Dear Middle School Bullies,
Well, hello there, how's it going? I just wanted to write you this nice little letter, just because I think it's important for you to know how you impacted my life, and I'm sure, many other people's lives. For some reason, you think a small joke is just that, a small joke. But when you do it all the time, it's not so funny anymore. Plus, you don't know me well enough to think it's okay to make fun of different aspects of my life that you know nothing, or care nothing, about.
I was 13! Everyone has their awkward stage at 13. Well, every girl, anyways. Yes, I had bad acne. Yes, I thought blue eyeshadow was cool. Yes, my hair was greasy, and yes, I was pretty gross. But you don't need to tell me that. I'm well aware that I look silly, so why bring it up? Don't you think I was already pretty insecure about my appearance? I thought I was hideous. I'm sorry I didn't have perfect skin. I'm sorry I don't look like a model, and I'm sorry my makeup looked clownish, but who cares? What do you know? No, I didn't wear Abercrombie or Hollister. I preferred to wear my Jonas Brother and other Disney shirts. Why should I wear those brands? Because that's what you think is "cool"? You think it's cool for a young girl to be constantly put down because of how she dresses, or just reminding her about the fact that she can't afford, or fit in for that matter, brand name clothes? How awful are you!?
I remember once, it was really hot out, and I was sweaty. We were on the bus, and you said to me, "Hey, Rebecca, raise your arms up." You and your friends were laughing at me because, oh gosh, I was sweating! Well, what could I do? I'm a human. We sweat. Contrary to popular belief, sweat doesn't just disappear. That was mortifying for me. Let's not forget about the glasses I wore; that was another problem you had with me. I wasn't athletic, I read a lot and I had glasses. I wasn't "cool" even remotely. I was a dork and you could laugh at me all day for it. Because of you, I didn't like eating with the rest of the grade. I would always go in the library and read by myself because that's where I felt most safe. Also, when I did eat, it was only Cheerios and water because, well, you thought I was fat. How does it feel knowing that you caused a young girl to be scared to go to her lunch period or to talk to anyone? How does it feel to know that you could have contributed to some kind of eating habit that could have progressed into something more? Eventually, it got so bad that I didn't even know how to take a compliment because I wasn't sure if it was genuine or not. "Nice shirt," or, "nice hair": that's what people would say all the time, and I know they didn't mean it. I still don't know how to take some compliments because I don't trust that it always has good intentions.
So, thanks to you, middle school bullies, there's always that part of me that is the scared 13-year-old girl who doesn't always trust when a person is being nice to you. I have to question myself and see if there was something about me that makes me so repulsive to other people. I'm still insecure, and when I look in the mirror at 21, I still think about that time when you thought it was fun to poke fun at me when at school. Yes, I read a lot, but it made me smarter, and now I have a 4.0 in college. Yes, I wore blue eyeshadow, but now I know how to use my makeup and make it look decent. Yes, I wore my Jonas brothers t-shirts, but now I like them even more than I did then at 21 years old, and I'm content with that.
So what? I know you don't care, and you didn't before, but don't pick on someone you know nothing about, because you don't know where that person will end up years from now. I took your small joke, and I turned them into something that benefits me. Yes, I still have many insecurities from back when you thought it was funny to pick on the quiet girl with glasses, and I'm making the best of it as much as I can, but there still are a lot of things within myself that I can't come to terms with, and I just wanted to thank you.
So, the next time you think it's funny how someone isn't wearing Abercrombie or that someone's reading and not playing video games, think about how what you say will impact their life, because it might impact it a lot more than you know.
That Quiet Girl on the Bus