When you ridiculed me, all I did was laugh like nothing was wrong.
I laughed when you reminded me how stupid I was. When I said dumb things, I even laughed at myself and my apparent idiocy. But inside, I was crying.
Sometimes, late at night, I cried on the outside, too. You didn’t know, but your bullying left scars. Every day I fight with memories of your words, trying desperately to pin them down and strangle them with self-affirming thoughts instead. But many days it’s a losing battle. See, you made me believe that my appearance does not equal my personality. That I was prettier on the outside compared to what was on the inside. And that was difficult for me to cope with, because we all live in a society which now says it doesn’t matter so much what you look like on the outside as long as your personality and character make up for it.
And in response, I went all out on my appearance. People would still accept me if I was well-kept and pretty, right? Wrong.
Your words cut me, and they hurt. You gave me no chance to defend myself, because if I had tried, that would only serve to further your notion that my personality was much more unattractive than my face. If I had tried, I would never actually be friends with you. You berated my intelligence, character, job aptitude, kindness, cultural knowledge, and innocence. You basically reduced me to a puppy or a servant, not a human being with thoughts and feelings and passions and loves. You gave me a demeaning nickname that I faked that I liked. You made it known that I was always going to be inferior to you.
All I wanted was your friendship, but you wouldn’t let me be friends. I tried, and you just pushed me away, sometimes literally. Often instead of masking my disappointment when you would make hurtful comments, I would accidentally let it show, just a little bit. And then you would laugh, laugh—for the love of all that is holy, stop laughing at me!–and “affectionately” apologize. I would play along, laughing at my awkwardness, sometimes blaming it on my blonde hair.
Okay, so I might be reasonably pretty by some accounts. But that does not give you license to make fun of any other thing about me, right? When someone compliments me on my appearance, I have to make myself say ‘thank you’ because that’s what people say, but I have to will myself not to cringe outwardly. Do you know how hard it is for me to function today with your words still stinging like fresh wounds inside my mind?
Realize that society has changed—while it used to embrace the outwardly beautiful, it now says you can be fat, you can be ugly, just be your own awkward perfect hilarious self and everything will be okay. That premise is faulty, however—because it makes girls who don’t feel like they have a great personality feel absolutely dead. Do you know how hard it is to soak up what society is saying and feel such deep pain because your personality is subject to constant ridicule?
No, I guess you wouldn’t know, sorry.
But what I am writing to tell you, if you ever read this, is that I am bigger than your bullying. Sure, many days it still gets me down. But today, I have some things to declare to you (and remind myself):
I am intelligent. I study and do my best at academics. I hold leadership positions on campus.
I have character. I am friendly, loyal and upbeat. I have strong convictions and am kind to others.
I am passionate. I love people, God, and many other interests.
And by that list, I am letting both you and myself know that I am more than just my looks, and bigger than your bullying.
If you read this, my intention was not to make you feel sorry for me. My intention was simply to help you realize the impact your words can cause. I’m sure you never thought it was a big deal–after all, I laughed too, right? You see, people are really good at hiding things when actually they’re dying inside, so we should all do our best to live our lives building people up instead of tearing them down. Maybe when we eventually arrive at a world where people are giving out compliments on each other’s inside instead of their outside, then things will finally be made right.