I Was Cyberbullied About My Nose—Here's How I Got Over It

For the first 10 years of my life, I grew up in a small town tucked away in a corner of Iowa that had the best snow days, the biggest backyards, and the coziest rocking chair in the world, which I’d curl up in with my grandma every weekend. It was the type of town where parents let their kids play in the neighborhood without a worry in the world until they were to come inside. Nobody was cruel or dangerous. It was truly a dream. So the summer before fifth grade, when my parents sat my brother and me down and told us we were moving to Phoenix, Arizona, a part of me was scared, but a bigger part was thrilled for the adventure. I couldn’t wait to move to a bigger city and make new big-city friends. What could go wrong?

I remember walking into my first day of school with my platform flip-flops and floral skirt ready to find a new group of friends to call home. It wasn’t long before I did—we called ourselves “The Ferocious Five” and coordinated outfits practically every day. I felt like the coolest girl in school hanging out with these bubbly, beautiful girls who everyone seemingly wanted to be friends with. We stayed close friends into middle school.

One night in seventh grade, during one of our sleepovers, a couple of the girls were talking about their boyfriends and asked me if I had a crush on anyone in school. I didn’t. My mom always told me I couldn’t have a boyfriend until high school, and I always obeyed. Just before the conversation ended, one of the girls said something I’ll never forget: “Shelby will always just be the ugly friend because she has a big nose.”

The Ferocious Five laughed, and I’ll admit I did too.