The day I heard that my high school bully had died was one of the happiest days of life.
I felt as though justice had been done and that I can finally let go of the hurt that he put me through.
My relationship with this guy back in high school was never a good one. He was a mean-spirited, obnoxious spoiled brat who took pleasure in making others miserable.
I guess my personality at that time made me an easy target for bullies as I was introverted, quiet and socially awkward. Like any teenager, I was insecure and didn’t have the highest self-esteem in the world as my parents were too stressed out with work and money to pay lots of attention to my emotional needs as an adolescent.
My bully would make it his duty to embarrass me in front of my peers. He would make me the butt of his jokes, teasing me about everything from the lunch I had to my appearance. Others would find his insulting jokes hilarious as they would break out in raucous laughter.
At times, the bullying would get physical, where he would throw my belongings and push me around, only stopping when one of his friends interjected because they didn’t want to see a girl being hit by a boy.
I couldn’t understand why someone would go out of his way to hurt me and take pleasure in it. I felt ugly and unwanted, and most of all, I felt all alone because I had no support. My parents wouldn’t hear any of it, thinking that it was something that would blow over if I just “manned up” and fought back.
During the 3rd year of high school, I tried to become invisible to him by avoiding him like a plague, hoping that it would make the taunting stop. It worked here and there, but whenever he got the opportunity, the insults would roll off his tongue, and the torture would go on as per usual.This went on until I finally matriculated from high school.
After school, life went on, and so did the difficult task of emotional reconstruction. I didn’t realize how much the bullying had destroyed my self-esteem until I started counseling. I loathed myself and I strongly believed that I wouldn’t amount to anything.
Three years after high school, I came across a friend’s status message on Facebook saying that my bully had died, supposedly from suicide.
Off-course I was shocked, but only for a short while. I then felt a weird sense of justice. The fact that he took his life meant that he struggled with the same emotional distress that he caused me, and he probably loathed and saw himself as inadequate.
I’ve been told that feeling like this makes me a bad person, but until you’re at the receiving end of bullying, having your self-esteem destroyed and your very personhood abused for someone’s pleasure, then you have no understanding of how I feel and therefore cannot judge.
I didn’t go to his funeral because he didn’t deserve my last respects.
But what I had to do was to forgive, and let go of all bitterness and resentment because I couldn’t remain prisoner to this hurt anymore. I had to choose to move on with my life, to stop believing the lies of the abuse and to put an end to being a victim to that idiot bully.
The first part of my healing is seeing myself the way God sees me; as someone who is loved, valuable and cared for.
I’m on a journey of self-discovery, and for the first time in a very long time, I am happy, not because my bully died, but because I chose to let the past go, to live in the present and look forward to the future.
*image from We Heart It.