Hi, I’m Tami. I’m a Midwestern, country girl who grew up at the edge of the Appalachian foothills. I love where I came from, its people, and the values I learned there. However, in adolescence, I lost my appreciation for all of it when I was bullied.

For the most part, I enjoyed high school. I was an involved student. I earned good grades. I played sports. I had many friends. As a leader, I felt loved and embraced by my school and community. There were only a few with whom I clashed.

Since middle school, my mean girl rivals, The Honeybees, had attacked my happiness, confidence, and achievements and harassed me with gossip, rumors, harsh criticism, name-calling, shoulder-bumping, and other relationally aggressive tactics. By senior year, their behaviors had become secretively sophisticated. To cope, I took the advice of adults and my peers to ignore the girls’ bullying, but there came a day when I had had enough.

After a rumor had circulated, I feared the ruin of my reputation, and I stood up. My reaction was a mistake that would forever change the course of my life and how I viewed relationships.

For the rest of the year, I was humiliated, betrayed by friends, and outcast. Gradually, I lost my health, my sense of belonging, my identity, and my heart for people. I even questioned the value of my life. Ultimately, I withdrew from school.

The shame of 17 lingered for years. The only way I would rediscover my worth, purpose,  friendship, and community was through Jesus. As I explored how he dealt with his bullies, I found forgiveness and love for mine.

I am now transforming my story into a memoir. I invite you to follow me as I draw upon scripture and the strengths and perspectives I gained from my experience. Whether you are/were bullied for your strengths or weaknesses, it is my hope and prayer for you to be lifted up here by the saving grace of Jesus.

I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2004, where I studied English, Journalism, and Physical Education. I have been married to my college sweetheart for eight years. We work together, coaching people through our home-based nutritional and leadership business, and we own a sports performance and fitness training company. I am a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. It is through faith and fitness I encourage others most.