Unworthy confessions of a bully

So earlier today [much earlier] Chrisselle posted something about being bullied most of her life and it made me realize that now is the right time to share something I’ve been meaning to for a while.

Firstly let’s just define bullying as doing anything that breaks someone down and makes them feel less than worthy. Now, by this definition, we have all been guilty of bullying at one stage or another, what’s worse is that most of the time we don’t even realize it… we’ve become so focused on self preservation that we’ve completely forgotten how to be compassionate and care about those around us.

I’m sure people have said mean and hurtful things to me, but somehow I really don’t remember most of them. There is one I remember and well, I haven’t really spoken to my once favourite cousin since then. As for the rest, my mind has wiped it out, as a defence mechanism, about 5 seconds after they said it. Maybe it was that fact that I’ve always had a solid family support and surrounded myself with amazing friends, so it really does take a lot to hurt me. My friends always say that if someone wanted to insult me they’d have to put it on a huge neon board with spinning wheels and flashing arrows pointing at it or else I just won’t notice it.

Partially this is because I tend to believe the best in people, so when you say something that could potentially offend me, I tend to explore every option just to dig the compliment or well meaning thought out of your insult. And I’ve pretty much been comfortable with who I am since I was 6 years old. Obviously I went through a bit of confusion when I was 14 but that didn’t last long and again right after my dad died when I was 19 and wondering if my choices really were my own or simply just what was expected of me. As it turns out I’ve always lived by the same 4 rules I made on the play ground when I was 6 and the people who didn’t like it either removed themselves from my life or got removed by…uhm… unforeseen… fists.

The point of this post is not to brag about how perfect my life is but rather to confess. I’m pretty sure I was a bully at school. It’s not like I intentionally set out to hurt people or anything like that but being comfortable in your own skin has a way of making the people around you feel less than worthy simply because they haven’t found that confidence yet. And I remember being 12 years old and knowing exactly where I wanted my life to go and very above the pathetic “look he’s wearing billabong” crap. There’s this one moment I won something [ honestly cannot even remember what, was probably a math-olympics or long distance something] and I was surrounded by all these kids asking me questions and being all excited and I remember looking up and way over there on the slopes my 4 closest friends were sitting… Just sitting there patiently waiting for me to work my way through the crowd and at that exact moment I remember wishing I could just duck under this group of kids and just be with my friends, the ones who’ve always liked me not just when I win stuff.

My friends were awesome but we were all very different and had our strengths, I like doing a lot of things so more often than not, I would end up beating one of my friends, even if it was just 1 mark on a science quiz. I remember feeling incredible guilt over this during grade school and high school, which is why I started tutoring and it helped me feel like I was sharing my knowledge so I didn’t have to feel guilty for knowing stuff. This is not really where I intended this post to go but this is my defence mechanism kicking in; I don’t know how to say what I want to say without potentially losing any amount of respect you may have for me, so I attempt to bore you into not noticing my confession.

So here it is: whenever there was a fight [physical or verbal] on the play ground [even during high school] someone would come to call me and obviously I’d run towards the fight. In the beginning I’d break it up or simply just through myself in between the punches [being a girl and all, it had a tendency to stop the fight immediately] then I’d talk to them and all the rest. But in later years I didn’t even have to say or do anything, if they saw me coming they would disburse or even just the treat of me coming would end the fight. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t understand why they were so terrified of me. I can list the 3 physical fights I’ve been in, in my life and how that may have changed people’s perception of me or how I never backed down from a challenge or how I have the pain threshold of an African Elephant but ultimately I don’t think any of these things would explain why people feared me or had photos of me in their closets that they were throwing darts at.

My oldest friend came up to me once when we were about 11 and said: “I’m not your punching bag” And to this day, those words still haunt me and I still feel that sharp pain meets utter disbelief. To me it was a game and I didn’t think twice about it but to her, I was crushing her. I still admire the guts she had to say that to me. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not like she had to be afraid of me beating her up or something, but at that age you have a very set circle of friends and if you fight with one it disrupts the entire thing and you could end up spending your breaks alone. I hadn’t realized that I was hurting her and simply by having the guts to tell me that I was making her feel less than worthy, I stopped. As in: immediately, that very second! My friend was way more important to me than any game and we changed our friendship circle too. Which I was really happy about because they were running it like it was a monarchy and everyone had to bend to their rule, which did not sit well with me, so we started our group with the out casts.

It was a lot of fun! We always had the new person in school join our group so we were very different and awesome at the same time. I did run into trouble with one of the other groups’ leaders who all of a sudden decided she wants a bigger group and would like the new kids to join her. I found it pretty funny, like I would actually fight someone for the opportunity to be someone else’s friend~ people are not possessions, if you want to be my friend you’re welcome but I’m not going to treat it as a trophy that can be owned. The silly things we do as kids have a tendency to alter our lives far more than those test scores we spent hours preparing for. We really should spend a little more time teaching our children how to be decent human beings and a little less time pressuring them into being our version of perfect.

My parents loved me and I never doubted that for a second. My friends and I fought at times but when push came to shove, I knew they would be there for me, like I will always be there for them. Somewhere along the line, I hurt a lot of people simply by being me and as much as I would like to apologize for hurting them, I cannot apologize for being me. So all of you, who shared those years in primary school with me and hated me in high school, I’m sorry for making you feel anything less than worthy. I honestly never intended to harm any of you but I’m sure that you are stronger than the kids we were back then and I’d like you to know that you have shaped the person I am today. Because of you and the times I made you cry or burst out in frustrated anger, I am more empathetic and aware today. I’m still sorry that it took me this long to say sorry to all of you… I managed to apologize to a few of you before the end of 2005 but to the rest of you: anything I said that hurt you is not worthy of being remembered.

My deepest apologies,

AM

PS: if you’re being bullied or feeling less than worthy, talk to someone like DLYG or TWLOHA

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