Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dear bully

Dear bully,

You and your group of minions have been on my mind a lot lately.  I know it's been over 20 years since I saw you but there's not a day that goes past when I don't think of you and what your crew put me through.  Whether that be because of an article I read about the long term impacts of bullying or because I see the hurt in the eyes of my daughter when she comes home from school after being ostracized by a group of 9 year old 'mean girls', you seem to enter my mind more often than I would like.  I'm hoping that after I've written this letter that stops.

Although this letter is to you, I am also addressing your sheep.  The ones that weren't brave enough to stand up to you when you treated others like shit.  For obvious reasons, I won't name and shame but you're either A). reading this feeling really proud that you've managed to stay under my skin for so long, B). reading this and feeling remorseful and resentful and are ashamed of the things you're doing or C). not reading as you've moved on with your life and you probably wouldn't even remember my name.  My guess is it's 'C' as you would't remember my name as you never called me by my name - you always referred to me as 'fatty boom ba' or 'fat bitch'.

I actually spoke about you today to my best friend.  We were discussing the impacts of bullying and this is where your name came up.  I googled your name to find out what you're up to these days.  I find it interesting that you didn't become the successful television actress that you aspired to be but ended up behind the camera instead.  I find it interesting that you have written articles about a topic that I feel very strongly about - marriage equality.  I like to think that we have one thing in common that we want everyone to belong and treated as an equal.  I read your article with interest and I'm impressed with your use of vocabulary.  This was not a skill I knew you had given the fact that you only used a few words to describe me - ones that many mastered in Kindergarten and didn't feel the need to use so frequently as you did once they became an adolescent.  

Through my stalking skills, I have discovered that you research social and cultural norms in our society (past and present) and have written some captivating pieces full of long words like the ones that are scattered amongst the pages of my University text books (the ones that I am too afraid to admit I don't know the meaning of so I quickly google them to ensure no one identifies my flaws) and I see you've won prizes for your achievements and dedication.  You should be proud.  I found a photo of you.  You haven't changed a bit.  Whilst I don't want to sound like a bully and therefore a hypocrite, I do want to make mention that your nostrils are still rather large.  I remember how they would flare open to the point where I would wonder how many sultanas I could fit up them.  It's amazing the things that went through my mind when you were centimeters away from my face reminding me of how fat and worthless I was and this is why I had no friends.  

I want you to know that you put me through hell.  I want you to know how hard it was for me to come to school every day.  I want you to know that I have a permanent indent around my stomach from where I used to wear a belt in order to try and make a waste.  I would tighten it so hard that my skin would be itchy, red and blistery at the end of the day but at least when I put my hands on my waist, it would look as though I wasn't as fat as I was  I want you to know that I wouldn't eat my lunch because of you.  I thought this would make me skinnier.  I tried the whole vomiting thing as well but that wasn't for me. 

I wanted you to know that when I think about the time you locked me off the bus because if I was let on I would 'pop the tyres', I can feel my eyes sting when I try to hold back the tears.  If that wasn't bad enough, I can still remember the time when you asked the class to sing 'I feel the earth move under my feet' through the little bus windows as I headed to the office to call my mother to pick me up.  I failed the assignment that we were supposed to do as I never saw the play we were supposed to review.  In fact, it wasn't long after that I left that school.  

I've been bullied before but what you subjected me to was disgusting.  I don't even have words for it.  It was torture . You seemed to tap away at me bit by bit until I broke.  Perhaps if I'd broken sooner you wouldn't have kept going but because I was advised to ignore you or not to react to you as this is the only way it would stop.  I didn't react to you and I did ignore you but you were relentless.  You just kept on going and going and going.  And how I wish I had my time again where I would just tell you to shut the fuck up and just stop but I can't do that as the time has passed so I need to find a way of moving on and this is where this letter comes into play.

You and your friends are part of the reason I am who I am today.  You are the reason why I stick up for myself when someone is nasty to me or makes an unnecessary comment about my weight because I should have done it when I had the chance.  You are the reason I need to have at least 10 come backs stored up in my mind just in case some smart ass shouts something to me from their car window as I walk down the street because your constant taunts and bullying silenced me and I didn't know what to say.  You are the reason I turn Carole King off when I hear her song on the radio because I only hear your voice when it comes on the radio.  You're also one of the reasons I'm too scared to go to a school reunion.  You are the reason I'll never stand by and let someone do what you did to me.  

As hard as it is for me to say this and even though I've deleted and rewritten this sentence a good twenty times, I forgive you for the way you treated me and I'm hoping that I can also forget.  One thing I've learnt about bullies over my time is that they bully others because of their own insecurities.  Now that I'm older and wiser, I can only guess what yours were and I'm sorry for whatever you were going through at the time that made you feel as though you could treat me the way you did.  From what I found out about you today, it seems as though you were able to turn around whatever was eating at you as a teenager into something good and I hope that has made you into a better person.  I don't wish you any harm nor would I ever wish what you did to me on you but I do believe in karma and when your karma comes, I hope you think of me just like I have thought of you.


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