I used to be scared of you. You used to rule my life. But one day I decided that I was sick of sitting in the dirt. If you didn't have to sit there, neither did I. So one day I decided to get up.
This was the day that I decided that bullying was for the faint hearted.
This was the day I realised that pushing someone over to make you look strong doesn't actually make you strong at all. It gives the illusion of strength but at its foundations it is weak.
The day that I stood on two feet I realised that it is much harder to get back up than it is to push someone down. That is when I appreciated that I had something you didn't have: the perfect training ground.
If you don't flex a muscle it wont grow.
I figured that if I didn't have to muster up strength and courage and flex it as hard as I could in a desperate attempt to get back up, they wouldn't grow either. That day I realised I was going to be strong and courageous because of what you did to me.
When you picked on me because my lips were too fat I wanted to cut them off. I would suck them into my mouth in a desperate attempt to try and hide them.
Why did you say these things that hurt me so bad all because I looked different to you? No one looks the same!
One day I realised there is beauty in being different. It is the differences that make us priceless and it is the differences that are evidence that we are the creative product of an incredible artist.
Thank you Angeline Jolie for having big lips and thank you directors for making her famous for them so that I could look up to her. I wanted to be like her. I mustered up courage from the far reaches of myself, flexed the little strength I had and got back up again.
To you bullies
When you crushed my dreams I wanted to hide in a hole and never come out. I wanted to be a communicator. I wanted to take people on a creative journey. I wanted to tell them news that they needed to hear. I wanted to change the world the only way I knew how. But you said I wasn't cut out for it. Why did you say this? You drew on my artwork. You told me not to bother becoming an actress or a reporter. You told me not to bother learning the art of communication.
I cried myself to sleep many a time because I didn't feel I could do the very things that made me feel alive.
One day I realised that if we can't do the very things that make us feel alive, if we can't dream the dreams that have been planted in our hearts, we aren't living at all. I was lucky enough to have strong people around me who I could borrow strength from and I pretended I was courageous and got back up and bared my sole once again.
Eventually I kept writing and dreaming but no one saw my creativity, I kept it in the confines of my computer and hidden in the pages of my notebook.
But when I was finally on two feet why did you tell me I was too fat, too short, too "alternative", too muscly? It hardly made sense, how could I be too fat and too muscly at the same time?
One day I realised all you were saying was "be like us" and this sounded all too similar to the comments about my lips where this all started.
What beauty is there in being a clone? If we are clones life becomes not about who we are but simply about what we do and what we possess. We simply become robots living to produce and obtain. How does one not lose all sense of self in striving to "be like us"?
Then I finally understood. This is where it all started. The whole cycle commenced because someone didn't know the beauty they held in simply being themselves.
When I realised this I knew I had to write to you. I knew I had to release you from what you had done. Life doesn't have to be like this, you can be strong and courageous too and you can be you.
I forgive you for holding me under water in the school pool, for forcing me to sit next to you on the bus so you could put bugs on me, for aiming spit balls at my face, for harassing me when I arrived at school for something I never did, for the rude things you said about me, for the things you said to me that crushed me inside and evaporated my dreams. I am now strong enough to deal with that and dream again.
Thanks to you
Thanks to you I am strong and I am courageous. Thanks to you I know who I am. Now let me help you.
You are valuable. You are unique, even if you don't want to be. You have something positive to contribute to make the world a better place. You have the power to dream and create. So get up and do it.
But, beware: the world will knock you down and you will have to get up. When this happens don't see it as a personal attack, some people just like that – they haven't yet discovered the beauty in being themselves and in turn letting others be themselves. Dust yourself off, flex your strength and courage and get back up again. Do that enough times and you will be capable of achieving anything you set out to do.
We all experience pain but it looks different for each of us. But as the saying goes if there is no pain there is no gain.
Use the hurts of your past to make you a better you.
Thank you for helping me be a better me. No hard feelings, let's get on with making the world a better place.
"Don't let your pain stop you from being who you are." – T.D. Jakes
Charlotte (Charley) Cox (nee Goiris) works in youth ministry and is studying a Bachelor of Theology at a bible college in Melbourne. Charley enjoys writing children's stories, playing guitar and dreaming the impossible.
Charley Cox' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/charley-goiris.html