Former bullied kids, what did your bullies do when they met you as an adult?

I know this isn't what you asked, but my view is from a former bully’s perspective… I apologise in advance for my former behaviour.

I say I was a bully but I was never really that bad. I've always been a well built lad, at six foot five from the age of about 17, so I just made use of what I had.

So anyway, there was one particular boy at my school, nothing seriously wrong with him, short, average looking, well spoken (I went to a rough school and this was a bad thing); he was just an all round average guy. For some reason there was something about him that just infuriated me, looking back on it now; I think it was that whilst I watched others bully the guy, he never ever stood up for himself, which for some reason pissed me off.

So, I made the next few years of the guy's life a living hell. I regret my behaviour every single day during this time period, I'd trip the kid, verbally abuse him; it got physical fairly often.

Towards the end of school my attitude had started to change, I was in reoccurring trouble with the police, to the extent that when I was arrested and taken to the station, the officers there knew me by name; even worse was the effect it was having on my single mother… I think I must have just realised it was time to grow up and stop being such an idiot.

At this point, I had a ridiculously low attendance record at school, so instead of bunking off and doing whatever illegal stuff I felt like doing at the time, I started going. I was still a bit of a knob to some of the other kids, but hey, it was early days. I managed to leave school with fairly high GCSE grades, in a class year that was branded “the worst in twenty years” with over 60% going ungraded or failed altogether, which I think made me realise my potential.

Amazingly, I got accepted into college… a good college as well. I now saw this as a chance to reinvent myself, none of my friends made the cut to get into further education; the majority failed, it was just me with the sky as my limit.

So, the first day of college arrived and I went to get the coach that transfered us to the nearby town, excited to meet my new peers and to start afresh. My heart literally stopped when I saw the kid that I had bullied for years, let's call him… Jeffy, stood at the stop, happy as hell with a great beaming smile on his face. He obviously saw this as his chance too, he could be someone other than my punchbag and free money source.

Where I had been concentrating on school for the last few months, I hadn't seen the guy literally at all; as he noticed me, his face dropped. I remember feeling absolutely terrible, no person should be made to feel like that, I had no right whatsoever to do this to the poor guy. So the first time ever, I apologised, sincerely apologised. Amazingly Jeffy accepted the apology pretty much straight up, perhaps partially due to fear, but I like to think it was because he could truly tell that I meant what I said. We even sat next to each other on the coach, and talked on the way there; it turned out that the damn guy had lived almost directly opposite me for the last sixteen years, I had had no idea!

From here, we generally sat next to each other on the way to college; on one of these such trips, I invited the guy round to play Xbox with me and a few of the lads from our old school. He didn't turn up. I didn't think much of this, so I went and knocked on his door thinking he had forgotten… it turned out, although I don't really blame him, the guy thought it was a trick, that me and the others were going to beat him up when he got to mine. Again I felt incredibly bad, the fact that I instilled such fear in him. I assured him, that wasn't the case, and that if anyone gave him any stick, I'd be there to stick up for him. Which was fortunate, seen as the other guys apparently try hadn't made the same decisions as me and pretty much immediately started to bully him… which ended with me getting in a tussle with one of my long term friends and throwing him out, I felt I definitely owed the guy that much.

From here, Jeffy was pretty much my constant companion, at first I took a lot of stick from my stupid friends (almost none of which I'm still friends with) for having him around, until they actually chilled with the guy and realised that he was a genuinely nice bloke, what they had taken for weakness was just absolute kindness, the guy was a Saint… it took quite a long time, but eventually, the lot from my area came to accept him. There was still an element of bullying, but it was more… a friendly type if there is such thing.

With myself, I still wound him up quite often, but it was because I was trying to get him to stick up for himself, it still killed me that he literally just took it… until one day Jeffy flipped the f*** out, and let me tell you; the guy had some serious bear strength. As I said, I'm a solidly built 6foot5, he was about five foot eight? But the tiny hulk literally picked me up, turned me upside down, then dropped me on my head. After this, he returned to his normal passive state, mixed with an element of panic as he apologised profusely; I found it absolutely brilliant, I was laughing as I shook the guy's hand, I told him it was a good thing that he had reacted that way.

Obviously from this point I layed off, I think he understood that he needed to do something about it if someone else treated him like dirt, plus the dude was hella strong and he had nearly destroyed my damn back. Ten years later, he's still my best friend, we rent a place together and he, for better or worse, takes no sh*t from anyone, even me.

I know you might see this as a twisted warped view of things, but he actually thanked me one day for the way I treated him, he told me that he had had depression probably from the way people treated him, including myself; but from being around me he learned to, well… grow a backbone. People no longer picked on him, he was more confident, he was a different person. He told me he was the happiest he had been for as long as he could remember.

Don't get me wrong, I regret the way I acted in my youth, but I've since turned it around, it took a while, yes, but I got there in the end. I often work as a volunteer in the local youth offenders centre to councel the kids there… most of my friends are now in jail or worse, and I could have easily ended up the same way… I feel if I can change the path of even just one of the kids, then it's worth my time.

Sorry about the essay, thanks for reading.

Edit: reading this back months down the line I've realised that the last part of this confession was very me me me, self centered sounding and to be honest it made me cringe.

I didn't actually mean that I was this great saviour that brought about change with the wave of his bullying hand… Or fist. No, what I meant to put across is that I was, and am, completely horrified with my past actions and my behaviour back then, I was a disgusting person that did disgusting things to the extent that I still feel undeserving sometimes of the good things in my life, for surely the bad still outweighs the good and more than likely will do even with me constantly trying for a very long time.

I originally was going to just edit the part of my answer that I dislike, but I found the idea of it dishonest maybe even fraudulent to an extent, so I've decided to leave it almost like a badge of shame.

This wasn't supposed to be a way to glorify myself as it ended up being, it was meant in the hopes to make people realise that there IS hope even for the worst of us. Hopefully to serve as inspiration for any kid that followed in my shoes and is looking to make a change, or the single parent like my own mother that's going through hell, sat up late at night wondering if the next phone call is going to be the police saying their son or daughter has been arrested… Or even worse, killed. This was supposed to be a message to not give up hope, that maybe that prick that picked on you when you were younger is out there and he's trying to make up for what he's done.

Of course no one can be perfect, our egos often rule our conscious thought, as proven above by the definite change in tone the longer my story progressed, and for that I apologise.

Thanks for reading an even lengthier explanation.

19 Replies to “Former bullied kids, what did your bullies do when they met you as an adult?”

  1. My bully when I saw him again on the street 20 years later crossed the street and hustled his ass away from my direction. That’s mainly because when this pathetic sack of goo tried to make his one and only attempt to bully me in junior high I performed a double leg takedown and proceeded to smack the crap out of him.

