Bullying blows, and it can really do a number on a person’s psyche well into his/her adulthood.
Just take Rebekah Prince for example. The now-37-year-old English woman was constantly teased for her “uncool” style, so much so that she eventually developed a shopping addiction so she would never be considered “unfashionable” by her peers. So how severe was this addiction? According to an article published by The Sun, Prince had a debt of nearly $250,000, which she spent on unnecessary clothing, shoes, and accessories.
“The cool kids at school were all in their Nike Air Max trainers, Kickers shoes and Kappa tracksuits,” she told The Sun. “It wasn’t that my parents couldn’t afford those labels, it was just that they didn’t put a value on brand names.”
She recalls many instances when her classmates would wait outside to circle her just to make fun of her clothes. But that all changed at the age of 13, when Prince’s mother copped her a pair of Clarks Wallabees. She was the first in her school to own the shoes, which quickly put an end to the relentless teasing.
“No one at school had them. But soon, everyone was wearing them,” she told The Sun. “Then the coolest girl in the school came up to me and said she remembered how I had them first and suddenly the popularity table was turned. The popular boys started flirting with me, the popular girls wanted to sit next to me in class and I realised the right clothes worked wonders.”
Needless to say, Prince became obsessed with flossing. At the age of 16 she landed her first part-time job at a nursing home—using every dime she earned on the newest and freshest gear, all in the hopes of keeping her classmates’ approval. But the obsession continued after high school. At the age of 21, she had accumulated over $30,0000 in credit card and store card debt. She says getting a higher-paying job didn’t help either—it simply justified her insane spending habits.
But everything changed in 2013, when Prince experienced a salary cut and was forced to re-evaluate her lifestyle.“I cut out Sky TV, lived off beans and dumped my fickle friends,” she told The Sun. “I realised I’d never find true happiness living the way I did. I was hurting inside.”
So what did she do? She decided to de-clutter. She went through all of her barely used belongings and sorted them into 16 huge bags. She had planned to sell them to a second-hand store, but was shocked at how little money she would get return. So she just gave most of it to charity.
“In many ways, it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said. “I find happiness now in friendships, festivals, running and fundraising […]I don’t shop away the pain any more because I’ve finally realised happiness cannot be bought.”