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June 11, 2015

Guest Post by Cole Gibsen --- LIFE UNAWARE

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The tables are turned when mean girl/popularity princess Regan Flay becomes a social pariah in LIFE UNAWARE by Cole Gibsen. Every mean thing she's ever written is posted all over the school, and no one will talk to her. Whether you feel bad for Regan or think she deserves what she got, it definitely makes you think twice about bullying --- the consequences, the hurt feelings, the lonliness, the self-doubt.

And author Cole Gibsen is no stranger to these feelings herself; as a high school student, bullying caused her to live in fear of a pack of senior girls --- and give up one of her favorite hobbies.

Check out Cole's blog post below, where she talks about her own experience with bullying, and be sure to check out her book!

 


My freshman year of  high school, I started a new school where I didn’t know anyone. As an anxiety sufferer, there’s nothing worse than being shoved into a building with 1,000 strangers. Because of my anxiety, I don’t make friends easily --- or in this case, at all.

So when I discovered we would be playing soccer during gym class, I was so relieved. I’d played soccer my entire childhood. I thought maybe if I proved myself on the soccer field, I could make a few friends.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Maybe I tried too hard. Maybe I stole the ball from the wrong girl. Whatever the reason, on the way back to the locker room, someone threw a soccer ball at my head. Hard. I turned around, hoping it had been a mistake, only to find several senior girls laughing and flicking me off.

Their threats became a daily occurrence. The very thought of gym class made me sick to my stomach. I’d fake sick so I could stay on the bench --- or even better --- at home. I didn’t bother trying out for the soccer team. I started to hate the very thing I loved.

Several years and a half a state move later, some girls invited me to play on an indoor league. Having not set foot on a field in nearly four years, I was excited. Only, the moment I did, I discovered my reflexes were no longer the same. My footwork, which was once so sure, was now sloppy. Embarrassed, I quit the team after only three games.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of player I would have been had I not given up on the sport I loved all those years ago. And that’s the funny thing about bullying --- the thing not often brought up. Those girls didn’t just torture me in during high school --- they made me so afraid I gave up something I loved…for life.

Now that I’m an adult, I’m not one to dwell on what might have been. But, I do have to wonder how many others out there have given up on their dreams and the things they love because of bullying. And that breaks my heart.

I’m lucky. I love my life and am surrounded by a very special tribe of friends. Still, I lived most of my high school years in fear. And it wasn’t until the day I stood up for myself that I finally crawled out of the darkness I’d been hiding in. Don’t get me wrong, the transition wasn’t instant, or easy. But by finally standing up for myself, I felt like I finally got to know myself --- not the scared girl I’d despised for so long, but the real me.

The stronger me.

The girl who’s no longer afraid to fight for the people and things she loves.


Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines. It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations. You can learn more about her at www.colegibsen.com.