Friday, May 1, 2015

A letter to my bully

According to a study done by the U.S. Department of Justice, 160,000 students do not attend school every day for fear of being bullied. Over 77 percent of students have reported being a victim of one form of bullying or another, which includes verbal, physical, cyber, or sexual bullying. And 58 percent of students report having been victims of cyber bullying.

            Now it’s time for the scariest of these statistics. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people according to the CDC. 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide with 7 percent attempting it. Bully victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. And at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

            Now it’s time for hope. I was a victim of bullying. I want to share with you my letter to my bully, with the hope that anyone else that has ever been bullied or find themselves today a target of bullying, will find strength in these words.

Dear Bully,

            There was a time I let you have power over me. I let you control my actions, my thoughts, my hairstyle, my clothes, my hobbies, and my feelings. I let you win and I gave you that power and control you wanted. I let you feel good and I let myself feel hurt. I cried every night and I dreaded going to school each morning, and every afternoon I couldn't wait for that dismissal bell to ring. Your words cut deep and I carried them with me every day.  For many years I lived in that fear you created for me.

I cannot tell you when I realized that it was I who was strong and that I had the power over my own life. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do…and that was to live my life. I know you probably still think about me today and try to draw power from the times you bullied me, to make yourself feel better. But I just want you to know one thing….I never once thought about you while I was in college. I never once thought about you when I walked across the stage at my college graduation to receive my diploma. I never once thought about you when the man of dreams got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I never once thought about you on the day of my wedding. I never once thought about you when I got my dream job and started my career.

I never once thought about you again until today and this is what I have to say to you….Thank you. Because of you and the words you said to me and the things you did to me, it made me a better person. You made me determined, resourceful, strong, resilient, grateful, compassionate, and empathetic. Because of you, it is why I’m standing here today, in front of all of these people telling them that you were just a small bump in my path through life. Even though at the time it seemed like I would never get away from you or the things you said, but in reality you were meniscal in the grand scheme of things. And now I feel sorry for you. You had to tear others down to build yourself up. I’ll never understand why and for that you have my sympathy.

            All those years I thought you had the power, but you actually gave me the greatest gift that power can give someone. You gave me the power of forgiveness and today…..I forgive you.

College graduate, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, social worker, and looking forward to what all the future has to bring,


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