    I wore dorky glasses, played D&D, was a music geek, was a committed member of the Computer Club, and hung with the Mathletes and future valedictorians. I also attended wrestling camp since I was 4, took boxing lessons and dabbled in martial arts. I was never a top athlete – I was, after all, a bookish geek – but I participated. I was a decent pitcher, a decent linebacker and an OK playground/street basketball player.

    Bookish/shy/geeky teens/tweens and parents of bookish/shy/geeky teens/tweens: I don’t care if you have a distaste for pro sports or jock culture just find yourself a sport or physical activity and participate. Unless you want it to be, it is not about winning and trophies. It is about bonding with a team, with people you might never bond with otherwise, with pushing your body a bit. My high school was stratified along racial lines but my wrestling teammates were white, black, Hispanic and Asian. Some kid heckled me once in gym class and before I could handle it three of my wrestling teammates – two black kid and a Puerto Rican kid – surrounded him and forced him to apologize. Team.

    I know my advice isn’t going to miraculously solve the bullying problem. There are some vicious kids out there who will harass the stud quarterback. There are kids out there who for some reason or another might not be able to participate in sports or who have social anxiety issues or worse. Obviously these are the kids we need to reach out to and protect in other ways. But for the typical “awkward youth”, going outside of your comfort zone, joining a team and establishing some unique bonds is nearly a miracle worker.

  2. After going through some of the answers, I would conclude that bullying in the US and India is almost completely different.

    My family and I moved here (India) from the States when I was six years old. For my second grade I was admitted to a school with 26 divisions (or classes—each class had around 50 students) for each grade—it was very crowded, and a nasty culture shock for someone who wasn’t used to 13000 students in one building at the same time. Since I hadn’t gotten rid of my accent yet, it was something that differentiated me from the other students. For one year, I was bullied basically for speaking with an American accent, being quiet, and not being able to skate.

    After the school published the results of the final examinations that year, my class teacher told me (and my mom) to find a better school because I outscored everyone else, so there’s that. It was a nice moment.

    I changed schools before third grade started, and continued at the same school until 10th grade. To keep a long story short, by the time I was fifteen, my notebooks were being stolen because they were always complete, a few of my friends were ridiculed for hanging out with me, and I wasn’t selected for the school basketball team because the teacher let a student select team members (who does that?!) and the student and I had an ongoing feud over something that wasn’t much of a big deal anyway (I don’t remember what it was). I had even been cyberbullied by the popular kids in our class. When my parents went to meet the principal and guidance counselor of our school, they were told to ‘withdraw their child if they had any objections to the way the school was being run’. The only reason I continued going to school was because of the teachers, who knew what was really going on, and made it a point to stand up for me if they sensed someone was causing trouble.

    Three years later, I found myself to face-to-face with someone I’d taken to calling the ‘core bully’, since she was the one who’d made me feel the worst about myself. We were both taking an examination conducted by the IISERs for admission into seven of the top institutions (within India) for science education and research at UG level. I met Core Bully after the examination was over, and the conversation went something like this—

    CB: How many questions did you answer?

    Me: 47 (out of 60).

    CB: Oh alright. I answered 30.

    We went on to discuss how we had fared in other entrance exams (I’d taken a few for engineering colleges too), and from what I gathered, her chances of getting into a good college (to study medicine) were low. In India—at least for disciplines like engineering and medicine—the last levels of decent colleges are ones managed by states individually (colloquially known as ‘government colleges’). Otherwise you have to pay truckloads of money to private colleges just to get a generalized degree (MBBS) in medicine.

    When the results were declared, I got into IISER Pune, and her name was nowhere to be found in the list(s).

    The whole thing made me feel better about myself in a very weird way, but I got over it eventually because college was/ is too awesome to care about things that happened in the past. I’ve a lot of friends, and I love it here.

    In conclusion (apologies for the super-long answer), if you’re a bully, you might do well to consider the consequences of your actions. If you’re being hurt or abused in ways that make you want to hurt another person, talk to an adult you trust about your problems before driving said person to the absolute brink of insanity. If you’re not being hurt or abused, the solution is simple—stop being an asshole to people just because you have differences, or because “it’s the cool thing to do, and everybody’s got it in for (name of person)”. If you’re being bullied, talk to your school’s guidance counselor, your parents, your friends (or relatives), a teacher, or an adult you can trust to help—if none of that helps, go to the police (with someone, not alone—although that might depend on your situation). Do not stay silent under any circumstance.

    High school isn’t supposed to be the best time of your life, and it does get better afterwards, so you don’t need to feel guilty if things don’t go according to plan (or if you have idiots in your class that pick on you).

    Cheers!

  3. A little bit different answer than the others…

    Precursor: I was the anti-bully when I was in elementary and middle school. One of my earliest memories of school was being on top of a mean kid that bullied everyone in my grade, punching him in the face. He had cornered my best friend outside the gymnasium and was smacking him in the face to humiliate him. I don’t remember how, but the next thing I knew I had him pinned down, whaling away on his face. I got in a lot of trouble with the school, they wanted to kick me out and send me to a ‘special’ school for juvenile delinquents.

    OK, on with the story.

    I had been away from my home town for about 20 years when i returned for a class reunion. I went out with my younger brother to a bar where he was meeting some of his friends. When we got there there were two or three guys that I absolutely had no recollection of, but recognized me immediately and seemed happy that I was there. After a few drinks, I fessed up that didn’t remember them and asked how they knew me. They revealed that they had grown up in our neighborhood and didn’t usually play with me because I was older. Apparently, there were some other kids that lived nearby from two families where all their boys were bullies, both in school and in the surrounding neighborhoods. They said that when they were 8–9 (would have made me 12–13) I took on two of the brothers at the same time when they were harassing a group of kids and that I, “beat the living s**t out of them”. They never bothered the kids in our neighborhood ever again and that I was like a legend in the neighborhood. While I remember always thinking it was my job to protect the littler kids (just like I did my brother), to this day I still don’t recall the incident.

    It was two days later that I ran into someone that I remembered from school that had become a professor at the local university. I got to talking to him about some of the people we both knew and what they were doing now. In the middle of our conversation, he brought up that he had always looked up to me because when he was in middle school, there were some high school kids that would walk through the middle school hall and push & harass the boys and be “uncouth” to the girls (would be sexual harassment today), grabbing their butts or pushing them up against the lockers and rub up against them. Apparently, I saw this one day and slammed some guy’s head into the locker and then punched him the stomach so hard that he threw up on the spot. I remember the kid (he was a small, mean kid. Still not sure how he got away without getting his ass beat for so long), but I didn’t remember this incident either. Apparently, the boy’s gym teacher saw the whole thing and grabbed me and took me to his office. I do remember being in his office and having him tell me that he was going to talk to the assistant principle (who was in charge of discipline) and that he would tell him that I was just standing up for myself (he would lie), but I don’t remember ever hitting the kid. Anyway, apparently, the word got around and the bullying stopped.

