I know this is a solemn way to come back from my long hiatus, but this letter is something I have been wanting to write for a very long time. The reason why it took me so long to write because it is very personal and I was afraid of being judged but it something I wish to share because I know I am not the only person who has been bullied. Many people are bullied in their lifetime some more intense than others. The way I was bullied wasn’t extremely blatant to me at the time to be labeled as bullying. The things said to me were blunt and rude but always done in a joking way. It wasn’t until I sat through several therapy sessions that I realized I was bullied and it had significantly impacted my body-image and self-esteem. Writing has been a way for me to say things I could never say in person. It is time for me to let this go. I will never forget it, but I need to forgive them for my own sanity. So, these are the words I want to say.
To the Boys Who Bullied Me in Middle-School,
Yes, I still think about the things you said, even though you probably didn’t give your words a second thought. They have haunted me for a long time. I would have never called you a bully at age twelve because you were a boy. You were someone I was taught to impress. You called me fat. You called me ugly. You made fun of how slow I ran. It wasn’t creative, but it didn’t have to be I equated all of those words with worthlessness. Those words automatically translated in my mind were: you are worthless. Society taught me to pretty and thin to attract the male gaze. Just becoming a teenager, I began to find boys attractive. At the time, I may have thought some of you were cute and all wanted was your approval. A smile. A compliment. You called me names. While the other girls received your “googoo” eyes, all I could think of is I want to pretty and thin like them so boys would like me. I would finally feel worth something. It never ended. In high-school, I received some taunts from you still when we crossed paths but they slowly faded away as I faded too. I became nothing in hopes of impressing you and every other boy I knew. Finally, when I saw you nothing happened. You probably matured and realized your stupidity, however, I thought it was because I was thin and thin was beautiful. I went into treatment for my eating disorder and realized that the only person I need approval from is myself. I have to love the person looking back at me in the mirror. The things you said to me didn’t mean anything. You probably weren’t even thinking when you said what you said. You were ignorant middle-school boys. It wasn’t your fault that society didn’t teach you to hold your tongue. If you read this, I hope that you realize that what you did when you were young significantly affected me and you can teach your children not to say mean things to others because words actually can hurt. Your words still affect me today. Being in college, I now stand next to boys pre-occupied with the idea that they disapprove of the way I look. Our negative relationships in middle-school now cause me to feel significantly uncomfortable around guys since the one’s I’ve known since I was young constantly reminded me of my worthlessness. No this isn’t the sole reason why my self-hatred developed along with my body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorder but it definitely impacted it. It will take me a long time to fully internalize the facts I stated earlier. I can’t wait for the day I feel comfortable in who I am and I no longer seek validation from others especially men. Lastly, thank you for making me stronger. I have come a long way since my self-loathing middle-school self and one day I will be where I want to be.