can truly be an example and tell kids: "See how I was where you are? But look at me now". It's not only about saying but it's also about showing and I really hope to be a role model to all and anyone going through bullying or anything similar.
NJ Taylor's new single 'So You' is officially released on December 11.