Sunday, June 05, 2016

An Open Letter to the kids I Bullied when I was a Kid

I like to think of myself as being a "good person".  I like to think of myself as being the kid who befriended the class reject in elementary school, and who sought out the misfits and the outcasts to be my friend in High School.  (I was probably a misfit and outcast myself and we banded together).  I like to remember the times I was bullied in middle school for being...new to America, for being tall...for being the new kid. 

But there's another truth about me:  I also engaged in bullying behavior when I was a child.  Twice. 

And this is my public apology. 

I don't have any excuse.  I was weak and I went along with the crowd.  I didn't START anything, but I sure did participate. 

There was a little boy name Laurence in Kindergarten.  We all ganged up on him on thew way home one day (yes I lived in a time and a place when Kindy kids walked to and from by themselves each day) and stood in a circle around him, taunting him.  Some of the kids took swings at him with their lunch satchels.  I can't remember if I did nor not.  I have no idea WHY we did that.  Picking on the weak one, I think. 

It is a terrible memory.  I did it, and I am sorry. 

The other time was a friend named Emma.  I was angry about something, and I went along with some physical teasing/bullying.  We grabbed her by arms and ankles and swung her back and forth.  Her skirt went up.  It was a bad day in her life. 

I did it, and I am sorry. 

If I could reach out personally to these people on a different continent and from a different time, I would tell them directly that I am sorry for my bad behavior.  But I can't.  All I can do is apologize publicly and trust that the principle of "we reap what we sow" will apply.  If it is any consolation, after sewing that, I reaped it, too.

My heartfelt apology is out here in the world now.  I bullied you.  It was wrong of me.  I grew up and I am sorry. 

3 comments:

Carol Campbell said...

Brava!!

ann lynagh said...

O that's sad but brave, very cleansing.How is your husband and family?

Ann,a reader in U.K.

RandomUserName said...

As someone that was systematically bullied throughout middle school, I'm glad you grew up. I was terrified of going to school every day. My bullies were all older, they were all of a different race than myself, and adults literally watched and did nothing. Nobody came to my defense. The other students were just glad it wasn't them- but I felt abandoned. I was called racial slurs every single day, I had food thrown on me at lunch, and I was physically threatened on a regular basis. My crime was, allegedly, staring at someone in the cafeteria one afternoon. They didn't even know my name and I never knew theirs. When I later read an account about one of the Little Rock nine and what she endured, I felt a great kinship with her, even though I'm white. I was quiet, I was younger, and I was an easy target. Kids can be cruel. Some learn that behavior at home. I have no doubt their families taught them to hate. It took me an extremely long time to forgive them and not automatically assume all blacks weren't going to do the same to me. These experiences shape us and have a profound effect on how we perceive the world. I don't view the world through rose-colored glasses and haven't since I was quite young. This world is fallen.