When I was only in third grade, my biggest dream, my biggest life goal was to be popular. I would've done anything to be popular. I really wanted to have a ton of friends, I wanted to have everyone love me, I wanted to have everyone wanting to be me. I changed everything about my body and my personality just because I wanted people to like me, and I wanted to be "happy." Every time I looked in the mirror, I would tell myself, "You're ugly," "You're fat," "You'll never be as pretty as the girls at school." I would practice leaving behind my real personality, to act like the popular girls. I would exercise way too much. I would avoid eating over 850 calories. I kept doing all of this to myself, but nobody liked me still. "But why?" I kept telling myself. Then I pushed the limits a little further. I would only allow myself to eat 800 calories, and I worked out for 3 hours a day. I made sure I never laughed or acted weird in any way because the popular people didn't act like that. I began to hate myself. I hated myself because I thought everything about me was terrible, from my quirky personality to the shape of my legs. But I kept telling myself, "Soon you will be happy, "Eventually you will be popular, and have so much fun." Well, I kept telling myself this for 5 years, but I was never happy. I was never popular. And I hated myself.
In the middle of seventh grade, during winter break, something just randomly clicked. I don't know how, but it just clicked in my head. I thought, "What am I doing with my life?" "Why is being popular so important to me?" "What have I done to myself?" I then looked at myself in the mirror and told myself, "I'm so sorry for everything I've done to you, for everything I've said to you, you are beautiful, I love you." For the first time in my life, I loved myself. Since that day, I stopped trying to change my personality, I stopped my crazy diet, and I stopped crying myself to sleep. I just want to tell you, if you are going through anything that I used to go through, stop. Being popular doesn't matter. If these kids don't accept you for who you are, screw them. Start hanging out with people who love and accept you. And don't ever tell youself that you aren't good enough. You are good enough. Don't ever let people get to you. Love yourself for who you are. This is something I wish I would've known back when I was in third grade, when I let people get to me. When I let people's rude comments control who I was. Now, I don't care what people say about me because I love myself. I love myself too much to care about what other people think about me. I want you to know this, too.

xoxo, Gracie :)