I was in 8th standard then- fat, studious and lonely. As my division changed, groups among the class segregated. That year, a friend, or so I thought, of mine, teamed up with another girl from that class and started bullying me. They would pass comments on my body, my dressing, my hair and ridicule me, always indirectly but loud enough to reach my ears. I would feel extremely humiliated, unsure if it was alright to feel bad. I just ‘took it in my stride’, plastered a smile and dealt with it every day. The day I totally lost all control was when this girl threw pencil shillings on my head and people around me started laughing. It may have been a ‘prank’ for her, but for me, 8 years later, I still remember it as if it happened yesterday.
Thankfully, because I had a strong support system in my mother, I came out unscarred from that year. I read many more self-help books than a 13 year old should, and they helped. A few days after that incident, I wrote a letter in minute detail to that girl thanking her for how she had made my life better. Back then, it was just a cathartic exercise which I didn't believe in, but today those words have come true. Because of her, I learnt about self-care and self-love early enough to not be troubled in my teens. I learnt to be alone without feeling lonely, to hold my head high, to put my foot down and got the courage to decide when ‘enough is enough’. Surprisingly, reading that letter has also helped my friends dealing with parallel issues.
What I am trying to say is that at times when you are hurt and humiliated, it feels you will never be able to get over it. But you do. You pick yourself up, dust off your pain and move on, and come out the better for it. You just need to take that first step to change your perspective, everything else falls into place. As for that girl, we are still ‘friends’ on Facebook and we do talk occasionally. So, if you are reading this, and you know who you are, then ‘thank you’, I never got the strength to say that to you or to give you that letter in person Maybe after this confession, that will be my next step!