My cousin Alicia is extraordinarily beautiful. She has the sort of spark that ignites the air you breathe and makes you gasp with confused awe. With eyes fizzing like neutron stars and hair like a Caribbean sunset, her cheeky yet beguiling laugh is enough to send you dizzy.
But that’s not what she sees. Tormented by friends, bullied by her peers, ignored by teachers and abandoned by her father, Alicia sees someone who isn’t beautiful at all. Or wanted.
The real risk of bullying isn’t the bruises, or the intimidation or even the isolation. The most dangerous and profound effect of bullying is the way it shapes the way you see yourself. It’s the way it convinces you, after a while, that they’re right. It creates a mindset that perpetuates the bullying, long after the bullies have grown bored and moved on.
My beautiful cousin Alicia has struggled with depression, self-harm and panic attacks…
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