My stepdaughter Alexa has challenged me to write a blog about….her. No…this is not a self absorbed smoke blowing post to her about how wonderful she is. This is about how un-wonderful she feels she is.
This is my step daughter.
She is ugly
No one likes her
She has no friends
She has a HUGE nose
Her skin is ugly
She is NOT pretty
She is not smart
Pick any other “she is not” statement and fill in the blank because she has said it.
These are all things that Alexa feels about herself. She looks in the mirror and this is what she sees. Everyone around her does not understand this. How could she see this? They tell her she is beautiful, thin, pretty, smart….many other uplifting things. She does not hear. She still sees what she sees in the mirror. Hard to believe? Hard to watch happen? YES.
So what happened? Where did this come from?
Well that is a very loaded question. The simplest answer is that Alexa was bullied for years. This bullying came from a friend that she had. This friend was pretty. To Alexa she could do no wrong. She would tell Alexa that she was ugly, fat, not as pretty, not as smart, not as liked and on and on. This went on for years and years. No one really knew because Alexa was very quiet about this. She came across as a good friend. Everyone has a friend like this. Some of us can handle this type of friend…some of us cannot. Turns out…Alexa cannot.
Alexa’s downward spiral of self esteem came at a price. Alexa attempted suicide. Not in a calling out for help way. This was in a way to end her life and not be found. This was only last year. She survived her attempt but spent two weeks in the psych ward at the hospital. She was 17. The culmination of years of bullying, depression, anxiety and trying to figure out who she was took a toll on her mind, body and spirit.
Today, a year later, with counseling, communication, parental intuition at it’s peak, medication and the surrounding of family Alexa is coping better. She still has many moments of the same “she is not” statements. We do not answer them back now. We encourage and support and bring forward the inside, as we have always done.
So, why do I share this story with you because it is Alexa’s story?
It is because it is a very common story.
The real story…
Here is the real story. Alexa is battling her demons. She is battling with everything she has. She cannot do it on her own. No one can do it on their own. She needs support and we (her family) support her. This past year has been a year of transformation for her. She is figuring out who she is and what she is about. She is slowly, and I mean slowly, realizing that she is way more than a face. Way more than makeup. Way more than a body. She has a soul. She has an inside that hides behind the outside. Bringing her inside to the world is wayyyy outside her comfort zone. Anxiety still has a lot of the controlling power. What does Alexa have now? She has empowerment. She has self worth. She has support (in addition to her family). She has direction. She has friends that care, and I mean really care…selflessly. Most of all Alexa has hope.
This is a very brave and courageous step for Alexa to allow me to write about her and then tell the world. I am proud of her for the work she has done on her inner spirit. I am proud of her fighting with everything she has to want more for her life. In this story Alexa is lucky. She is a survivor. Some don’t receive the help they need in time. It is to those kids, adolescents, teens that this post is dedicated to.
When you ask yourself how can you help? What can you do? How do I know? The answer is…get curious, stay curious. Ask questions. Don’t accuse. Learn. Use your intuition. Be involved. Don’t ever give up. In the end our children have their own minds. We, as parents, can only do so much.
It may sound simplistic but the best quote I can come up with is from the movie Finding Nemo. It is from Dory.
What else are you going to do? We just have to keep moving forward.
This is my step-daughter
This is my stepdaughter Alexa,
She has a huge heart
She has courage
She is strong
She has hope
She has a lot to offer the world
She is authentic
She is a fighter
She will prevail!