My story began in December of 2012. I was a happy little girl with limitless dreams. I wanted to be a writer, singer, dancer, actor, doctor and Hannah Montana. I was unique with my outgoing and loud personality, which made myself a target for ridicule at an early age. For years upon years leading up to this December evening, I had been the subject to bullying. I no longer was the girl who loved preforming or meeting new people; I was anti-social and shut down. With days of feeling hopeless, scared and frustrated with who I was becoming, I soon began my downfall. Between struggling with day to day teenage hormones, school, parents and drama, the sadness and anxiety I felt was a hard burden to carry. I started finding any reason to stay home from school, as the school bell shot shivers down my spin knowing the war I’d be facing outside those classroom doors. Not only was school no longer a safe place for
me, but the internet were I found most of my support team, was filled with online hate from insulting comments on social media pages to anonymous attacks. I remember thinking, “if everyone thinks I’m such a bad person, maybe I am? Maybe everything they’ve said is true?” On December 3rd, 2012 while shaking on a bedroom floor, thinking that in this giant world filled with an unlimited amount of people that I was alone; I attempted to take my life. While laying in an emergency room, all I could hear in my head was the ongoing replay of the insults and jokes and I kept wondering, what comes after this? You hear all about the people that unfortunately lost their life due to suicide, but what about those who survived? Who did they become afterwards?
After my stay in the hospital, I wanted something good to come out of this. I contacted the Mayor of Airdrie, Peter Brown, to discuss an anti-bullying bylaw to help protect and educate the citizens of my city. Ever since, I became a vocal and proud advocate for anti-bullying and mental health initiatives internationally, speaking about my story and the stories of others at schools, colleges, events and conferences across Canada. I have been recognized on a international scale with the International Diana Award and Free The Children, Canadian Living Social Action Award, along with many others near and dear to my heart that I am so thankful to have gotten the chance to further my story and pass on the strength to others struggling. Although still recovering from the damage that the bullying did to my self-esteem and mental health, along with growing up with Borderline Personality Disorder, I have found my strength through the inspirational stories and unconditional love I have received over these past few years.
I am so passionate about my platform (anti-bullying and mental health,) because having dealt with these struggles personally and having seen many friends and parents lose their loved ones to the tragic reality of bullying and stigmatized mental illnesses, I am determined to be a light for those still struggling to open up about their struggles and be living proof that it does get better, through many bumps in the road, relapses and roller coasters rides of emotions, happiness will find you and you will find happiness through this.
Between creating an anti-bullying bylaw, public speaking and expanding my mission I have teamed up with many incredible organizations that believe the same values as I and want to change the world’s view on bullying and mental health, including Morgan’s Mission, Break the Silence, End the Stigma, Wear Your Label, and Bystander Revolution. I am so grateful to these amazing groups of people who continue to endlessly push for change all around the world. Whether crowned Miss Teenage Canada or not, I will continue my personal and public battle with mental illness, the stigma surrounding it and bullying in not only my community but our nation. I hope to use this opportunity of being a finalist to bring my passion towards my platform to light in the pageant community, as well as promote not only these organization to the best of my ability, but also our angels that had lost their fight with mental illness, and bullying, and give these kids their voice back. If crowned Miss Teenage Canada, I would be better able to bring this awareness on mental illness and bullying to a international level, while showing those that are struggling that no matter your self harm scars, bullies or demons in your head, you can rise above all these burdens and struggles, and become successful in whatever it is you’d like to do. I would continue my public speaking as Miss Teenage Canada and push for more support behind therapy for bullies, as I strongly believe this problem won’t go away until the bully themselves get the help that they also deserve.
I hope through my journey and future plans for change, someone out there can see the hope in tomorrow. As my favorite poet once said, “You are not weak, just because your heart feels heavy,” -Andrea Gibson, The Nutritionist. Today is just a mere day, and with that comes tomorrow. Tomorrow is a chance for a fresh start, a day to wake up and simply smile because you are alive and although that may seem like a burden now, you will look back and love every second of this life; all the good and all the bad. Some ask me, do you regret trying to take your life? And my answer is simple; I don’t. Without this sad event that happened in my life, I would never be the person I am today and with that I am eternally grateful for the life that has been chosen for me, and I hope one day you can all come to a point were you can look back and feel the same happiness.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through all the good and bad, the relapses and the achievements. I will never be able to repay you all for the love and support I am so blessed to have.
Miss Teenage Airdrie 2015