    I can say that meeting these people, years later, and hearing their stories, made my day(s). I don’t recall the incidents, which is weird, but knowing that I positively impacted some kids’ lives and stopped their harassers put a little pride in my step.

  4. I have several stories that answer this question, but one in particular has become my favourite.

    The Bully: Biff (not his name) was, as I remember him, maybe 5′8″, built like a brick ____house, maybe 200 pounds, and bragged often about his gym visits and various martial arts. He was also around 15 or 16, so shouldn’t have been at my current adult weight. He was one of a group of around 8 bullies who hung out together (I have a story about most of them as adults). He was one of the biggest kids in our year, and definitely the most “built”.

    He was the only bully I was actually afraid of. I was bullied by some of the others because I’d gotten in altercations with them (they won some, lost some, and they left me alone when there wasn’t at least two of them), but me and Biff didn’t really cross paths and I wasn’t on his radar. I considered him the only one I couldn’t win a fair fight to.

    The Bullying: Biff wasn’t picking on me, he was picking on a guy called Marty. Marty was mentally handicapped, and due to certain eccentricities of the local school system, was placed in normal classes.

    In graphic design class, Biff spent what seemed like an age whilst the teacher left us, prodding and upsetting Marty with slurs, shoves, throwing fake punches that stopped an inch away from his face, sexual questions, and referred to him singularly with the word “Retard”.

    “Hey retard, have you ever had a girl touch your retard d*ck you retard? Hey, why are you scared retard? Why won’t you look retard? *Fake punch* Why did you flinch retard?”. That sort of crap.

    Then someone who was the smallest guy in our year, barely 5ft tall, 100 pounds tops (<50Kg), after maybe 10 minutes of this stood up and yelled at Biff. I’m still ashamed that I wasn’t the one who stood up 18ish years ago.

    HEY! Stop! You can’t call him that!

    Biff turned. My friend Shane was going to get flattened. I might lose and bruise, but Shane doesn’t stand a chance.

    I stood up too. “No Shane, it’s fine. WE can’t call them that, but they can call each other that. That’s ‘their word’.

    Not a joke I find appropriate today, but when I was 15 it worked. Biff didn’t understand the joke, but the class did. Now everyone was laughing at him. Because of me. That he understood, and as intended his eyes moved away from Shane.

    Unfortunately the crowd/class reaction hadn’t shown him he was currently engaged in unpopular actions which was a distant hope I had. I awaited his attack, eyeing the chair behind me as a weapon, the table as cover, the route for escape.

    I was anticipating a punch, or a kick as he walked over. Not the scalpel he managed to pick up along the way and was now brandishing in my direction.

    I genuinely thought I might die (spoiler, I did not), and resigned myself to the fact that at least I died trying to do a good deed.

    You may recall I said he was the toughest in our year. That’s true. There were however, 3 more years above us. Just as he reached me he was side tackled by the toughest kid 3 years up who had witnessed this from the hall and Biff hit the floor hard, scalpel flying out of his hand. He struggled for a bit but a couple of slams back down and then up against a wall stopped his struggles.

    I saw what you were f***ing doing. If I EVER see you doing that again….
    I forget the exact threats, but they were irrelevant. Picking on the handicapped was a bridge too far for this giant, and he let the lesser giant know.

    Some of the other bullies rallied around Marty, and he became “untouchable” in a positive way. The leader of the bullies (Pouya, real name this time as he deserves credit), spoke out whenever anyone would pick on him and got them to leave him alone through careful high school diplomacy.

    I hated Biff though, and whilst we didn’t really cross paths still, he did make a couple of attempts. I tricked him into thinking the bigger kid was a friend of mine, (I don’t even know his name), and that calmed the situation.

    The Adult: I bumped into Biff in a bar I was performing at. I was wondering about what new material I was going to try out in my standup routine, and was going for a quick bathroom break before I had to be on stage.

    “Hey… Omar?!”
    “Oh… Biff? Biff? Biff?!”

    I knew what my new material was going to be. This sack of sh*t who thought it was okay to pick on someone with severe disabilities is about to have his comeuppance. That story is going on stage, and then the rest of the day is going to be a f*cking roast. They’d already asked me to fill in the time slot for two missing comedians so I’d have almost a half hour if I needed it.

    He’s still big, but the bouncers are bigger, and I’ve caught up by 50 pounds at this point. I’m going to decimate this guy. God I hope people are here who think they know who this guy is so I can tear down this facade.

    “Are you performing today?”
    “Why yes I am Biff, I’ve actually just been working on a bunch of new material!”

    *Snicker snicker* Oh god, this is going to be great!

    “Wow, I wish I could be that brave”
    “Yeah, you….. what?”
    “Yeah, I could never have the confidence to do something like that, I guess that’s why I was always such an ass in high school. I used to have so many issues with myself because of how much I struggled with school and my family, so I just took it out on other people. It’s all about confidence. If you don’t have it, you do anything you can to fake it I guess. You always had a confidence, like you didn’t care what people thought of you. It makes sense that you’re brave enough to do this”.

    Sonofab*tch.

    “Anyway, good luck tonight, I’ll be cheering you on.”

    I did a set about air travel or relationships or something. It went ok. Then he accepted my friend request on facebook.

  5. In high school there was a bigger kid named Jake who was a little tougher and courser and more worldly than I was. I was pretty naive about a lot of things and was terrible at sports and involved in theater and art and church. I remember dreading P.E. where he among others was a bit of a nemesis- teasing and saying derogatory stuff that made me feel pretty small at the time. I have no memory of physical bullying – mostly verbal – but it was pretty much throughout high school. Truly dreaded seeing him and his friends my entire high school career.

    At the first 5 year reunion he was there and came up happy to see me- apparently completely oblivious to his past behavior and seemed a relatively decent guy. We had a nice visit like there had never been any issues. Over the years I have looked back on that upon occasion and it has made me reflect on the stories we tell ourselves. I had a sort of victim narrative going on in my head when I was young- it was certainly real and based on experiences I’d had, but I think he had a different narrative going on in his head about the nature of his teasing. I’m not saying the teasing was OK- as it was awful to deal with at the time- but I think perhaps my vulnerability magnified it a bit larger than it was intended. It is a complicated world and though it is easy to fill it with heroes and villains, the reality is a lot more complicated than that. If I had children I think the greatest gift I could give them would be to teach them to look past the facades, to learn to make friends, and to love themselves in a healthy way.

