Growing up, I had been bullied more than I care to admit now. I wore braces, of course: the old ugly metal kind that nowadays can be replaced with sleek, almost invisible braces. I also wore glasses starting at around age twelve, because I was nearsighted and my parents would not let me wear contact lenses because they were too expensive and they did not think I would be able to take care of them. To top it all off, I also had terrible acne, and the harsher acne treatments prescribed to me by my physician were too hard on me and the side effects forced me to eventually give up on them. As a teenager, these were the toughest years of my life and they were not made any easier by my classmates. I did have some friends, but the sleeker, athletic, popular kids in my school always made me feel inferior and like I would never live up to them.
For a while I bought into it and thought they were probably right. My self esteem plummeted and my parents tried hard to build me back up but there was no replacement for how awkward I looked, and felt, and I withdrew a lot. I threw myself into school work and my after school job, and focused on how I could get out of high school as quickly as possible and how to improve my looks and self esteem after doing so. Eventually things started to let up, as they are wont to do. The braces came off my junior year of high school, and as an early graduation present, my parents decided to allow me to get contact lenses. The summer between junior and senior years was amazing, and I felt inspired when I came back to school in the fall without braces and without my glasses. I still had some acne and scars lingering, but I was no longer hiding behind glasses or braces.
I rejoined the swim team, which I had always loved to do, and got excited about college, which I ended up loving. Those years were so much better than high school. Recently I got my ten year high school reunion invitation in the mail, and I decided it was time to have a little cosmetic surgery. I had a few acne scars left and some sun damage that was starting to take its toll, so I decided to have a facelift a few months before the reunion. Within a few weeks I had scheduled the facelift and was getting so excited about going back for my reunion and showing off how much I had grown up in spite of being bullied.
The initial moment of dread I had when I received the invitation went away quickly. I realized I was not that same person and I had come so far, including a very successful career. I went back to the reunion and was complemented left and right for how good I looked, and was satisfied to see how many of my former bullies were gaining some weight and not doing nearly so well as they probably thought they would be doing.