A Surrey woman details her difficult journey from bullied girl to beauty pageant winner

Kriti Chopra can vividly recall the days when she was bullied because of the way she dressed, spoke and her skin colour

Kriti Chopra: “I had never imagined that my elementary school years would involve me being tormented with profanity

Guest column by Kriti Chopra

“Kriti, you F.O.B., go back to where you came from, we don’t want you here.”

(F.O.B. means “Fresh off the boat.”)

I can vividly recall the days when I was bullied because of the way I dressed, spoke and my skin colour.

I moved to Canada when I was 10 years old. I had pictured myself going to a public school with no uniforms, meeting new people and maybe even becoming the popular kid. But, to my surprise, the new school, in Surrey, turned out to be my worst nightmare.

I had never imagined that my elementary school years would involve me being tormented with profanity, insults and threats from my classmates. For the next four years, I would spend my lunch time alone in the girl’s washroom, trying my best to avoid the bullies. I used to lock myself up inside the corner bathroom stall, sit on the toilet seat, curl my feet to my chest and count the minutes until the end of the lunch break. I was afraid I would be picked on and humiliated in front of everyone. I did my best to ignore it but bullying found its way to me.

I had an incident where my chair was smothered with ketchup. The “prank” was to have me sit on the chair and have my pants covered in ketchup so it looked like I had menstruation bleeding. If this wasn’t already enough, the very next day, two of the bullies came running behind me saying, “Hey alien, wait up!” and, me being so naive, I stopped. The minute they got close to me, they grabbed me by my arm and soaked me in Coke from head to toe.

Standing on the middle of the street with my clothes all stained with sticky pop, I could not move and cried out for help. Unfortunately, no one came to help me.

There were several other incidents similar to these, and they left me with no self-confidence, fear of meeting new people and trouble eating or sleeping. I started to believe that something was really wrong with me. The worst part was the fact that my teacher was well aware of what was going on but chose to do nothing whatsoever to help me with my situation.

I grew up believing that no one would ever fall in love with me and that I would be lonely. I felt worthless and believed I did not deserve any more than what I got. But now that I look back and realize ignoring the bullies and the bullying wasn’t the solution.

The following are some of the ways I pushed through bullying:

• Getting involved in the community. I can’t emphasize this enough, but volunteering can have a tremendous impact on building up one’s self confidence.

• Finding a mentor you can speak with. This can be someone who can understand the broader picture and advise you better.

• Remembering that you are enough and you have the capacity to do anything you set your mind to.

• Focusing on the positives and giving yourself time. Looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you are amazing, charming, lovable and caring.

• Finding hobbies that help you feel good about yourself.

Today, I am 21 years old and hold the title of Miss Heart & Soul 2016-2017 as part of the Miss BC pageant, held from July 3 to 5 at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley. I am so glad to say that I have overcome all the fears and anxiety that bullying instilled in me. Currently, I am a mentor for youth at risk and a crisis-line phone counsellor. I intend on becoming a lawyer once I am done my bachelor’s degree in business.

Kriti Chopra lives in Surrey. Her website is at Kritichopra.com.

 

Just Posted

Surrey Students NOW slate plans SOGI info session

Event aims to to ‘address concerns and misinformation about the resource being used in our schools’

Another Surrey mayoral candidate wants to ‘pause’ LRT plans

Hayne and his Integrity Now team join other candidates who aren’t sold on the city’s light rail plans

Teen stabbed at Surrey’s Unwin Park

17 year old was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

Cloverdale CHAMP celebrates War Amps on its 100th anniversary

Child Amputee Program provides financial and peer support

North Delta teacher nominated for provincial award

Seaquam Secondary’s Michael Iachetta has been nominated for his work on social equity in schools

Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

School, church and old mining site make Heritage BC’s 1st ever ‘watch list”

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

5 to start your day

Maple Ridge students send books to fire-destroyed school, teen stabbed in Surrey park and more

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Three people attacked on Queensborough Bridge

Man in custody following incident occurred Sunday

Cities make power play for new fiscal order with eye to 2019 federal election

Trudeau ordered Champagne to talk with provinces and territories about ways to “address the timeliness of the flow of funds” to projects.

Trudeau arrives at United Nations, hoping to re-establish Canada on world stage

Trudeau is beginning his day at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where he’s scheduled to deliver brief remarks later this afternoon.

B.C.’s FATSO peanut butter to appear on Dragon’s Den

The Victoria company will be featured on the Sept. 27 episode of the popular show highlighting Canadian businesses

Most Read