    This is not to give permission for kids out there that are truly doing awful things to other kids- I am just saying that it is complicated. Things are not always as they seem when you are in the midst of it.

    * * * * *

    Addendum: the number of people who have responded to this post has quite surprised me. The only thing I would add is that it is our job as adults to keep an eye out for kids who are struggling and to gently give perspective and an ear when we can. In the midst of the confusion of growing up, the clarity and love provided by the adults in a child’s life can make all the difference.

  6. Ugh, of all the bullies I had throughout school, I have only run into the ones from 7th grade on. Almost every single one of them hugged me as an adult. Without warning or consent. All of them tried to suddenly be my best friend.

    My worst bullies were girls. 2 tried, unsuccessfully, to bully me after I transferred to the school I eventually graduated. Unfortunately for them, by the time they started their games, I was an old hat at dealing with bullies(kindergarten through 6th grade), and over all of it. Yeah, after several years and schools worth of being the poor, only child of a single mother and a father states away, meh. It would still bother me and piss me off at times, but whatever, life has more than bullies and school, especially if you want it to.

    Heather was the preppy, “hot” redhead in school. She got psycho jealous that her boyfriend asked who I was because his mom and my mom were friends but he didn’t know who I was. She and her minions/cronies conspired to throw me into the boy’s locker room after gym class. Which in the end backfired on her when she got in trouble for it and her boyfriend dumped her. Years later, we worked together. My boss hired her, not knowing I knew her. She ran up and hugged me the first day we worked together. It was creepy, she was super gushy “Best friend” sickening sugary sweet to me. She then asked my boss to put us on shifts together so we could work together, so she could ask me for dating advice. When the manager of the place changed, I asked her to be transferred to a different location. It was not fun, but I had seniority so..Bye-bye bully.

    I ran into Jennifer one night while I was extremely intoxicated(I wasn’t driving, we had a designated driver) in a bar shortly after college. I think it was the 3rd bar my group and I had been in. I had just crossed the mosh pit on my way to the bar when this chick grabbed me and hugged me. I shoved her off, and she acted all hurt I didn’t recognize her. When she told me who she was, well hell, even as drunk as I was, I didn’t believe it. She looked a decade older than me to say the least. But no time for bullies, Dr. Jones, there where shots on the bar with my name on them. Bullies don’t rate compared to shots.

    The ones who didn’t hug, were just as creepy.

    Like the one that invited me to a threesome with her and her husband. YIKES!

    Or the one I ran into in a bar bathroom, who flashed me her pierced nipple and started talking about how orgasmic it was to get.

    Honestly, running into them in adulthood was educational, if for no other reason than to be thankful I wasn’t them.

  7. I was never obsessively bullied, but I wasn't very liked by the popular crowd during school.

    One of the popular girls would make fun of me, for my clothes, for my car, for anything that made her feel good I guess. My family wasn't dirt poor, but we didn't have a whole lot of extra money.

    Long story short, 9 years after highschool I am depositing a check into my bank account. The ATM eats my check and ruins my hour. I go inside and who is working the teller? This woman.

    I was a nerdy kid that was a little overweight and who carried an ancient laptop (my prized possession), programmed games on his TI-83 and had a small collection of Magic The Gathering cards. I’m pretty good with faces, and she hadn't changed much.

    I on the other hand, have change a lot. I've filled out, I joined the Marines, I slimmed down and muscled up. I used my GI Bill and educated myself further. I focused on my career and my love life, have a gorgeous fiance and more self-confidence than should be allowed!

    She kept staring at me from around the corner of the bank until she heard me give my name to the lady working the front desk. Then she was friendly, strangely friendly, like hitting on me friendly. After she assisted in retrieving my check, I noticed she glanced at it and her eyes popped for a second. I’m still not rich, but I guess I make quite a bit more than her.

    I said nothing unkind, I was polite and took care of my business. I like to believe she learned her lesson, and realized that the guy who had no shot with the top of the food chain in highschool has climbed the social ladder.

  8. Cried.

    It was my 30th high school reunion. I’d been out of touch with most people, but had been friended by a few old classmates on Facebook. When they learned I’d be in the area on a book tour, they talked me into coming to my high school reunion.

    I was bullied quite a lot in junior high. My father had just become the head of juvenile narcotics in the local police department, so I started off poorly. In high school, I was in a car accident that fractured my voice box. I had scars and I whispered and spent most of my time in the hospital. Most of my bullies backed off, but one guy kept making my life hell. Before the accident, I’d been a singer…one of the things he liked to do is sing some of the songs I used to perform at weddings, etc, to me before classes.

    He never let up.

    I went to university, met an English boy, married him and moved to the UK. I spent quite a few years processing all the things that had happened to me in my teens. At one point, I had nightmares about this guy and the way he tortured me, breaking my things, tearing my books, making fun of my voice, etc.

    I woke up one night from a nightmare in a sweat. His image was still in my mind. I could see the clothes he wore and the desk he was sitting at and…and I suddenly realised that he hadn’t been very well off, economically. He used to say that he hated wearing coats and do without one in the very cold and snowy Kansas weather. He wore construction boots because he worked all summer on building sites. I didn’t exactly excuse his sadistic behaviour because I’d remembered the waffle-knit undershirts he used to wear every day…but I felt differently about him. He was a child and I was now an adult and he didn’t scare me any more.

    I said his name, softly, into the night and then said, ‘I forgive you.’

    I never dreamed about him again. In fact, I forgot about him entirely.

    At the 30 year reunion, we met up at a kind of biker bar that everyone said did very good burgers. My friend had also been bullied and we had a good shot of Irish Whiskey at the bar to steady our nerves before we went in. Some of our year were outside on big motorbikes, all black leather and bandanas…some were inside, mingling. We mingled. Everyone was really nice and I was surprised by how many people I remembered.

    Then it was speech time by the organisers, and the bikers came inside. My bully was one of them.

    He couldn’t stop looking at me. It took him a few more beers, but at last he approached and asked if he could talk to me. We turned aside and…he burst into tears. He started to try and apologise, but he could hardly speak.

    I couldn’t help myself. I threw my arms around him and let him cry on my shoulder. I told him about my dream and about forgiving him in the night, some twenty years previously, and he hugged me so hard…it had weighed on his conscience, that whole time. It felt amazing to lift that burden from him, to show him that I’d survived, I was okay, and I’d forgiven him.

    It was one of the best moments of my life.

    EDIT: Thank you guys, so much, for all your kind words and upvotes. I’ve had a few messages asking, and yes, I have written about my high school years…a fictionalised version is published later this month, it’s called Hospital High. Hope my story gives everyone a bit more strength dealing with their own challenges. <3 <3 <3 X M

  9. I have met several of my bullies since reaching adulthood. Some didn't recognize me or ignored me, either of which I'm fine with.

