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A Letter to My Former Bullies

I was naive back then, and you took advantage of my trust. It was hard settling among kids who already knew each other, and I considered you my guide, my friend through it all. It took me years to realize you were nothing but a spiteful and resentful person who preferred games and tricks to the friendship I offered you. You’re mistaken if you think I don’t know you only wanted me around for what I offered and not who I was. Helping you cheat on exams, buying what you said you couldn’t afford, covering for you whenever you snuck out of school. You were never my friend; this much I knew because when you had the “cool kids” around, you never missed a chance to put me down.

To the one who stole my diary, and read it out loud;

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Thank you. Not only did you show your true colours, but you also opened my eyes to people who could empathize. You allowed me to look beneath the surface of shallow friendship; all seven of you sat laughing underneath my favourite tree, quoting my own words at me. I was scared for my mother and her deteriorating health. A child’s fears weren’t anything to joke about, yet all of you guffawed as if I were a comedian and you, the ensnared audience. Not one of you bothered to ask me if my mother was alright. If you’re wondering, she’s still alive. Thank you for having me sent to the principal’s office. She was sympathetic, but she did call my parents because I penned “sensitive clauses” in a diary, because clearly, I was broadcasting my feelings openly. That wasn’t the case, you stole it from my bag and proceeded to share my deepest feelings with everyone within a one-mile radius. They had enough problems of their own, and you aided in adding me to the list.

To all those who loathed what little success they couldn’t sabotage from me:

I’m still standing strong and I’m better than ever. I’m studying what I want, enjoying my classes. I love all these extracurricular activities that are enhancing me as an individual. Helping people, working with various charities, standing in solidarity with those who need my help was always my goal and I have achieved it. I don’t know what you’ve been doing, we haven’t talked for a while now, but if you’re still as petty as you used to be and begrudge me my achievements? Then I’m sorry for
you because you’re still so stuck in your old ways. I’ve moved on from feeling sorry when you couldn’t get the part we both auditioned for, you did tell everyone it was because I was a relative of the drama teacher and not because i was better at it than anyone else. You hated my confidence, and I will no longer pay heed to your words about my “wrongful and unnecessary boldness.”

To the friends who still haven’t realized what an effect they had on my gradually decreasing self-esteem:

All you had to do was stand up to the teacher who refused to give due credit for my work. You shouldn’t have stood by when she belittled me for being friends with the lonely classmate, just because we were of the opposite gender. When I was humiliated for the terrible grades on our mock exams, instead of laughing or sneering, “You should have studied harder,” you needed to become cognizant of the teacher picking favorites and refusing to teach me like the rest of you. They labeled me as disobedient when they couldn’t understand what I meant, but you understood and told me to remain quiet. It would have been nice had you stood up to them for once. When you questioned if I could take on five A Level subjects at a time whilst smirking, it didn’t do anything other than make me doubt my own potential.

You’ve taught me so much, and a job well done. But mostly, you’re the reason I now have real friends. I was naive back then, but I know better now.

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