I’m no stranger to bullying.  When I was younger, it was unfortunately what I had to go through.  I didn’t understand it, all I wanted was to be friends with everyone.  But because I was different, because I had an opinion, because I was the tallest kid in the class, because I wouldn’t abandon my only friend, I was a subject to be ridiculed.

It was kind of dumb too.  People would challenge me to fights, they would call me names, tell me that they hate me and I should go die.  Who does that?  Who does that to an 8 year old?  Who tells an 8 year old to go die?  Who tells anyone to go die?

The one thing that I learned about bullying is that all it does is breed more hate.  Sometimes it’s hate for others, and the victim turns into the bully.  Sometimes it’s hate for yourself, because you couldn’t match their expectations of you, and you take that as an opinion of yourself.

I’ve seen it happen too.  I’ve seen bullying happen for the dumbest of reasons.  People getting bullied because of their gender choices, because they were the victim of something, because of the clothes they wear, because of the people they like, because of what their hair looks like, because they want to help others, because they want to succeed at something.

Why would any of these things be the cause of bullying?  Why would wanting to recover from an incident cause others to immediately put them down?  Why would someone wanting to express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable be the cause of ridicule?  Why would wanting to do the thing that you love be something to destroy by other people?

The simple answer would be because someone else did it to them too.  The simple answer isn’t wrong, but the simple answer needs to be longer.

All that bullying does is breed more hate.  When you take out your emotions on someone else, you’re lashing out at them.  Most people don’t understand the power behind their words.  Most people don’t understand that one wrong word or sentence can send someone else into a spiralling depression.  Most people don’t know that what they feel when someone else is attacking them that it’s not their fault.  Most people don’t know that the feelings of sadness and loneliness that they feel only spreads to those that they hurt.  Sometimes, most people are so blinded by the fact that they’re hurt that they don’t see that they’re hurting someone else.

Some people maybe enjoy that.  Some people maybe want to see others hurt.  I don’t understand why, I’ve been at the point where sadness envelopes you.  I would never wish that upon anyone else, and I will never understand the people who enjoy others in pain.

One thing that I never did was confront my bullies.  If they challenged me to a fight, I would defend myself, but I would never attack first.  If they called me names, I would shut the world out and draw.  If they made fun of the fact that I was always with my best friend and call us lesbians, I would just hold her hand more and we would go talk elsewhere.  But I do wish that I had told someone about my feelings sooner.  Maybe then it wouldn’t have been so hard.

For years I hated those memories.  For years I was hurt, and I hated myself for feeling so weak and helpless.  I believed the things they said about me, that I deserved to die.

But then I realized that they were wrong.  I didn’t deserve to die.  I had to learn to love myself, and tell myself that it’s ok to work towards something that I wanted to do.  I learned that there was so much more in the world that I had to do, and no on is going to hold me back.

So to those who were my bullies, to those who tried to beat me down:

I forgive you.

Whatever your choices in life are, I hope that you’ll hear these last words:

Bullying breeds more hate, but the hate stops with you.