    One particularly mean redneck girl gave me mockingly superior looks and attitude and I ignored her. I went out of my way to smile and carry on with my naturally cheerful disposition, regardless of how she stared or what she said to/about me indirectly, like rubbing my positivity in her face just to watch her smug expression turn to disgust and walk off in a huff. Life is about enjoying the little things. \U0001f608

    The worst, by far, was a guy I had a huge crush on between the ages of 11–13. He was the first guy I had fallen for and I fell HARD. He used me and my completely smitten disposition to coax me into allowing him to do things to me that I was not comfortable with in middle school. Things of a sexual nature but not sexual intercourse. He would make me do them in class and I'm guessing since I was being sexually abused at home, I was a super easy target. I didn't even learn I could say, "No!” to sexual advances until I was well into my twenties. Basically, he would make me allow him to fondle me in class and unbeknownst to me, he would share this knowledge with other guys in class behind my back. I developed a horrible reputation as a result. I thought he genuinely liked me but was in no position to gauge what a guy acts like when his affections are honorable and sincere. I eventually figured out he was a creep but it took way longer than a girl who developed normally emotionally and psychologically.

    So I abruptly bump into him at a grocery store. For the first few moments he was nice and asked the normal questions. Then he made a sexual advance even though I had just answered, “Yes!” when he asked if I was married. I was rightfully offended and angry and let him have it. He responded by laughing in my face and treating me like I was a piece of trash that no man could ever really love or be devoted to. He acted as if I were stupid to believe any man would see any value in me at all and my marriage was surely going to fail. I walked away with him still laughing.

    I saw wholly for the first time exactly how ugly he was and I was in shock as I walked out that I ever loved him so blindly. My new found realization didn't stop the tears from falling and I spent several minutes getting my bearings so I could drive. I cried even though I knew he was truly the pathetic one. He lives a sad life with such a heart. Maybe some of my tears were because I realized then that some people never change, this world is an ugly place and that knowledge alone cripples me.

  10. I was bullied throughout middle school, junior high, and high school.

    One girl specifically comes to mind.

    In middle school, she started a club called the “Courtney Robinson Haters Club.”

    In junior high, she started a rumor among the popular group that I was “easy,” so I started receiving horribly sexual texts from the older boys.

    In high school, she tried to have me removed from the “Worship Band” at our high school youth group, by telling leadership that I was a bad example because I was no longer a virgin.

    In college, I became a leader in that very same youth group. That was too much for her. She stopped coming to the church and I didn’t see her again for years.


    Just last year, I went to Taco Tuesday at the local Mexican food chain restaurant with a few of my girlfriends after we left our office jobs for the day.

    After we were seated, she walked up to our table. Her face froze as she registered who I was, then, hardly missing a beat, “Oh my GOD! Hi, how are you?? It’s so nice to see you again after all these years!”

    I nodded. “Hi, nice to see you too. Will you be our server today?”

    She answered yes, introduced herself to the other diners, and the service was stilted, but fine thereafter.

    I caught her glance at our table throughout our dinner; she avoided eye contact and looked away every time.

    She knew she made my life miserable. The aforementioned acts of bullying are but a small glimpse of the colossal impact she had on my life for almost 10 years. I don’t think she knew how to face that fact.

    Instead of saying anything about it, or making her life more miserable, I left her a respectable tip for the service provided, wrote “Good luck to you” on her receipt, and left her to her own devices. I do wonder how she slept that night.

  11. They were all extremely nice to me.

    Like, extremely nice. Like they wanted something from me. Or better yet, they were compensating for the way they treated me in school.

    It was really strange. I still don't know how to take it. These people were AWFUL to me. One even became my “bestfriend” – until last year. they would see me and praise how well I'm doing, how great I look, how nice I am. And generally be super nice to me.

    I never thought of confronting it or them. I just got on with life And forgave (most) of them in my heart. Because tbh if they weren't horrble I wouldn’t have been able to withstand a lot of things that life continued to throw at me. Seriously.

    Me having no friends in year 7 because of everyone suddenly hating me for the sake of it really did help me to prepare for being my mums Carer after her stroke. Or having people staring at me helped me deal with cameras as a model.

    The weirdest one was: the popular guy in school (most attractive in our year, only dated SUPER pretty girls) saw me, stopped the bus he was on and told the bus driver to wait. Ran up to me calling my name. I spun and was flabbergasted. He grabbed my hand and was like “you are so beautiful. You really are. ok?” Had he jumped back on the bus. I just stood there gobsmacked and whej the bus drove away I kindly said thank you to myself.

    Maybe it was guilt for bullying. Or even guilt for breaking up my relationship in school.

  12. Greeted me on the streets and wanted to stop for a chat but I ignored him and kept walking.

    Well, he is actually one of my best friend's neighbour’s friend (if that makes sense!) so he's always hanging around in the area, but I had been living abroad for a while so when I returned I went to visit my friend and that's when I sighted my childhood bully, while walking along a lane leading to her house.

    When I left my friend’s place, she walked me out of the lane and I met with him again. This time he turned to my friend – we all used to be classmates, and told her “I think she (pointing at me with his thumb) doesn't remember me because when I said hello earlier she ignored me, how could she have forgotten me when I have always been very friendly to her…” turns to me and says “don't you remember we used to just play and mess with each other when we were kids?”

    I turned to my friend, told her I'll see her again soon and walked off.

    I was the new kid at school, and I didn't speak the language well. He would spit on me and whenever I would try to wipe off the spit, he would call out to everyone and say “look everyone, she is racist! I touch her and she is wiping herself because I'm black” when what he actually did was to spit on his palms and then wipe his spit on me.

    He would called me names, break my things, hide my bag, touch me inappropriately, etc. After all this time, he hadn’t even realize he had been bullying me? He slept well during the nights while I was laying in bed, restless and dreading school every single day. There was NEVER 1 day when I wasn't bullied by him. He couldn't just leave me alone. He bullied me because I looked different, spoke a different language and was new to the area. My parents had just split up. Did he ever grow up enough after that to even look back and realize he turned the only statuary I had into hell?

    My ignoring him was the only and best reaction I could have offered him that day. He was sitting on the streets at an hour when people should be at work (my friend was at home because she works a night shift, and I had just returned to the country on vacation so I was ‘free’ -I no longer live there). So what was he doing sitting on the streets? Since then, I've been by several times to see my friend and he is always hanging out at the same place, be it day or night. I figure he doesn't have much in life and doesn't really contribute to society. Basically just a waste of space.

