They say that you get over things from your past. That you move on, become stronger, wiser and more resilient. But they never mention that bullying is forever. Ask anyone who has lost someone close if they ever truly forget, if they ever stop grieving for the ones they love and they will tell you that they don’t, that the person they lost is still close to their hearts. It’s no different when you grieve for yourself, the person that died so young, the person you could have been, the person that never was.
There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think of that kid that was me. He’s still there close to my heart. And what they say is true, you do become stronger, wiser and more resilient.
Bullying is forever, it has affected every decision and action in my life; but the fears I overcame, the lessons I learned and the courage I have to live life are forever too. These things affect every decision and action I make. They are my gifts to myself for a being the person who didn’t give up. The man who never was is gone, but in his place is not a lesser man, just a different one, one I am proud of.
For those of you who are mourning the you who could have been, take heart — the person who will be, the person who is in that lost child’s place, the you that is — you have been given an opportunity to mold the person you are and you have more freedom to shape yourself than most people will understand. The part of you that you now mourn can be rebuilt, and it is wholly up to you to choose the person you wish become.
I know it is unfair, that you curse whatever god you no longer believe in, that you would give anything to go back and change the way things are. I don’t carry easy news; rebuilding is hard — almost as hard as what you went through — and it will take longer than the events that transpired. I know how unfair it is to have the responsibility of fixing the damage someone else caused, but there is only one person who can take responsibility for the rest of your life; you. I’m rooting for you, I hope you can do it. I know you have the strength, wisdom and resilience to become this different person if you so choose.
Whether you believe it or not you are already strong enough. You have faced things most people will never understand. You will feel alone and adrift facing irrational fears no one comprehends. Except your fears aren’t irrational, they are fears backed by the demons of experience, the probability of them happening is certain; the demons are already in your head. But face your fears you must. I know you can do it, I know there will be days you don’t always win, but think of what you have been through, you already know you shall live. And if a hand is offered up, don’t turn it away. They may not understand, but would you truly want them to go through what you have been through, just so they can begin to comprehend? As you face your fears look to the people who offer their hands, they have the answers to the question you don’t know to ask, the one that is behind the demon you now face. Bullying is forever, but the strength you gain from facing your fears is forever too.
Whether you believe it or not, you are already wise enough. You have had to learn things that most are never taught. You wish these lessons had never been given, they were delivered at the end of a fist and a smirk, but learn them you did and now it’s time to use them. You have learned how to endure, how to out-think and how to never give in. You have learned about anger, about rage and about hate but these are double sided. The things you miss the most are friendship, love and trust, and even in their absence you learned about these as well. You know where anger, rage and hate stops, it’s a place you could never quite reach but I know you, you looked for their opposites, imagined them, dreamed for them and ached for them. I know you can see them, you deserve them, you are worthy of them. Search for the people who can provide you with their substance, not the people who provide you with pain. You have the insight now to truly see people for who they are, use it. Bullying is forever, but the wisdom you have learned is forever too.
Whether you believe it or not you already have the resilience you need. You have had to get up more times than a dozen of your peers. My heart bleeds for you knowing how hard it is for you to walk out your front door, but you do it anyway, day after day. I know you think it will never end, yet time after time you never give in. You’re amazing; you truly are, for heroes would have given in long ago. You have the courage although you think you don’t. No matter how dark the tunnel, you still grow towards the light. You have the resilience you need, you will reach the light, your courage is there please don’t lose faith. Bullying is forever but the resilience rooted in courage is forever too.
If you choose the hard road, the road past demons, hate and pitfalls you will emerge on the other side a changed person. You will have to build this hard road so look at the faces that offer the hands and emulate their admirable traits. Search for those who feel, who are capable of giving and share with them what you have learned. You have as much to offer as you are as deserving of what you receive from them. Look to the future and find your passion and purpose. It is a place for you to grow into and only passion and purpose are big enough for one as resilient as you.
Most of all don’t forget the child that used to be. Mourn for them as you should, for they are the reminder that you are now the person you choose to be, if not the person you were born to be.
Originally posted at the The Good Men Project
Photo: Flickr/Dave Gingrich