A letter to my bullies,
I am up early this morning, I had a dream about one of you. PTSD is funny like that, it does not leave the past in the past, and when you have a dream like that you wake up and can’t go back to sleep due to the anxiety and heightened heart rate it influences. In all honesty I probably will try to go back to sleep after this letter, but I felt I had to write it.
It is Shabbat so I am not sure what I will do with this later. I have been debating publishing it in my new magazine, but I am not sure. I am almost unsure what to say, since we are all different people now. If you are wondering why I friended you on Facebook, it is because I truly wanted to see how you turned out. You see I had this hope that even if you bullied me that you became a better person. That now, you are a different person.
You probably did not know the other things that were going on in my life as I didn’t know yours. I realize that now but I wish someone told me that in the past. Maybe someone did, but my memory is not that good since I have suppressed most of my childhood.
All I can hope is that you became better people, you grew and now will have children of your own. I hope to see you thrive and to see you give love, encouragement, and also advice to your little you. I hope you are doing good in the world that made up for the bad. I hope that you recognize how you affected my life and maybe, others.
I realize if I post this letter, I would then be open for a response from you. The fact is unless it is an apology, I don’t want one, being as my brain is still too fragile with the small girl inside who thinks that you can still hurt me.
Did you know that I loved you regardless growing up? I loved everyone, I was brimming with love. One memory I do have as a little girl was getting all those cardboard Valentine’s Day cards and I was so excited to give love to people and to show my love for them, I handed them out to strangers on the street. My mom stopped me saying those were for you.
I happily gave out those cards, giving love to each one of you. That is how I felt every year going back to school, maybe it would be different. An optimism I’m happy I had and still do to this day. I felt maybe if I share my love with you maybe, just maybe you would give it back.
You see, what hurt most when you bullied me was not necessarily how you did it, though sometimes that physically hurt too, it was the hurt knowing how much I loved you and how I was not getting that back in return. It was knowing how much pure childish love I had for you and for the world. I am amazed at how I still have some of that and so happy I do when I am surrounded by people who don’t have that at all, who lost it.
I think I still have that even with PTSD and my childhood does haunt me with the possibility that things could have been different. Many times I wish I could have taken that little girl I was and hugged her, and told her you will be fine.
I threatened to commit suicide in fifth grade, I had told the vice principle that. Let’s just say, he was not pleased and I did not know what saying I wanted to kill myself or even the feeling of wanting to die was. I just knew I wanted it to happen.
It was too hard to see how cruel people could be. People who I had just naturally loved so much because you existed. I remember being mostly by myself growing up, having to be my own friend, telling myself stories, going on grand adventures in my mind because I had no one to play with. I hope you had someone to play with though and I hope you never experienced the loneliness I had.
I had to keep many secrets growing up including about you to make sure that you did not get in too much trouble. Yes I tattled, those are called whistleblowers nowadays, but I never told them everything. I never said how bad it made me feel, how lonely I was, or gave them any idea how much you hurt me. I loved you too much to do that. At some point though, I had to say something.
I have some vivid memories still, like when I asked in choir, a girl, why everyone hated me. She told me she would tell me but that I could not cry. Of course I said I would not because I still had this optimism. If I learned what it was, maybe I could fix it. Maybe I could become someone they could give love to. She told me, “You are ugly and stupid.” I did cry.
Another time people threw pencils at me. I remember the sharp tips cutting my arms hurting me.
I had counselors and therapists growing up, which is probably why I am sane and stable today. I remember one let it slip she did not understand why the whole class bullied me.
Writing this now I wonder if you bullied each other. That would be interesting to hear about.
I realize if this is public this is my heart here. But my heart has been ripped open so many times in my life and had been put back together that I think I can live through this one haha.
I think ultimately, by doing this, I share how the bullied are heros in some ways. How me loving each person who bullied me, how that actually effected you, my bullies. You see, I could have bullied back but what always stopped me was knowing you would feel bad. I even tried slapping my stuffed animals once to practice hitting back, but any time I hit a stuffed animal, I ended up hugging it and crying, not wanting to hurt them either. You see I could not hurt you because after it all I still loved you.
I hope my love for you helped you grow even if you did not help me. I hope you learned that people can just love you and be kind regardless of how mean you can be so you can see that if you just had changed your behavior, we could make this world a better place. I hope that you do. I hope that being older not that you feel regret, but that you learned something. That you learned even when you are at your lowest and you want to make someone else small, that that person can rise morally to show you that love is resilience.
I really hope you do have peace in your life, and that if you read this you continue to spread love to your kids and other kids. To teach your kids to spread love rather than hate because this world already has too much hate. I hope that you teach your kids differently and that your kids have a better life at home as well.
I do not know what happened in home life or at school with other kids, but I know or at least I still hold an optimistic point of view that you have persevered and by bullying me maybe it helped you deal with that. I still love you, that little girl in me won’t let me not and I hope you choose to make a better future and end bullying for the future of your children if not for yourself.
I hope this letter gives pause to people when we think about our culture in America, and how it needs to change. This is my story, but in many ways it can be many other children’s stories as well. We need to change this culture, to help create a better society, one is by sharing stories like this.