    I'm so glad that some people have had some type of closure with their bullies. I'm not a hateful person, I've grown up to be well-adjusted, educated and I treat everyone around me with kindness. But I can’t find it in my heart to forgive him, especially because he has no remorse and is oblivious to what he did. Any bully who sincerely apologizes deserves to be forgiven. Bullies who don’t even know that they are bullies are just hopeless cases, they don't usually ever amount to much in life anyway. We can only hope they don't breed and raise children, because they require life-long psychological rehabilitation.

  13. They actually found me on Facebook and acted like we were old friends… Funny how that works.

    (*Here's My Story*)

    I was never a bad kid until I started getting bullied in middle School. A 6th–8th grade facility around 1996/97. I had moved to a new town in Holcomb, Kansas and at the time didn't notice social status. The kids there started making fun of me and calling me a “loser” almost immediately. That's when I realized something was wrong… but couldn't figure out WHAT was wrong because I seemed perfectly normal, to myself.

    Home life was bad enough and the stress from both worlds was just too much. So… I tried not to let it bother me… but the bulling continued for the rest of the sixth grade year.

    The next year things took a turn for the worse when two girls joined in the reindeer games. Melissa Garcia and her cousin Vanessa Vasquez.

    They would push me in the hallways and into lockers, trip me and laugh when I'd fall, make fun of my clothes, laugh at my hair and my eyebrows… Yes… my eyebrows… I had very thick, dark eyebrows like Joan Crawford. I'd never tweezed bc I'd never even heard of it. I didn't understand what was wrong with my eyebrows or why kids were laughing at them but they did.

    Those girls tormented me. I would rollerblade up to the corner store and they would be there. Melissa would grab my shirt and fling me so I’d crash.

    Another fine afternoon I heard a knock at the door. It was a boy from school. Not a friend just a kid from school I knew of. I asked him what he was doing here to which he replied

    “So'N'so is at the park. He asked me to come see if you wanted to hang out.”

    I was surprised because I had just met so’N’so at the skating rink the next town over, like a week ago. Yes, it is a small town and everyone knows everyone, but I had know idea these two knew each other. I agreed nonetheless excited that someone was actually asking for me. I locked up and set out for the elementary school playground about three blocks away.

    When I rounded the corner of the school, my heart sank…

    Panic hit me like a ton of bricks… I stopped dead in my tracks as the horrible realization of my inevitable fate set in. There was no so’N’so and I … was trapped…

    On the side of the elementary school… feet in front of me, stood kids…

    A bunch of kids… a CROWD of kids…

    … and in the middle of that crowd, stood Melissa Garcia and her cousin Vanessa Vasquez… There was no ducking and dodging them this time, they had an army. I'd never out run them all…

    I stood there, frozen.

    I watched, in a dream like state as if looking through someone else's eyes, the crowd slowly closed in around me…

    Everything after that was kind of a blur. I'm pretty sure my brain has blocked it out as one last attempt at a coping mechanism. I only remember bits and pieces.

    They beat me up that day… while the other kids watched. And when it was over, I picked myself up and started walking home. Mom pulled up in her truck as I was walking, asked what happened and took off chasing Melissa's band of heathens.

    Unfortunately I was broken at that point. The next day the fight was big news all over school. I was crushed. How could they be so cruel? I was a loving, good hearted kid and they completely destroyed me. I started receding into myself. I became withdrawn from school. My grades started failing because of lost interest. I would hide in the locker rooms during volleyball practice because the girls would Spike balls at my head and I was eventually cut from the team for excessively missing practice. I started skipping class to hide in the bathrooms.

    The attitude of teachers and administrators started changing towards me. They had now labeled me “rebel” because of the things kids were saying and my obvious distaste for school. They started stopping me in the hallway questioning my clothing. Saying it wasn't school appropriate in some way or fashion. I had written my name backwards in bubble letters on homework and they labeled it as gang activity.

    I got expelled from school for writing a note to another student warning her of a possible beat down from another student. I was immediately called into the office and expelled for three days because they said I was involved. They put me in ISS (in school suspension) for skipping class. Where you sit in a 5×5 room, with carpet from floor to ceiling in solitary confinement. Your lunch is brought to you. You never leave that room and…

    Sorry, I'm ranting. Point is, I was never a bad child but with the bulling from kids and the now attitude of authority figures, I actually started believing I was. So I continued to act out.

    Until Ashley moved to town and things got better. I didn't feel so alone and the other kids didn't mess with me as much because I think they were intimidated by her. We became the best of friends and she helped ease the pain from wounds inflicted by others. We were inseparable for a year but then I moved and never saw her again. She was the only true friend I'd ever known, even to this day.

    It was a very sad day for me, but I left Holcomb and finished school in another town. I grew up and grew into my face, revealing visually appealing features and moved on with my life.

    Several years pass and Facebook becomes a big hit so I make a page. Then one day in 2011, I received a message out of the blue from one of the mean girls. They asked how I was doing, noted how long it's been and that everyone was trying to reconnect. Apparently a bunch of them had found each other and my name had come up…

    Interesting…

    I fantasized about Melissa and Vanessa being miserable, having horrible lives with seven different father's to their kids, still living at home and working as servers in restaurants to rude people who yell at them… maybe even kids with big thick bushy eyebrows… how's that for karma!?

    LoL

    We all added each other and caught up. Everything seemed all washed away like water under a bridge but there was a simple satisfaction in knowing those girls saw the swan I'd become. It was a greater feeling than the hatred I'd had. So I let things go. Let bygones be bygones and continued on with life…

    If I'd held on to that grudge, I never would have read that Facebook message. If I hadn't read that message, I never would have reconnected with that group of girls.

    If I hadn't reconnected with that group…

    I never would have known…

    That my best friend Ashley was in that group and I never would have found her.

    Funny how that works, isn't it?

  14. He asked me out. I shit you not.

    This jackass, whom I'll refer to as “Henry”, tortured me from elementary school until my junior year of high school. The only thing that stopped it was my parents sending me away to boarding school for my senior year.

    Starting in approximately third grade, Henry would make fun of my glasses and bucked teeth. Then he would rally his bully cohorts and they'd join in. It hurt my 8 year old ego so badly that I stopped wearing my glasses while in school and opted to squint in order to see the blackboard. (Interesting how my teachers didn't pick up on this or maybe they simply didn't care.)

    My teeth were very bad due to the fact that I sucked my thumb at night, perhaps until age 7 or 8. Henry would call me every name used for “rabbit” that you can possibly think of. I began covering my mouth when I spoke and refusing to smile for school pictures, much to the annoyance of my parents. In 6th grade, I was among the first of my peers to get braces and that spurred Henry on even more.

