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An Open Letter to the People Who Bullied Me in Middle School

To all the people who bullied me in middle school,

Middle school was an incredibly difficult time in my life, and I’m just wondering the point of everything I went through. Was there some greater meaning to teasing me in the hallways? Am I a stronger individual now that I can take what people say to me? I don’t owe you anything, but I decided to write you a beautifully written letter to explain the effect of the troubling years I endured in middle school.

Middle school seems to be the time everyone goes a little bit crazy. It’s before high school, when everything chills out a bit, and way before college, where you actually figure yourself out. There’s this awkward middle ground, in addition to the plight of puberty, that is encompassed in the awful period of middle school. Everyone’s body is going through weird changes, everyone's style is even weirder, and everyone's emotions are all over the place (shout-out to hormones).

There seems to be a sort of hierarchy that forms in the first year of middle school, and this is when the "popular group" is created and is automatically somehow “better” than everyone else. Looking back now, I am so thankful that I didn’t fry my brain before it had fully developed and that boys weren’t my primary source of entertainment.

What I am not thankful for now is the body image issues I developed from these awful three years. Fourteen years old is no age to feel like your body is inadequate because your body is never insufficient. Everyone is different and beautiful in their own way. I thought my body was a punishment for something I had done. Every other girl was skinny while I was the girl who was a little bit chubby and much more developed. This was a lethal combination in middle school, and being targeted because of it was an eye-opening experience to say the least.

All the people who pretended to be my friends and ultimately abused my name behind my back found their “friends” and became comfortable with them. I realized that the people you hang out with are incredibly important. They can help you strive to become a better person, or they can help you tumble down to their level.

At the University of Florida, I can finally say I have found the people who truly understand me and want me to succeed in life. I couldn’t have known what this actually looked like without the realization that there are many people who are out to hurt you. I'm at an extraordinary university where I'm succeeding with amazing friends and a family who support me. As cliché as this sounds, I had to endure the worst to appreciate the best.

My greatest advice to all of you is to look in the mirror and see what you are doing to people and what people are doing to yourself. Realize how your actions can impact not only someone else’s day but also their entire life. It gives me great pleasure to check up on the people who bullied me in middle school on Facebook, and see that I am currently doing much better.

At the end of the day, maybe I do owe all of you who bullied me something. I owe you a thank you for helping me be determined to be a stronger, more positive person than all of you. I owe you pity because somehow you wound up being in the same position you were when we were 13 years old. I owe you an apology as well: I’m sorry that you bullying me resulted in me being a better person and not succumbing to you or your mean words.

Sincerely,

The girl you’ll be working for one day

Photo credit: scaryforkids.com

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