Warning: This letter addresses the theme of bullying. This is not meant to in any way romanticize or show that bullying is okay, but rather a reminder to stay strong, as one day, you will be okay.
Thank you. Thank you for teaching me that pretending to be better than someone, doesn’t actually make you better. I spent so much time feeling I was inferior to you due to my weight, the pigment of my skin, and the hijab I wore on my head. However in reality, those were the things that made me so different.
I still vividly remember the first day you criticized me for wearing a hijab. I cried that night. Seven years later, and I will never forget the look of distaste and disgust on your face. That was the very first time I regretted and wished I never wore a hijab. The next day was the same, and although it seemed as though I had pulled myself together, I cried in the art lab at lunch time. But, thank you for making me stronger with my hijab on. Thank you for giving me the courage to wear it everywhere I went.
Thank you for showing me who my real friends were. The only friend that I did have, you managed to turn against me. You talked about me as if I wasn’t there and made me out to be some terrible or evil person. You wouldn’t let anyone even come near me during recess, and I would find myself on the outside looking in. But, thank you for that. For if you hadn’t, I would’ve never returned to reading. I wouldn’t have spent any recreational time we were given, doing something productive. I was isolated, and yet your words made me want to persevere.
You were cruel and harsh, and what I went through, I would never wish upon you or even someone I disliked. However, I thank you for your cruelty, because instead of learning to hate, I learnt forgiveness. Your cruel words were what pushed me to try harder at everything I was beginning to fail at. Till this day, I remember your words and they give me the determination to work harder and succeed.
I will never for the life of me know what it is that I did to make you hate me, but despite the fact that you thought you broke me, you only made me stronger.
And, the fact remains, that while you are still the same person you were in fifth grade, I’ve become something more.