    In junior high and high school, the teasing continued and today it would be construed as sexual harassment: The women in my family tend to hit puberty quite late and let’s just say I didn't need even a training bra until high school. Henry and his buddies employed some seriously derogatory terms to refer to my chest (or lack thereof) and it hurt so badly that I would end up crying my eyes out in the semi-privacy of a restroom stall. I changed my wardrobe to include only baggy, unflattering clothes, but this was the grunge era, so no one thought much of it.

    As I mentioned earlier, my parents sent me to boarding school for my senior year. (I was acting out and it scared the crap out of them.) And shortly after graduation, I absconded to the literal opposite end of the country. Somewhere in the 4 years between leaving public school and returning home after sowing my wild oats across the country, I really came into my own, both physically and mentally.

    When I was 21, I was out drinking at a bar in my hometown and I'm sure you can guess who I ran into. I finally had breasts, hips, long blonde hair, and the confidence that goes with those attributes. I was no longer ashamed, self conscious, or intimidated. And Henry did indeed approach me, strike up a conversation, and ultimately ask me out. Yes, he did know who I was. No, he did not apologize for being the bane of my existence for so many years.

    I politely declined, but I won't lie: the high from this encounter lasted for weeks.

    EDIT: I realize my story sounds a bit “90s teen movie” cliché, but it really did happen and I've found considerable solace in sharing it. Thank you for the upvotes!

  15. They thanked me.

    While I was in first grade, I was regularly bullied by two fourth-graders. And I wasn’t their only victim. They used to hit us just for fun, “confiscate” our pocket money, our snacks, erasers, whatever they wanted. (This was in the early seventies, and our top “gadgets” were fruit-scented erasers…)
    On the first day of second grade I met again our “favorite” bullies, now fifth-graders. They cornered me, asked me nicely how I spent the summer, then inquired me about the content of my bag and pockets. I saw a fist coming my way… The next thing I remember: my bullies lying on the ground, and me kicking them as hard as I could, where I knew it really hurts.
    We spent the next hour in the principal’s office. During the next recess, they had to promise in front of the school assembly never to bully, while I had to promise never to beat up bigger kids. “Unprovoked” — I added, looking up to the bloody-faced bullies. The principal and my teacher both turned around laughing… and didn’t make me retract that promise.
    I was never bullied again. And, more importantly, these two never bullied anyone again. Not that they weren’t tempted, but when a kid you try to bully laughs in your face, it becomes awkward… During the next four years our relation was limited to nods, maybe an accidental “Hello”, then they went to high school.

    I met them twelve years after the incident, on a bus. They immediately recognized me and invited me to a beer, than a party later that day. They were students at biology, and this was their last party before their final exams. This is how they introduced me to their colleagues:
    “This is Géza, a former schoolmate.”
    “The kid who bullied his bullies.”
    “Two guys twice his size.”
    “He broke their noses.”
    “And my teeth too.”
    “Yes, we were those bullies.”
    “Thanks to him, we stopped bullying little kids.”
    “We started torturing our books instead.”
    “And we ended up as students instead of jailbirds.”
    “Thank you!”
    “Thank you!”
    I was speechless.

    We became friends. I introduced one of them to his future wife, and helped (in fact just encouraged) both guys to get their current jobs. And they still thank me from time to time.

  16. Okay so I'm not an adult yet but it's been nearly five years since I left primary school where I was bullied.

    I have a very foggy memory of when exactly the bullying started but I never really ever had friends in primary school. I had to move after six years because it got so bad. The next primary school I went to wasn’t much better and I continued to be bullied.

    However I made some friends, and I'm still friends with two people from then.

    fast forward to today.

    I'm nearly 18 now and I've moved on. I felt ashamed of my bullying and I never told anyone about it (other than my parents). Bullying has a great effect on the victim and it lasts. I think a large part of my lack of confidence and poor body image is because of what my peers called me when I was younger. I have grown to learn when to stand up for myself, and despite losing many friends and having more bullying situations, I am much stronger now.

    I go to school with a huge majority of my former bullies now and I honestly don't think they fully realise their actions. They are still bullies but they're all in the popular crowd and largely ignore me. If I ever do get the chance to tell them what they did to me, I would.

    Funnily enough the only apologies I've gotten is from former schoolmates/friends who apologised for not doing anything about the bullying or for abandoning me. Their sincerity hurts my heart because I've learned that often the young children who don't do anything are often struggling themselves and they hold the guilt forever. I have forgiven those who apologised and I am still in contact with them.

    As for the bullies, I will not forgive them until they apologise. They continue to bully and make others lives a living hell. They clearly have not learned from their mistakes.

  17. We had a civil and pleasant conversation. He admired me, and I understood him. Neither of us ever mentioned elementary school bullying.

    Back in 6th grade I sat next to a very mean guy with top grades in class. He was my polar opposite. A lot of girls liked him despite he was rude to most of them. He was most teachers' favorite student since he was the top of our class. He was fairly good-looking with an air of confidence.

    He made my life a living hell by hitting my head with his books multiple times a day, making threat at me while holding a needle, forcing me to lick his desk clean when I accidentally spilled my drink, ordering me to sneak out of school to buy snacks for him despite it was against school rules, stealing my stuff, tearing my test papers into pieces, etc. He often said my mere existence made him feel like throwing up.

    While he was my major bully in 6th grade, I somehow thought I was indeed an inferior human being. I was unattractive, unintelligent, a stutterer and a loser. So I silently lived with all the bullying and seldom fought back.

    When we both left elementary school, he told me he was pretty confident that I'd achieve nothing in my life.

    “I’ll eat my boots if you miraculously get into a decent middle school!”

    Fast forward six years. By the time we both graduated from high school, I had turned my life around. I appeared on the local newspaper once due to my academic achievements. I was a relatively well-known person in my year. I was asked to give lectures to other high schoolers about how to study effectively. I participated in debate and delivered the graduation speech, and my stuttering problem wasn't obvious anymore. I was accepted by a top university.

    But most of all, in high school I was sort of a bully. I would make fun of the folks with bottom grades. I was pretty good with words so I'd lash out at whoever I disliked. I definitely made several people's lives a living hell. Though overflooded by all kinds of compliments, I felt insecure. I lacked self confidence. I kept feeling bad about myself. Despite the fact that I fully understood how much harm bullying would do to the victim, it actually made me feel really good about myself. It boosted my ego. At least it made me temporarily confident and satisfied.

    The satisfaction and confidence gained from bullying never last long. After they dissipated, all I was left with was emptiness.

    After high school ended, someone from elementary school decided to organize a bar night so that we could meet each other after all those years. I had lost touch with most of them already, and elementary school didn't leave me many happy memories. But I was so bored at that time, so I agreed to go.

