Yep, you read that right. It’s not the day she stood up to me but for me. Now that I’m older and really get the harmful effects of bullying, I completely stand against it. It wasn’t, however, always like that. When I was in middle school, there was this girl in my class. I’d known her since the 4th grade, and she’d always been a little different from everybody else.
She tended to keep to herself and her recess periods were always spent rereading the same book she constantly checked out from the library. She didn’t really have very many friends, and I wish now I would have tried to be her friend instead of pick on her like everyone else. Now, my bullying of her wasn’t as cruel as some of the others, but it was still mean.
Every day after school she used to stand by the busses by herself, just doing her own thing. Then one day my friend and I decided to go over to her and pick on her. I honestly can’t remember what we said, but I know it happened more than once. Then there was a day where I misplaced a brand new bracelet, and I’d seen her near my things, so I immediately accused her of stealing it. It turned out I’d left it at home or something, and she was completely innocent. My pride kept me from apologizing to her.
Fast forward a bit, and I started getting bullied by this one girl. Her and her crew would make faces every time I walked by and would call me a loser. It got to the point where one day she trapped me in a classroom. Me being extremely claustrophobic, I started to freak out and beg her to let me out. I eventually pushed my way out of the room, and by the time I made it back to the main hall, the girl I had bullied was telling the conduct director what had happened.
She stood up for me! I was in complete and absolute shock. I didn’t deserve that. She should’ve walked away and been happy that I got a taste of my own medicine, yet she didn’t. Afterwards she even made sure that I was okay, and I thanked her. I still carry that memory of her with me to remind me of how horrible bullying feels and how the people you least expect are the ones there for you in your time of need.
She was the bigger person that day, yet I never got the courage to apologize to her. From that day on I never bothered her again, but I also didn’t defend her when others picked on her. She ended up changing schools, and I never heard from her again. Her name is Rebecca, and I am so thankful to have had her in my life to teach me so many life lessons that I still carry with me. I don’t know if she remembers me or if she’ll ever read this, but if she does, I finally want to give her a long due apology.
I am so sorry that I thought it funny to pick on you. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything when others mocked you or when they pulled down your skirt. I’m sorry I never sat with you during recess or asked about that book you loved so much. I’m sorry I accused you of stealing. I’m sorry I never said sorry – that it took me this long to say it. I wish I could contact you somehow and really apologize. Thank you for having my back that day.
While I learned many lessons from being both a bully and a victim, I really want to spread the message that it’s time to be much kinder and empathetic to each other. Don’t pick on someone just because they’re different or because everyone else does. Embrace those differences and speak up when you see someone getting bullied. This world needs more kindness and love – it needs more people like Rebecca.