Facebook has made it so that people do not slip away from us. We may not continue to have deep relationships with some people but we can always check in and see how life has treated them. I have typed in names of people I have known at all times in my life. Elementary school friends to old colleagues. One night I decided to look up my elementary school bully, just to see what became of the boy who tortured me in school. It didn't take very long to find him. I sat staring at his profile picture. His picture brought with it memories I had filed deep in the back of my brain. I decided to message him so that I could let the fat girl in me have her moment of glory and ensure that he saw what a gorgeous woman I grew up to be.
A small back story to help paint the picture of my elementary school experience; I went to a small town school in South Jersey. From kindergarten to 8th grade the school's total student population may have been 75 kids. I was one of 2 "fat" kids and my bully was the only African American in the school. Life was very different for the two of us.
The following is the conversation that took place via Facebook. The impact this moment had on me laid to rest the sad, angry little girl who felt like her childhood was taken away by a cruel bully. I have not edited the text in any way. This is a direct cut and paste. My original message to him ended up not being apart of the messages between us. I don't remember what I wrote to start the conversation. (Names have been removed to protect the privacy of those involved.)
Me: Yea, I never forgot it either but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. There has to be that one kid that gets picked on in every class, it's tradition. At least now no one picks on me anymore You know what I remember most? I remember 4th grade when you didn't pick on me and we were really good friends. 5th and 6th grade changed all that but when you're nice you were a good friend.
You have to love Facebook...who knew I would find you of all people...
Bully: all i said was wowwwwwwww...i used to talk about u all the time...like yo it was a girl i picked on all the time i was so mean to her...but as i thought about..you were my scapegoat to draw attention away from me..i was the only black thing in there..it was wierd for me cause i was real bad b4 i came there..i want to appologize but i believe shit like that builds chracter n happens for a reason...i used to think ur soul haunted me with bad luck..i do regret it...you looking good now tho.
Me: You can take some credit for who I am today. You made me stronger because I had to find an inner strength in myself to not let you completely kill my spirit. I had self esteem issues for years, but now...I'm OK. Just as you said, things happen for a reason and like I said every school has to have that one kid that gets picked on. I'm OK with it having been me because I was strong enough to take it and grow from it. I'm a tough lady now
Thank you for saying sorry. It means a lot to the little fat girl in me. I understand needing to put attention anywhere else but on yourself. We had more in common than we knew as kids.
I'm glad to have had the opportunity to talk about it. It's not often people have the chance to say sorry for things they did some many years ago. I have no hard feelings, and only wish the best for you! So no more bad luck!!
This brief conversation enlightened and healed me. It does not make it right but even the bully had his reasons why he behaved the way he did. I am proud of the woman I grew up to be. I worked hard to become her, to keep my head up, even when I had people around me taking joy in trying to push me down. A long time ago I was told that the greatest revenge in life is to be successful. I held on to that and made it my mantra. I was not beat down, I did not give up, and from those lessons I became who I am today. My past has given me purpose.