Dear Childhood Bullies (all of you):
I’m all grown up, and despite your best efforts to break me, I came out on the other side.
My maiden name was Geller. You were relentless in calling me “Geller Smeller,” and thought it was the funniest thing. What you didn’t realize is that I really thought I smelled. I had my mom buy deodorant and body spray for me when I was in second grade. SECOND GRADE.
Do you remember the time at overnight camp when I was asleep and you tickled me with a feather so I smeared black makeup all over myself? My counsellor asked me to keep the makeup on my face so she could report the behavior. So I had to walk around with your prank on my face all morning. ALL MORNING.
I’ll never forget the 6th grade dance when you asked me to be your date. I was so excited! I got a new dress from the Limited Too. But when I got to the dance, you laughed at me, because to you, asking me to be your date was just a joke. JUST A JOKE.
I remember the all district 8th grade pool party to celebrate the end of middle school. I was so excited to wear a two piece. I had done situps and walked around the block everyday so it would look flattering on me. You pointed at me and called me a beach whale, and then taunted me with the 800 number to Jenny Craig. All of my excitement about a day I had been looking forward to was crushed in an instant. IN AN INSTANT.
Quite possibly one of the worst moments of my life, you should have known better – a teacher. You thought it would be funny to play a game where we answered prompts anonymously and you read them out loud. The questions ranged from “who would you want to date in this class” to “who is the best dresser.” But when it came time to “who would you want to punch,” I sat in horror as my name was read over and over again. OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
I still have nightmares about being a freshman in high school. I am constantly taken back to the time in gym class where the teacher measured our body fat with an arm gripper. A few of you overheard my body fat percentage, and stopped calling me Lori. Instead, I was known only by that humiliating number. THAT HUMILIATING NUMBER.
As I said, I’m all grown up now. You may have broken my confidence as a child and teenager, but you didn’t break me. My parents told me that I was smart, beautiful and deserving, and that’s what I tell my own daughters now.
In a world filled with bullies, I’m raising them to choose kind, unlike the child you were.
When my daughter was in preschool, she was teased for being the shortest child in her class. Knowing full well the impact bullying could have on one’s life, I drew from my own experience and wrote a children’s book “Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)” to illustrate to her the benefits of being short. The book has important messages of self-acceptance, self-confidence and bullying prevention that everyone should hear, even you.
I truly hope you have changed, especially if you are a parent. Life is too short to spread evil. If I see you around, I won’t be nasty to you. Instead, I’ll kill you with kindness.
This post originally appeared on 5 Minutes For Mom