Bullies and new beginnings

CW: Discussion of Homophobia, Suicidal Thoughts

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Dear Mr Bully,

It’s been a long time, how have you been? I just wanted to tell you a few things, to set things straight. You might want to apologise, but don’t bother, it’s too late.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

I haven’t forgotten. I can’t forget. Sitting in my room and feeling my heart being crushed. Lying on my bed, looking at my reflection in the mirror, with hatred and disgust. I thought it wouldn’t get better. That this was all life had to offer. Depression has a cold icy grip that drags you down into your own virtual prison. It will trap you, you may break free out of its walls, or you may not.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

Stick and stones may break my bones, but your words are just as hurtful. I can still see you. Your words still echo in my ears. I hear faggot, and gay. Every time I hear that, I remember. I think of you. I remember, “You will amount to nothing, faggot. You are a nobody.”

Well thank you for pointing out my biggest insecurity, as if it was something I didn’t realise. As if it was something that I never anxiously deliberated over every single day. Thank you for crushing me, every single day.

“It’s just a joke, mate.” Every joke wears off eventually, so why could I not escape you?

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

Only my mother knows that I used to cry myself to sleep. But not even she knew that you pushed me to drugs. My body was poisoned by countless anti-depressants and mood-stabilizers.

Because of you, I was no longer in control. This was when I no longer hated you. I hated myself. Everything was grey, dark, hopeless. I was an empty husk of a human being.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

The war inside of me raged on. Each day was the same. Class. Recess. Alone. Class. Lunch. Crying. The torment never ended. It never stopped.

I ran away. Some nights I could barely sleep. Other nights, I wouldn’t sleep at all. Alone, in my thoughts… I often considered how easy it would be to end it all. Like blowing out a candle with a gentle breeze, my soul could have been taken away with the wind. On the train platform. In the bathroom. At the pier. On the bridge.

I used to hit things. Break things. I was already hurting. I was already aching. I was ready to end it. So why the hell not? I used to ask, “Why?”

Why me?

Why is this happening?

Why do I feel like this?

Why was it that everything hurt, and yet I felt so numb? No one had the right to look me in the eyes and say, “It gets better.” It wasn’t getting better. It was never going to get better. Life offered me nothing. I felt nothing. My razor was my only friend. He would make me feel alive again. I would cry, as I destroyed my body, but the tears would be washed away by a ruby red river.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

You are a schoolyard sadist. Vile. Pervasive. Insidious. Toxic. Poisonous. Vindictive.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

I am not your punching bag. I am not your release. I am not something that you can walk all over. I am no longer drowning in the cold, icy depths of depression. I am no longer paralysed with anxiety, unable to make friends. I have stopped building walls, and trapping myself in my own prison. I am no longer weak. I am strong. And I am never, ever, going back to that place.

I owe you nothing, but I thank you for everything. You cast me to the darkest part of my mind, and I dragged my way back. You drove me out of my own school, but I managed to create a life at a new one. For years, you made me feel worthless. I believed that I would amount to nothing. I believed that I would never have friends.

But walking those unfamiliar halls, on my first day, in my new school, I thought: “Freedom. I’ve finally been liberated.”

Someone walked up to me. He was tall, well-built, sleeves rolled up, buzz cut. My heart raced, I felt sick.

I hadn’t escaped. I could never escape. He opened his mouth, I flinched and he said, “Hi, mate.”

I can’t express how it felt. Someone treating me like a human. Like I deserved to be treated. And all he had said was, “Hi, mate.”

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

Because of you I have learnt how to love. How to love other people, and more importantly, how to love myself. I am grateful for every day that I wake up, and for every day that the sun shines. I am grateful for my family who I didn’t leave behind, and for my new friends who I have come to meet.

It did get better. The world became colourful again. My heart didn’t know how to love. I built walls and barriers, until I didn’t even love myself. But it got better.

*****

Dear Mr Bully,

You failed, because I am not what you tried to make me. I am a testimony to what you could not achieve. I am strong. I am worth something. I have friends. And I will be successful.

But I wonder, did you ever feel anything? Regret? Remorse? Pity?

Did you ever feel better about yourself? Stronger? Manlier? Respectable?

I believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps you might think it foolish, but when you’ve been where I’ve been, perhaps, when you need a reason to live, you might believe it too.

I also believe in swings and roundabouts. Karma is one cold bitch, but no one should be tormented as I was.

*****

So dear Mr Bully, this will be the last time you hear from me. It is true, however, that I was never your biggest victim.

Because, dear Mr Bully, your biggest victim will always be you.