ASFO December Spotlight: Molly on Anti-Bullying and your outward appearace.

            Bullying is something no child should have to go through, and a lot of young people are subjected to it, sadly, every day.  While watching a recent special on TLC about a young man who took his own life after being publicly humiliated and outed by his freshman roomate, I got to thinking.  How much of bulling is because of the kid themselves, and their personality? And how much of it is because of how they look, maybe not just their face, but even their clothes. 
            I was bullied in middle school and even high school and I regret to this day not fighting back.  It took a toll on me mentally and physically even and was disheartening when I saw how much people wouldn't stand up to the bullies.  I will remember, until the day I die, a trip I took to Costa Rica, where one girl was relentless and would not let me see the end of it, day in and day out, ragging on my every move and nobody joined in, but nobody told her to stop, which was just as bad in my eyes.  It is a serious "crime" that a lot of young people get away with because their parent's see no harm in it and don't realize the damage it can do to a kid.   This blog is about helping young women feel better about their outward appearance, and have confidence to work what you have and not need to buy your way into looking good, which in turn makes you feel good.  Hopefully, in some far out way, young women learning to embrace what they have and make the most of it, can in some way prevent at least a couple young girls from getting picked on at school.

           Now, let's meet Molly.   We went to the same high school and she was in a graduating class below mine.  She was bullied growing up and I couldn't help but notice that she has grown up into a gorgeous woman.   So I approached her about speaking out about her story.  It takes a lot of bravery to share with everyone what happened, so let's see what she has to say about it and how her life on the inside and outside has changed since her days of being bullied.

So tell everyone a little bit about your personal experience being bullied..
I remember right when I moved to Oakwood and started going to Harman elementary school that I noticed I bigger than 90 percent of the kids there. I had just started first grade and I suppose that's when it all really started. I remember at lunch one day I asked one of my friends to open my fruit snack for me, and she took it from me and walked over to the trash can saying "no you're to fat for this." I've always thought that kids were just really cruel in elementary school. It seemed as if I was never good enough before I was chubby, and basically the only chubby girl in all of my classes which made it especially hard for me, I was always wishing I could be as thin as the girls in my class. It was weird but I was start trying to diet as young as age 9 because the boys in my class always made fun of me, and a lot of times the girls would join in just to get attention from them. The boys were especially cruel, they would call me fat and laugh at me at what seemed any chance they could get. A lot of times I would just go home and tell my parents about it and cry, asking them what's wrong with me, but they always told me I was beautiful no matter what. This definitely effected my outward appearance, I would try to dress in anything that was "in" at that time, but at the same time my self confidence was very low. Going out and getting new clothes was always my favorite thing, and wearing a new outfit to school would always bump up my confidence and make me feel pretty.

Molly as a young girl.
DO you think any of the bullying was strictly fueled by your outward appearance?
I believe that 100 percent of the bullying was fueled by my outward appearance. I have always tried to be as nice as possible to people, I'm not someone who believes that breaking someone down by pointing out their biggest insecurities will make you feel any better because at the end of the day all you did was make someone feel like shit. So yeah I always believed if I was thinner, had a prettier face, and so on that I wouldn't be bullied nearly as much. We live in a society that thrives on body shaming, whether you're slightly overweight, very overweight, or slightly underweight, or very underweight someone will always find a way to tell you there is something wrong with your body. There's always going to be one person who just doesn't like you no matter how nice or pretty you are.

When would you say the bullying stopped?
I would say that the bullying mostly stopped around 9th grade. I gradually started to gain more confidence, and started being more outgoing. My sister had actually started going to UC to study fashion design a couple years before so I would always ask her advice on what I should wear, or if this or that looks okay. I've always looked up to her, and wanted to be like her so I would just end up stealing her clothes and wearing them! Although the bullying had seemed to stop, last year it popped up again with a couple girls in my home ec class, they were pretending to have a conversation with me but I noticed the girl was actually taking pictures of me whether I was looking or not and laughing about them with the other girl. When I noticed what they were doing it brought up a lot of old feelings I'd get when I used to get bullied and for some reason just broke me down to the point I just left class and walked home crying. After that happened I just realized that those 2 girls, no matter how nice I've tried being to them in past, will never realize how much they can hurt people through the things they do. So I moved on and learned from that, along with all the other bullying experiences I've had.

