Hello, it’s me again. Don’t you remember me?

I’m the tall, awkward girl who always buttoned the collar of her school uniform. Oh, you still don’t remember? I always got straight As and was one of the top scorers in the class. Remember you called me a nerd because of it? I definitely remember the time you plastered the word “NERD” in chalk all over my backpack. Still not ringing a bell?

Maybe this will help you form a clearer image. I had two frizzy braids that stuck up stubbornly, as if defying gravity. Don’t you remember that time in seventh grade when you took a poll in P.E. about how many people thought my hair sucked? I could never forget.

I can’t believe that out of all the people at our school, it was my so-called friends who chose to bully me. I can’t believe you lured me to your table under the pretext of playing Harry Potter and Pokemon, and instead played with my feelings and insecurities. I can’t believe that I trusted you with my secrets, told you my deepest wishes, only for you to ruin what could have been a beautiful relationship with my first love.

I should have known better. But I was 12 years old, for goodness sakes. When you’re 12, and auditioning for the lead in a class skit, and the people you thought you were friends tell you you’re too “ugly” to play the princess, it hurts. When you’re 12, and your friends repeatedly tell you that you’re uncool and only good at academics, it hurts. When you’re 12, and your friends play games with your self-esteem and isolate you and then return to you over and over again, you don’t know what to do.

But I do know what to do now.

Four years later, I look back upon the entire ordeal and realize that I want to thank you.

You probably just did a double take. This note wasn’t supposed to thank you; it was supposed to be full of angsty and aggravating things. Let me assure you, I really am grateful that everything happened the way it did back in middle school. For without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I wouldn’t be who I am today. It’s simple, you see.

If I never lost my self-worth because of the things you said, I never would have become this woman who is so empowered by her own self.

If I had never lost sight of my talents and strengths because of your jeering, I never would have understood where I truly shine. (Yes, it’s definitely academics. But as you can see from my Odyssey page, I also enjoy writing.)

If you had never criticized my “gravity-defying” hair, I wouldn’t have been as proud of my luscious, bouncy, Hermione Granger-like curls today.

You made me undergo a transition, a true evolution, where I shed my skin and my inhibitions, and allowed myself to transform into the young woman I am today.

I also know that you have been bullied in the past, but I’m glad that you bullying me showed me my own strength and my own determination to not let the cycle carry on. It’s like Taylor Swift (the same singer you belittled me for liking) says, “The cycle ends right now, ‘cause you can’t lead me down that road, and you don’t know, what you don’t know.

I will never bully someone, will never allow anyone to be bullied in my presence, and now, thanks to you, I know how to speak up. So, thank you, for giving me a shove, for compelling me to make a cocoon and emerge as a butterfly a few years later, a butterfly on the way to becoming the best version of herself.

I hope, and I pray, that you find the strength and goodness to become the best version of yourself too. I harbor no hard feelings anymore, I’ve let go of any pain I clutched to myself, let go of any self-pity.

I have always told myself that everything happens for a reason. Now I know the reason behind this.

And I couldn't be more grateful.

From the girl you couldn't drag down.