Hello, Well I guess this is my first blog. Sooo lets start with an introduction then.
I’m Amanda Kaye Hardiman, or Mandi. Whichever you prefer. And as of now that’s all you need to know.
Okay, so recently, I’ve become much more comfortable with myself. I’ve been forced to deal with things from my past that I never wanted to admit to or even think about. First thing was the Glee audition (link at the bottom) with the question “what was the biggest obstacle you’ve over-come”. It was easy enough to say “Accepting myself for who I am” and its the truth, but its still a struggle. Then my public speaking professor gave us a speech topic: “The most important thing you’ve learned in life thus far”. Okay. Not too hard, right? HA! In order to tap into this life lesson, my professor wants us to write about our most painful memory. Everyone has at least one. I have several: Leaving the Disney College Program i’m still crying over. But the most important thing that has taught me is “it really sucks to leave the best job/friends/place/home in the world”.
What I’m going to write about has been going on for years. Since early grade school from what I remember. It’s no secret I’m not the prettiest, or the smartest, or what have you. Every girl probably sees these insecurities in their selves. But from a young age I was bullied. I never came to terms with it because for the longest time in my head, if it wasn't physical bullying, it wasn’t bullying.
I was that kid with the gigantic glasses that covered half her face, chubby, and awkward, I loved to read, wasn’t very social, etc. You get the picture. In elementary school kids called me “four eyes” or “nerd” or i’d hear remarks like “there goes that fat girl” Yeah, it stung. But I was “tough” I shrugged it off like nothing. But it really hurt on the inside.
Then middle school hit. Only difference is the glasses were gone. I was still chubby, and still reading like my life depended on it. In a way, it kind of did. Books gave me an escape. I also found another escape. Music. I started playing the violin in the 5th grade, so being an orchestra dork just added fuel to the flame. By eighth grade the harmless taunts turned harsh, and sometimes even threats. There was way more than one occasion I would be walking home and someone wanted to fight with me. I just ignored it and urged any friend I was with (mainly Greg at this point) to do the same, though I was fighting back tears.
The first year of high school was probably the hardest. I started school a little early. So I was mentally a year behind. Freshman was the point of my real awkwardness and trying to find who i was and everything. Because of the people I hung out with, others thought I was a satanist (no one I ever knew has been. I am a strong Christian. It was the way they dressed) Taunts didn’t stop. My freinds decided they didn’t like hanging out with me. I remember it was the first time I broke down when I got home because I never felt more alone in my struggles. My uncle died and that literally tore my and my extended family apart. My grades sucked, my father was calling me worthless. My parents did absolutely nothing but fight. Everything from running away to suicide was contemplated. I’m sooo happy I was never brave enough to do it. Something in the back of my mind kept telling me there was a reason to stay where i was. Any adult I talked to about it all they would say was “You’re too young to be dealing with that” and that would be the end of it. It really tore me down to the point even talking to a person I believe to be in any aspect comfortable or seemingly comfortable with themselves would scare me. I couldn’t do it. I still have trouble making friends to this day because past experiences have made me such an introvert.
It wasn’t until sophomore year I started to finally find myself. I realized I loved performing. I loved acting, and forget the violin! I was a singer (or “vocalist” to the more picky……K students) I was finally where I needed to be. One of my best friends that year was a girl named Chrissy. She really taught me what a real friend was. I was really ignorant to that fact at the time. I thought I made plenty of friends in the arts (yeah, i didnt) And i started to build my confidence up to where the bullying stopped.
Well, or so I thought.
My junior and senior year i was in a class called “Drama Exposed”. It was a theatre performance class where the students would write/direct/act in short shows other teachers would ask for. Math, english, science, history, health, PE, you name it. Needless to say nearly everyone in the school saw us perform at least once. In my head, I was one of the funniest ones there. I did weird accents from British, Asian, Body-builder German, and one character where I was convinced Shriek from CatDog was my counterpart. Every time I stepped into a hallway, it seemed some stranger was telling me what a great job I did and how funny I was. For once in my life I felt good about myself. It wasn’t until way later that I found out through my sisters friends (who was a freshman at that time) we all had nick names. “The gay one” “The one with the beard” “The one who looks like shaggy” “The blond with curly hair” “The blond with short hair” “The one with the high voice” And yours truely with “the fat one” Cuz that label makes anyone feel good about themselves. And with other things going on at that time I just really did not care. The kid i heard it from was one of the jerks who picked on me from when I was little (before kindergarten), though he was 2 years younger.
But I was at that point where it just didn’t matter. In retrospect I was the better person. A better person than a lot of people I met in high school. (not all, mind you) I’ve never had to bring people down to get a laugh. I didn’t toss aside my friends like they were nothing. I shot for my goals and made it perfectly clear what I wanted to do with my life.
I was going to be on Television. Outrageous, right? Yeah, I’ll admit its a little out there. But lets remember I did end up working for Disney World. I have to have that “Dreams come true” mentality. But people have no idea why I’ve made goals like that.
Yes, It would be great to be famous. (thats at the bottom of my list)
Yes, the money
Yes, it would be fantastic to be known
Yes, I would love to have a job where I can just do what I love and make people happy doing it.
But in the end, I see all of these people making a difference because of their fan base and their able to do something about it
All of them have a voice.
Yes, I know everyone has a voice. And those voices get heard.
But not by many.
I want people to hear my story because I know I’m not the only one who’s been through crap like this. I want to be able to take drastic action to make and be the change I want to see in this world.
It amazes me that our generation has so many things we’re passionate about and nothing makes me happier than when I see people younger than me going out and saving the world, so to speak. Things like that made me realize there are amazing people in this world who do care.
And they outnumber the jerks by, lets say a lot. It gives me hope beyond anything I can imagine.
And now you all know why I am the way that I am.
I’m shy, crazy, timid, and brave all at the same time. I can be that awkward, scared girl still. But break down that wall you have a fighter.
V Glee Project Audition V