Last year, I was sat interviewing people for a project I was working on. Half way through the interviews, I could see in the corner of my eye, a girl frantically waving at me. I continued to talk to my colleagues but as my eyes focused on the girl who was walking towards me, I began to stammer. My palms pricked with sweat and my mouth went dry. It was someone who I went to school with. No big deal, you would instantly think, but it was the girl who had taunted me consistently throughout my school years.
I watched her in disbelief as she flashed me a smile and gave me an enthusiastic wave. My eyes followed her as she sat in front of me, ready to be interviewed. I could barely gather my thoughts, let alone speak. I sat in silence as she answered the questions my colleague reeled off from his list. It had been over ten years since I had last seen this girl. And now here we were; face to face. Me interviewing her for a job.
Whilst walking home from a long days work, words swam in my head. But they weren’t just any words, they were her words. Her abusive words she would often tease me with on a daily basis.
Fat, beast, disgusting, elephant …
Her nickname for me at school was “elephant” because she thought I had chubby legs. Whenever I walked into a room she would make a terrible elephant impression. Honestly, Dumbo still gives me nightmares!
When I got home, I checked my phone and noticed I had a Facebook request. It was from her.
Childish, I may be, I deleted her request (after a quick stalk of her page, of course) and poured myself a large glass of wine.
Despite my resentment for my school bully, I of course have now forgiven her for what she put me through. In fact, I am actually extremely grateful. Being bullied during puberty, a time when you question why life hates you, made me resilient. It also taught me a great sense of humour. Yes, I am that person who always takes the piss out of themselves first. I guess it’s because I know my faults inside and out. Being bullied during my youth definitely gave me my drive to succeed. Maybe it’s because deep down, I want to prove her wrong. It might seem silly to you, but I still remember her comment on how I wouldn’t achieve anything.
Looking back, I hated my time at school and I still remember how alone I felt when she attacked me. Now as a grown woman, I know many people who were also bullied. Many people who I admire and look up to. It’s hard to believe that people ripped them apart. But I guess that’s what the experience of bullying does; it makes you stronger. I honestly take great pride in believing that what I went through, made me who I am today. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.