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The Lifelong Effects of Bullying: An Open Letter

Posted: 10/18/2016

Dear Girls I Will Never Forget,

You may not remember me, but I recall you vividly. I was the overweight girl from a broken home in your neighborhood, at your school, and in your classes. I was the outcast. It is said that students who bully tend to try to control those with less power. If that is true, then I was the perfect target for your hurtful behavior. I would like to invite you into my life back then.

You began teasing me about my weight around age eight. This was the type of teasing many people still refer to as “harmless.” It is this kind of teasing most children unfortunately have endured at some time in their lives. I remember being 11 years old, not wanting to leave the house because your gang of girls would be waiting. Do you remember the day one of your fathers parked his truck in front of my house, with four of you in the back yelling out obscenities? Or how about the day you took chalk and wrote ”FAT” on the sidewalk in front of my house in bold letters. I remember this well. This is permanently etched into my memory.

What did I do in my life to provoke such torment? Absolutely nothing. And how did I respond to such cruelty? Absolutely nothing. Why didn’t I defend myself? Because I was overwhelmed.

Here is what you do not know about my personal life. I was abused and my household was in constant turmoil. I had no one in whom I could trust or confide in. As a refuge and sense of comfort, I turned to food to fill the emptiness. This was to be my demise. It became a vicious cycle where the more I was abused, the more I ate. No place was safe for me.

In 7th grade, I transferred into another junior high school as the district became aware of the bullying. There was a student who bullied me at this new school; yet without back-up, she left me alone. As the years went by, the abuse became less frequent. We entered into the same high school; you became cheerleaders, and I turned to drugs. My home life had become worse. I turned to anything in order to fill the emptiness inside.

I am now 46 years old and still struggle with my self-image and relationship with food. Those tapes still play in my head, voices taunting me over my appearance. And yet, I have become a survivor. Those voices have become dimmer and do not have the same effect they did when I was a child. I AM a survivor.

I would like to let you know why I have chosen to write this letter 35 years later. I want you to know the impact your behavior had in my life. I am a mother of 4 amazing, polite, kind, and compassionate children. My hope is that you are raising your kids to be kind. Maybe after reading this, you will teach your own children the impact bullying can have on an individual. If your children are being bullied, advocate for them. Love them and help them to see the value of their lives. I wish you no harm and forgive you for your painful childhood actions.

By: Anonymous

 
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