To the boys and girls who bullied me in high school. You know who you are.
I don’t where you are today, nor do I care. But every now and then, my mind selects a memory that I’ve tried to bury, and forces me to face it. And every now and then, there’s a memory of you.
Making a bitchy comment.
Pretending you’re my friend, then saying something hurtful to me, and disguising it with “I’m joking.”
Not standing up for me when other people were tearing into me.
I’ve forgotten a lot of the details, but there are still a few that have stuck.
Calling me a giraffe, because I had long legs, and a long neck, and I was taller than most of the other girls.
Calling me a man.
Laughing at me because I didn’t yet wear a bra at age 13. By the way, I’ve come full circle on that; I don’t wear one aged 30 either.
Sticking kick-me stickers on my backpack. Throwing mud in my hair from across the field.
Not waiting for me when I went to the loo, even though you promised you would.
Stealing my stuff, and then not giving it back to me when I asked you nicely.
Making fun of my unusual name, or sniggering when somebody else did.
Pretending you couldn’t hear me when I was talking.
Always leaving me out, or leaving me behind.
To the boys and girls who bullied me in high school. You know what you did, and you know who you are.
And I just wanted to say, in the 15 years since we’ve parted ways, I hope you now know what it feels like.
I hope you have learned what it feels like to have someone make you feel small and worthless, and like you just don’t matter at all. I hope someone has treated you poorly along whatever path you chose to take; just so you know how I felt all those years ago. I hope you feel guilty for causing so much pain and heartache in someone else’s world; someone who only wanted to mind their own business, and live in peace, and be kind to you.
I hope you’ve experienced what it’s like to desperately not want to get out of the bed in the morning and face a new day; because you fear what awaits you when you walk out your front door. And so, you hide away as much as you can. You try to make yourself invisible, or paint yourself so you blend in. You learn it is not safe to be who you are, because who you are is not somebody who is liked, or wanted, or accepted.
I hope you realise what you did was wrong.
That it’s not right to treat people like they’re shit on your shoe, or beat on the ones who don’t quite belong in high school. And if you have your own kids, now or someday, I hope with all my heart that you teach them to be better. Kinder. More loving. More accepting of all people and their differences.
I hope you’ve thought about me at some point in all these years, and wondered where I am and what I’m doing now. And I just want to say I’m doing great; like, really great. Maybe that’s why you felt the need to push me down all those years ago? You saw my infinite beauty, intelligence, and potential, before I did. You knew I was going to grow up and do great things, and you didn’t like that, so you tried with all your force to pull me down.
Well, guess what? It didn’t work.
I rose, and I’m stronger, more fierce and fabulous than ever before. I’m aware of my beauty, my gifts, and my flaws; and I embrace them, and channel them into all the lives I touch each day. I lead, I do not follow. And the very things you made fun of me for, are the very things that make me so incredible at what I do.
Each morning, I wake up grateful and blessed and excited to begin my day, next to a man I love with all my heart. A man who sees and loves me for all of me. A man who loves me bare faced with my geek glasses on, as much as he loves me with a face full of makeup and looking like a runway model.
Every day, I get to work on a new book I’m writing, jump on a call with a client I’m coaching, board a plane to an exotic island to host a retreat, or continue growing and tending to my business. I get to live anywhere I want, and get paid abundantly for the work I do. And life is more beautiful than my 12 year old self ever dared to dream it could be.
To the boys and girls who bullied me in high school: I don’t know where all of you are today, nor do I very much care. What I do hope, is you know what you did was wrong; and if you had the chance to make things right, you would. Because every now and then, I find myself thinking about you, and what you did, and how you made me feel. So maybe, just maybe, you think about it sometimes, too.
Today, I am releasing all the pain and sadness and anger that has lingered, and festered.
It does not serve me to carry it in my heart, and it is not mine to own. I forgive you for not knowing better, for not being better; and I hope with all my heart that you’re different today.
And if fate ever chooses for us to cross paths again, I hope you can find the courage to say the words, “I’m sorry,” and mean them.