One look at 15-year-old Nixlot Dameus' Facebook page, and it's hard imagine he was ever bullied.
Except, Dameus was "beaten up every day" from grades 4-8, according to a fantastic Philadelphia Daily News feature."I started thinking about suicide," the Haitian immigrant told the paper. "I was into cutting (myself). I was really skinny and I thought, 'Maybe if I get bigger, they'll leave me alone.'"
Oh, he got bigger. Much bigger. Since channeling his anger over years of torment into "the iron," the Philadelphia (Pa.) Delaware Valley Charter School sophomore has captured nine bodylifting and powerlifting titles, including the National Gym Association's 2013 Mr. Philadelphia Junior Teen crown.
Dameus bench presses 340 pounds and deadlifts 456, per the Daily News, and he set a Pennsylvania State Coaches Powerlifting Association bench record of 275 pounds as a 6-foot, 198-pound freshman. According to the feature, he hopes to defend his PSCPA title later this month, repeat as Mr. Philadelphia Junior Teen in May and compete in the International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation World Championships in June.
As for those bullies? "I still see them," Dameus told the Daily News. "Now, they're trying to be my friends."
(h/t USA Today)