Dear school bullies
I wonder if you even think about or remember how cruel you were to me when we were in high school? I wonder if you realise the long-term impact that your actions and words have had on my whole life and if you even care?
Well, I remember.
I was always a quiet child and when I started high school I had come from a tiny village primary school. My primary school had a total of 52 children in the whole school. Whereas there were 26 children in my form at high school and eight form groups in my year, so it was a big shock. I was overweight and I had no friends as I only knew two other children in my year group and I guess I was an easy target. From my first week at high school, I was made fun of and it just snowballed from there.
I absolutely hated every moment of high school, I do not have one single happy memory of being there. I would spend my days at school constantly afraid of what people would say and do to me. Then I would go back to an unhappy home life where I was bullied by a step-father so for me, nowhere was safe or happy.
I wonder if you were one of the main bullies who called me names, tried to force me to pick up dog faeces or threw things in my hair in maths class. Or did you criticise my clothes, face, weight and anything else you could think of or punch me in the face for walking into the girl’s bathroom? The list goes on, or was you one of the kids who saw it happening but did nothing to help me?
I started smoking to try and fit in, I lost weight to the point that at one time, I was only eating an apple a day. Yet still, I was the subject of ridicule. In the fourth year which would have been year ten nowadays, I turned to drugs as I just couldn’t face the reality of going to school. By the last year, I barely attended which impacted my education and exam results greatly.
I would cry myself to sleep at night and get so angry and frustrated. I just couldn’t understand what I ever did that was so wrong to result in how I was being treated. There were more than a few occasions when I would make plans to kill myself as I did not want to have to cope with it any more, although I never tried back then.
When Facebook came out many who I went to school with added me as Facebook ‘friends’ and I accepted the requests as I didn’t want to look like I was being petty. However, when the invitation came for a social event for our year group reunion there was absolutely no way that I could attend. I would of rather stuck pins in my eyes, so of course, I did not go. What really annoyed me though, was that in a group chat, some people spoke of how ‘the people that don’t come are obviously bitter’ and there was a lot of talk about how we were all just kids being kids and that people need to learn to let things go.
That is really easy to say when you enjoyed going to school to socialise with your friends. If you were popular and never bullied. I challenge you to think about your own child now, would you say to them if they were being bullied at school to just get over it as it is just kids being kids?
I wish I could write this letter as a thank you for making me stronger but I can not. The only thing that I learned from my entire high school experience was to be scared of people as you can not trust them, they will hurt you. Even now, more than 20 years after leaving high school I still struggle to make friends and trust people and I battle with my self-esteem every day.
Yet, I have gotten where I am in spite of how you treated me. My husband’s support and love are what saved me from a very dark path and my own inner strength is what has gotten me to the point that I have a loving family, am nearly at the end of a social work degree and own this blog.