To be honest, I’d never think I would ever write you a letter.
As far as I am concerned, the amount of suffering I went through during my school years was enough to make me bitter.
I will never forget what you put me through and I can never forgive you, though I may say I do.
I remember those years like it was yesterday—those rude nicknames; the scrutinizing of how I looked, what I said, how I said what I said and what I did.
Wrong face. Wrong size. Wrong personality.
No matter how hard I tried to understand and change it all, it just felt like the world was telling me that I didn’t belong, and that I never would.
I remember those hours spent I spent feeling lost, alone, friendless and sad, while everyone was enjoying. Back then I didn’t know how to communicate I felt.
I felt paralyzed and confused.
In the school corridors I was the good girl who never spoke badly of anyone, the quiet student who was good to everyone and who hated getting into trouble.
I remember the laughter that left my cheeks burning as I walked from class to class, and I remember wishing that the earth would just swallow me up.
I remember that times you refused to sit next to me, “oh no, not her da”, deeming me too worthless to sit next to, unworthy of sharing your personal space.
Or the times when you’d mock me for who I am, how I am and what I do.
And yet every year, I’d hope that things would get better, that you’d like me better, that would you care more and stop hurting me.
I’d hope to be finally accepted.
But that day never seemed to come, and it wasn’t long before we all had cell phones with fancy features, and all other social media websites arrived with all of having accounts in them, you’d remove me from the groups only so you could talk ill of me and make fun of me.
You were my so called “friends.” You were strangers who found an easy target in a girl who was too afraid to use her voice.
I remember it all.
When I finally finished school and entered college, I thought I was free. But little did I know that the suffering was not over, a suffocating depression and crippling anxiety knocked on my door, it made me struggle, it made me shy and convinced me that “you” were everywhere.
I took your critical voices and made them the truth based on which I would function. Your voices, I thought were my reality. You became my radio station, one that I couldn’t change or even switch off.
But this is not where my story ends.
I explored every nook and corner, searching for the long lost parts of me, parts of me that I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
I learned how to face myself and the world without fear, rather with a growing sense of maturity that helped me to look beyond my pain.
You see, we humans are merely a reflection of one another.
For you projected words so broken and so laced with anger and insecurities, you had to have been battling your very own storms within.
Genuinely happy people don’t pull others down and you have taught me the art of compassion.
You have taught me how to connect fully with others from all walks of life; I look around me, and I see beyond the superficial and the carefully put up walls.
I see that behind every face, behind every pair of eyes are many experiences, there is a story to be told, only if we just took time to stop and listen.
And even though some of your stories are now forever linked with mine, they’re now the rough drafts that add to my chapters rather than take away from it.
Because, you see, despite all the hurt, you truly did contribute to the biggest part of me. You left me with a gift that I would treasure for life.
The gift of learning to genuinely accept, love and care for the child that I was and the woman I am becoming.
And for that, I can only thank you for me making me a stronger and better person.