An Open Letter to My Former Bully

Dear Former Antagonizer,

You probably had no idea you were bullying me. I think for you it was just part of who you were. You may have even seen yourself as the victim, because there were a few times when you tried to convince me I was the one who had bullied you.

But, in reality, you were the one who hurt me. It’s not fun being afraid of saying the wrong thing constantly or when I changed who I was because I knew you would tear down most things that made me inherently me. And you did all this because it helped you deal with your low self-esteem.  

I’m not writing this because I want to get back at you. You probably will never read this. But, in case you do, I need you to know this isn’t for you. This is for me.

This is for me because I finally feel liberated from everything you put me through. And for anyone who has ever gone through the same thing or is still going through it, know that this isn’t your fault and you are so much stronger than the person tearing you down.

It’s not fair to be body shamed in elementary school. It’s not fair to be ostracized weekly from your friend group because you decided you were mad at me and you made sure the only friends I had were your friends as well. And you made sure they liked you better. And it’s definitely not fair to feel like you’re unworthy of kindness because you’ve been told by the person who’s supposed to be your best friend that you’re not worth much of anything.

You pulled me in with your façade of friendliness, and then trapped me by killing my confidence and taking away my sense of self. You made me lose the person I was. But I’m getting her back.

My life became centered around you. We were “best friends.” But a best friend doesn’t keep you from being who you are because they’re jealous of all your talents. A best friend doesn’t keep you from being yourself. They celebrate you and all the things that make you unique.

I always get weird looks when I tell people I was friends with the person who bullied me. But at the time, I really thought that we were best friends. And it wasn’t until I finally got away from you that I realized what we had wasn’t friendship.

So I no longer remember you as a friend. You don’t deserve that title. And I really have moved past what you did to me, but the sad part is, I’ll always have the scars.

But I’m getting back to the person I once was. The one I locked away because you had damaged her too much. The one I tried to convince myself didn’t exist because that’s not who you wanted me to be.

I realized that you had low self-esteem and that you needed to feel power over someone else in order to make yourself feel important. It was not my fault that you were bullying me. You convinced me it was for a while, but in the end I became too strong for you to chain down.

In a weird way, I’m a little thankful for what I went through. I’m a much stronger person than I was before. I’m just a little quieter. But my confidence has been building back up. And this letter is to help me just let it all go, because you’re not worth thinking about anymore.

So I end with letting it be known that I’m becoming the person I want to be. And the battle I faced with you helped shape me and your harshness taught me the most important lesson I have yet to learn. That I have to love myself - because when you do, people can’t belittle you. They can’t make you feel worthless.

The way a person treats you is not a reflection of your character; it's a reflection of theirs. It's a statement on who they are as a human being, so don't ever let it define you. If there is ever someone in your life that is trying to keep you from being yourself, move on from them. No matter how hard it is to overcome that obstacle, you can do it.

We’re stronger than those who try and make us lesser. Embrace the amazingness that is you.

For everyone reading this, just know that you are an important and beautiful human being and nobody can take that away from you.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Can’t Be Taken Down