SZA reflects on being bullied as a teenager

Will Heath/NBC

(Note Language) SZA is celebrating her third week atop the Billboard 200 with her sophomore effort, SOS. In an interview with People, she credits part of her success to being bullied in high school.

“I was bullied because I wasn’t quiet and I was awkward at the same time,” she says. “I wasn’t this tiny, sad victim, but I was more so attacked just because it was giving ‘What is wrong with you?’ energy.”

“I always thought, ‘Oh my God. I’ll never have the approval of anyone in life, this must be my defining factor, this must be the bottom line,'” she adds. SZA said over time she realized “that all the things that made me feel so lame were actually what made me into who I am.”

In SZA’s eyes, bad experiences, like not going to prom due to lack of friends or a date, actually worked in her favor.

“If I had such a fulfilling existence and experience in high school, I would’ve felt validated to the point where I didn’t need to do any more,” she explained. “[So] I just had to do more, I had to be more because I was, like, ‘This s***ty experience can’t be the end of it because if it is, I am cooked.'”

Nowadays, when there’s a lot going on and SZA needs to disconnect, she finds solace at the beach, through crying, meditating, going for a walk, eating her favorite food or simply praying and asking for God’s help.

She encourages fellow bullying victims to keep pushing because “it’s going to lead you to something, it has to.” SZA continued, “If you could hold on and just wait until high school is over … I promise you, none of those people will matter.”

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