Yes, I was bullied in high school! And yes, that bullying led me to being authentic and using the factors that lead to me being bullied to be a successful author and public speaker!
No one wants to be bullied. In high school, we all want to be popular, have great friends, go to great parties and retreats, have crushes on cute guys, go on dates and dances, etc.
Unfortunately, none of that happened for me. I spent my high school years busy trying to fit in so that I could enjoy all those things that my fellow high school students were enjoying. By the time I graduated, I still hadn’t achieved what I wanted. I was bullied till the last day of my high school career.
I was bullied for being different. I was a refugee, I had a strong accent, I cared about things that weren’t in fashion, I had trauma I was dealing with and had to overcome, I spoke multiple different languages and I saw the world through lenses that my fellow classmates didn’t. The harder I tried to fit in, the worse the rejection.
I often share my “wig” story to my audiences whenever I’m invited to give a speech and this story is the highlight of my high school career! Yes, at one point in high school, I had to wear a wig! I wasn’t sick or anything, trying to be like everyone else eventually led to me losing my hair and wearing a wig!
I enjoy this story as much as the audiences do because it’s very funny, I have people laughing in tears, and shows how far we are willing to conform to what society has taught them is “cool” when in reality, everyone has his/her own coolness!
When I graduated high school, I decided I was going to do things differently in college! I was going to be myself! I would display all this coolness of mine… all of my refugeeness, my accent, my opinion of the world and current events, my outgoing personality, my past trauma and even share some of my humiliating stories of me being someone other than myself!
This was THE best decision I had ever made!
In college, I learned that not only could I be who I am, a MASTERPIECE, I could use my uniqueness to inspire others! I started doing public speaking and shared with classmates, conferences and several other organizations on the importance of diversity, respect of human rights, resilience, hope, faith, acceptance, etc.
I was invited to symposiums, to the United Nations and interned high level places such as the Office of the New York State Attorney General Cuomo’s office!
I realized that I got all of these opportunities because of my authenticity! Because I was being MYSELF! There was no other competition.
No one could be Clementine except for Clementine and the world needed me! Why else would I be here if I wasn’t needed?
If I hadn’t been bullied and was easily accepted in the clicks in high school, I believe I would have lost some of my identity, and identity that I’m very proud of.
I thank and salute my bullies for allowing me to see how different I am! How special I am and how much impact and inspiration I can bring in this world!
As an author and inspirational speaker, I thank and salute them for helping me spread words of inspiration and be successful!