So now that you are grown up and more confident with yourself, what advice would you give any young girls who might be going through what you went through?

The advice I want to give the most to young girls is that of course IT GETS BETTER, it always gets better. Elementary school, junior high, and high school are so tough when you're a teenage girls. There's always someone talking crap about another girl, and you just feel like you can't escape it, or that you'll never be good enough. But that's not true, don't base your life off your high school experiences, because for most people it just sucks. I realized that as soon as I graduated a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, I felt like I was free from all the people that had once made me feel bad about myself. From that point on, even if it hasn't been very long I have felt so much better, and honestly just more confident as a whole. Those girls or boys that made fun of you, are just insecure about themselves and hopefully will realize that. I know it's cliche to say "it gets better" but it's true. High school is a really small part of your life, so please don't let it rule it. Also every girl looks in the mirror and can find a million insecurities about themselves, but you can't let that take you over. Be confident with the body you have, it's the only one you get!

Obviously this blog is about fashion, your outward appearance takes a huge tole on how you perceive yourself and how other perceive you. If you are happy and confident on the outside you usually carry yourself with more poise and grace. What kind of things do you feel the most confident in now, or your go to pieces a regular basis?
This may sound a bit weird but I recently started working out everyday and eating healthier to make myself feel better inside and out. So at the moment I actually find myself most confident in my workout clothes! I always feel a since of pride wearing my sports bra and leggings and working my butt off to make me feel healthier and more confident! Other than that I love wearing Peplum tops, with a pair of skinny jeans, I believe they flatter any girls figure :). I also live in leggings during the winter, so basically if I find any cute top at Target or Forever 21 that looks like it's pair well with some leggings I gotta have it! During the summer though I LOVE dresses, I can never have a enough maxi or sun dresses!

Has growing up, and having more choices in what you can wear and what you are allowed to buy helped build your self confidence? 
I definitely love being older and having a million more choices of clothes to buy! I have a bit of an obsession with online shopping so basically whenever I find something I like I have to have it. Whenever I get a outfit and wear it out I feel like a million bucks! Clothes and fashion have always been a huge help to me when if comes to self confidence. When I wear a new dress or shirt I carry myself with more poise, and just feel plain cute!

Any advice to those girls out there who may not be able to afford the REALLY nice items, young teenagers or even the fellow 20-some year olds, on how to stay confident and look great on the outside?
When I was around the age of 14 and really started getting interested in my style, and buying clothes I would get really sad or disappointed because I never had any money and wanted a million things at the same time! Everyone wanted designer things at school, while I'm the youngest of a middle class family of 5 so I didn't get to have as many nice things as I wanted of course! Instead I would always go to places like Target or Forever 21, they're still my favorites. They both always have some of the cutest things for such low prices! I realized that I'd rather go there and get 5 things for the same price I'd be paying elsewhere for something designer! Plus I'd still have the same amount of confidence :). You really just have to realize that even if you can't afford all the things you want you can still look great!

So what are your current 3 favorite outfits you feel the most confident in?

My first favorite is my workout outfit! I feel my best when I'm working out so I thought I should chose this, it's just a neon pink top (I'm a bit obsessed with neon colors), leggings, and my super bright Nike's!

 My second favorite outfit I picked is a bit summery (because I like to pretend it always it no matter what the weather) but it's just a lace top with a silk back that has cute bows, and some light pink jeans that I adore!

My third favorite outfit is something I like to pull out if I'm going to a party or a nice event, it's a flowy white top, with gold sequin cuffs! Also just some jeans and sequin ballet flats :).

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