    It was on the bar night that I got to see the guy who bullied the crap out of me in 6th grade. He didn't seem to remember at all that we weren't on good terms in elementary school. In fact it seemed he didn't remember what an average person I was back then.

    He came to me and smiled.

    “Hey, I read you from the newspaper a while ago. Congratulations on your admission to the university!”

    “Wow, thank you.” I replied, somewhat blandly.

    “It's brilliant. I was so honored when I told my friends that we used to be classmates and sat together every day.”

    So he did remember. He could probably still recall what we were like back then. I wasn't sure if he was aware of his hostility, that he had made my life a living hell, and that he had made me feel like an inferior human being for years. But I was pretty sure he had recollection of what type of person I had been.

    He just chose not to mention it.

    I felt I should ask him if he would eat his boots now. But I chose not to mention it either. Everything that had been hurtful back then did not matter to me any more, as he was inches from me, smiling and pampering me.

    “Wow, I'm flattered. But back then you were obviously the genius in the class. I admired you so much when you got full score in each math test. Because of you, I had even resolved to be a surgeon.”

    “Why?”

    “Because I really wanted to open up your brain and see whether your brain was structured differently from mine. Otherwise, how could you be the genius while I wasn't?”

    We both laughed.

    “Whoa, that's a long time ago. But now, unlike you, I wasn't even accepted by any big name university.” he said meekly.

    Our encounter was in fact really pleasant that night. We added each other on social media. Every now and then he would press like for pictures I posted online.

    Until today, neither of us has ever mentioned the bullying experience. We remain on civil terms. Now, he's just an average person doing a mundane job living a steady and peaceful life.

    The fact that I had been a bully in high school facilitated my understanding of his mindset in elementary school. It was pathetic when bullying was the only way someone could feel good about himself. In spite of the air of confidence he had displayed in 6th grade, I never really got to know who he really was under his façade.

  18. My bully asked me for help!

    We moved a lot when I was a kid, so I ended up being the “new kid in school” a lot. Sometimes it just lead to awkwardness. That one time it lead to bullying that just didn’t stop. I still don’t know why. I managed to get on the “it’s fun to torture her” side of the mean girls in my class, and by the end of the year it had generalized to pretty much everyone – even kids that wanted to be my friend had literally come up to me and told me, “I can’t be friends with you.” It was too dangerous to be seen being nice to me. I had become pure poison.

    The adults had no idea what to do with the situation. There were so many incidents, every single solitary day. They ranged from name calling to stealing my stuff, to physical abuse, to stupid things like jumping into lockers and acting “scared” when I walked by. Kids would act like they wanted to be my friend, then “psych!” and turn on me a few days later, just to laugh at me. I’d stand in line, and listen to them make comments about me behind my back. Bend fingers back. Kick me, trip me. Hit me with field hockey sticks. They ripped my necklaces off my neck. My mom said “just ignore them, they’ll go away” – know what, they don’t- they just get worse, and worse, and worse… I think I finally got them to stop when I started hitting back. But by then they had started spitting on me, so it was completely out of control. Word of advice – don’t ignore the bullies. Ever.

    So, for some reason I got it into my head to go to the high school reunion. I was actually looking for a friend I hadn’t heard from in a long time (she wasn’t there). The woman who had been the “ringleader” walks up to me. Hesitating. Takes me aside. Turns out she has been looking for me. Not only does she want to apologize – SHE has a teenaged daughter who is now being mercilessly bullied. Wants to know what to do before the kid gets suicidally depressed. Feels horrible. Needs help. Know what I did? Let her buy me a drink, and we went out on the porch and talked for over an hour. Hey, her kid was on the line! No needling, no rubbing it in – just talking! And I really hope it helped that kid.

    No, I never went to another reunion. On the way out, another “kid” from my past looked up from his glass and muttered his apology, “hey, whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, right?” I restrained myself, and didn’t dump my drink on his head. See? I can be civilized! (but someone ever says that to me again, I might not be!)

  19. For this, I will narrow the number of bullies and the years during which they bullied me by about 95% and give two examples.

    The first is a person called Brenda* and she bullied me horribly for my weight, poverty, intelligence (that one has always gotten me because she was significantly less intelligent than I, so what purpose is served by making fun of someone smarter than you? I dunno), lack of friends, whatever she could take aim at, really. This went on for years and she remained mercilessly cruel throughout school, with the bullying diversifying as we got older.

    I remember my attempts to learn to apply make-up. I was about two years behind Brenda and her friends' make-up skills because I'd never given two shits about make-up. What the hell did I care? I literally sat at a lunchtable with only guys. I hung out with guys after school. I played paintball with guys on breaks and weekends. The guys viewed me as just another guy.

    Hell, when I got twin black eyes playing paintball with my guy friends I was fucking STOKED. I earned the nickname Raccoon in-game because of those two shiners.

    (I was shot between the eyes by a friend on the opposing team. I was wearing a mask, but the padding on the goggles was degraded and Ronald* shot me from about 8 to 10 feet away.

    It knocked me on my ass, then my back, and all I could see through the fog of pain in my head was bright pink paint on the goggles. Everyone immediately called time and RAN over to me, circled around, and peeled the mask off my face. The shiners were already starting to bloom and one of the guys asked if I was alright.

    I cracked a HUGE grin and emphatically replied, “That was AWESOME!!” which freaked the boys out. They, after all, were bursting into tears when being shot in the arm or leg from 30+ feet. I became a legend. It didn't hurt that I naturally have INCREDIBLY good aim and I can move pretty fuckin' silently for a fat chick.)

    However, Brenda and her friends were absolutely heartless in their ridicule first of my black eyes, then later of my sad make-up attempts.

    About ten years ago, Brenda tried to reach out to me via private message on Facebook. I would have responded positively if not for the fact that she pretended nothing had ever happened between us.

    She literally claimed she hadn't been the one who psychologically scarred me over the course of nine grades. She denied she had ever done anything but try to befriend me.

    I told her she was nuts, that I still experienced nightmares over what she had done, and that I would be happy never to hear from her again.

    The second encounter with the second former bully was pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum. He and I delighted in finding we had mutual interests and hobbies, we offered condolences on losses, and we forged a bond that I'm thankful to say is still strong and supportive. I call him Moosh and he calls me Em. We're very close friends, and all because he had the balls to tell me he deeply regretted how he had treated me in school. He stepped up and took responsibility for his behavior, and because of that I developed respect for him and was able to forgive and forget. Now I wouldn't trade his friendship.

    If someone knows they fucked up, they will always earn points with me by owning it. That's what I try to do and I respect and appreciate when the same is done for me. Denying your wrongdoing just makes me want to go on pretending you were nothing but a bad dream, and because of that you are easily dismissed as such.

    But never forgotten.

    *Names changed.

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