My Buddy Project Experience

By: Madeline Bailey (@madddiemaee)

The Buddy Project connects people worldwide with the intentions to prevent suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders. What the Buddy Project and Gabby may or may not know is that it has done a lot more for me than just that.

This is how my story goes..

In the winter of 2013, a boy I thought was too good for me came my way. I knew better, but you know how that goes. I had never really been in a relationship before and I wasn’t entirely sure how to be in one. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I thought he was so sweet but it was only because he told me everything I wanted to hear. Unfortunately he was a liar, a cheater, manipulative, deceiving, and the list goes on and on. In the spring of 2014, the same boy who was “too good” for me walked away. At the time, my whole world ended. I was seventeen, naive, and “so in love.”

I instantly became depressed. I skipped my soccer practices, laid in bed all day, and did not really put in much effort, if any, into my school work. I remember one night I walked out into the living room and there was my mom crying in the darkness. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me she hated seeing me this way. I hated myself. I hated myself because I let my guard down. I hated myself because I let someone in. I hated myself for not being strong. I hated myself for being blind to what I obviously knew. I hated myself for letting a boy break me down. I hated myself because I let myself become “that girl.” You know how it is. There is always that one girl who dates a boy and you know how it is going to end. He is just going to break her into pieces and you just have to sit back and watch because nothing you say will change her mind. I became the girl that I told myself I would never become and for that I really hated myself.

It was a long, rough summer. At this point in my life, I did not really have a close friend. I mean I had people I talked to at soccer conditioning, but other than that I spent a lot of time in my room. Soon enough I found the Buddy Project on twitter. I was nervous signing up at first, but I have always wanted to help people and I saw this as an opportunity for me to actually do something. Like maybe I could actually make a difference in someone else’s life.

I signed up a couple of times actually. At the beginning I had two buddies, who both helped me in different ways. They both unknowingly gave me different ideas to things that ended up helping me. I began drawing and doodling, and then hanging what I would make on my wall. I started cutting pictures out of magazines and then turned those cut out pieces into collages. My bedroom walls became my art gallery, not only of my doodlings, but of my life. For me, there was something about making beautiful things that just made me so happy. My focus changed from being sad to wanting to create. I started writing a lot more too, but that’s a different story. I never did tell either one of them about the experience I had gone through because I did not want to talk about my issues and my problems. I just wanted to help and be there for them.

What an experience! Unknowingly these two girls helped me find myself, helped me to become happy again. I could never repay or even begin to thank them enough. (Big shoutout to Veah and Kim!) The Buddy Project helped me find these wonderful ladies, and I still know that if I need someone that I could go to either of them.

The Buddy Project did not stop here though. It also helped me find one of my soulmates. I signed up for the Buddy Project once again and found someone who holds a special place in my heart. We connected right from the start. The more we got to know each other the more we found out how alike we are. She is someone who has helped me through my silly little problems. She has helped me through my sad nights, my rough nights. She has given me advice on boys, friends, and life in general. She knows my secrets and my insecurities. She is one of my best friends. She is so beautiful, smart, and she is worth so much more than she thinks. Even though we live states away, I can always count on her to be there for me when I need her. One day we will finally meet and we will travel the globe together! I love you Liz!

If it wasn’t for the Buddy Project, I honestly can say I don’t know where I’d be today. This project gave me more than what I thought. I overcame sadness and I am so happy now. I found out who I really am and I love who I really am! I have confidence! I feel beautiful. I’ve met some amazing people and hope to continue to meet more. This project has helped me want to be a positive influence on others and that is what I will continue to do as best as I can. Thank you Gabby. Thank you Buddy Project.