I treat everyone equally. I grew up that way. I’ve always had compassion and empathy. To help you understand why, I’m going to share things about myself I’ve never shared.
I have two different colored eyes. Many people know that, but I’ve never explained why. I was born blind in my right eye. I can see colors but not objects. The medical term is “Amblyopia” aka Lazy Eye. My eye floats. You’d have to spend 24/7 with me to notice, but I can’t see with it. Unfortunately, my “good eye” started to decline in 2018 and is getting worse because of radiation treatments for my brain cancer. The condition is called “Optical Atrophy.” I have no peripheral vision. My brain is trying to adapt as it adapted to my blind eye when I was growing up.
I was bullied in elementary school because of that eye. I had to wear a patch over my good eye to strengthen the muscles in my blind one and center the pupil. It didn’t correct my vision but did center the pupil, so now the eye only floats occasionally. Kids called me a “pirate,” and I would come home crying and beg my mom to take the patch off. When I reached adulthood and no longer wore the patch, I was still made fun of by my so-called friends.
A few years back I was in an Instagram chat group with several girls. I can’t remember who they were making fun of, but it was someone with a lazy eye. One of the comments: “When she looks up at him to say ‘I Love You,’ which eye does he look into?” Everyone had a good laugh … except for me. None of the girls in that group was perfect, but all of them were cruel.
I don’t make fun of anyone. And I hope those girls read this, because they had no idea one of us suffered from the very medical condition they were mocking. I was bullied for other reasons too, which I will get into, but the situation with my eye has always bothered me.
I’ve worked as a model. There were so many times I heard “we could’ve used this photo if it wasn’t for your eye.” I started out with swimsuits and was published in popular magazines, but then I got into alternative modeling because my tiny waist was in demand. Another medical condition!
My whole life I’ve been extremely thin. When I was in seventh grade, however, I gained 50 pounds in a couple months. Italian food was a favorite in my house, and Fettuccine Alfredo was my preferred dish. I always ate a lot, so my parents thought the weight gain was because of that.
Again came the bullying. I was called “buffalo” and every other cruel name kids can think up. I became “Kelly with the eye, the walk (which I will get into), and the weight.” My mom was like “Shit! My kid can’t catch a break.” In middle school, kids are more aggressive, so I had to use my hands. I would get attacked by 5 girls at once. I held my own. Now I look back and I think what cowards they were. 5 against 1. I was that outcast that could be bullied in groups, but don’t catch me in an empty hallway ‘cause I got hands. No, violence isn’t a great solution, but when you are getting your ass kicked by 5 girls, you have no choice.
The bullying got so bad that my parents were thinking of pulling me out of school. My mom and I started jogging in hopes to get me healthy, but exercise wasn’t working. I was still gaining. Then one day I felt severe pain in my abdomen. My appendix had ruptured. I was rushed to the hospital and immediately taken into surgery, and my appendix was removed. I remember asking the doctor if I could keep it, to which he said no. He explained that my weight gain was caused by a slight tear in my appendix. It had been leaking bacteria-laden fluid, which led to swelling. My weight gain was actually fluid retention, so after the surgery I immediately went back down to my “normal” weight.
When I first started walking as a toddler, I walked on my tiptoes. That is often a red flag for many medical conditions, so my mom took me to a doctor. The doctor discovered I had severe scoliosis and my pelvis was tilted (which explains my small waist). My scoliosis is so severe my spine is shaped like an “S.” Because of the deformation in my spine and pelvis, my waist is much smaller than if my spine were straight. Yes, this is PAINFUL!
I also have Spinal Stenosis, Bone Degenerative Disease, and 5 Bulging Discs. My Neuro said the only reason I’m not in a wheelchair is because I walked on my tiptoes my whole life. In reality my “weird walk,” for which I was bullied, ended up helping me now. I do use a walker today because of cancer side effects. But back then, walking on my tiptoes made my legs strong. I played sports, and I used to blame my walking on a sports injury to avoid being mocked.
Because of my extreme thinness, my nickname in 9th grade was “Skeletor.” High School is a whole new level of bullying. I actually had a group of teens dump a bucket of chum—chopped up fish—on my head. I kept to myself mostly, except for a couple of friends. I read Horror Magazines and ate lunch alone.
In 10th grade I blossomed. I became “popular” and started to skateboard and go to punk shows. My new group of friends were the “Cool Kids.” Not Bullies. Nice. So I thought. But as an adult, I realized they weren’t the cool kids. I do have many good memories of those people, and the memories make me smile. I considered them friends—but they still made fun of my eye, and they still called me Skeletor and mocked my walk. No, they weren’t really friends. Friends don’t mock one another. They joke around, but they do not make fun of a disability. I wanted to be accepted so I chose to ignore the hurt.
So now that I’ve shared some of my past experiences with bullying, I will explain why I treat everyone EQUALLY and ALWAYS will.
I will continue this IMPORTANT message in the post titled: EQUALITY