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I was a bully.


Every other day I hear a story on the news or read one in the paper about bullying by young people. The increasing incidents are worrisome to me, so I decided to relay my thoughts.

Editor;
Every other day I hear a story on the news or read one in the paper about bullying by young people. The increasing incidents are worrisome to me, so I decided to relay my thoughts.
A number of weeks ago, I was strolling through a local mall and noticed an old schoolmate sheepishly trying to avoid me. I had not seen her in some 20 years, so I approached her to inquire as to how life has treated her.
We sat and spoke at length of school, friends and old times. She had not married, but did have children. Since leaving high school, she had moved from job to job, fought depression, alcoholism, drugs and abuse.
My heart was breaking for her, but what she next told me shattered it completely. She attributed much of her misfortune to me.
I was the one who mocked her, tore her scribblers, threw her lunch in the trash and waited after school to beat her up. She stayed home many days just to avoid me and confessed, even today, I still make her a little nervous.
With tear-stained eyes, I apologized emphatically and attempted to explain I was not that person anymore. She said she felt much better for telling me and that all was forgiven.
We wished each other well and parted ways. I walked to my car in a daze and sat in the parking lot crying, for an hour and a half.
I had altered a potentially beautiful life due to my malicious behaviour. How many other lives had I affected? I had bullied so many I could not even count.
My mind went back to the past when I was angry and volatile, when the only way to get through a day was to ruin someone else's. I enjoyed causing pain because that kept me from focusing on my own issues.
I can still see that look of terror in their eyes, like a deer in the headlights and I remember how powerful I felt. Now, I feel sick and ashamed my actions resulted in so much distress and pain. Bullies are weak and despicable creatures who prey on the innocent. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I have heard bullies stay in control as long as they are not challenged. Maybe that is why I was a bully for such a long time, simply, I was not challenged!
For me, the easy part is over because I have been forgiven. Now the hard part begins.
Holly O'Neill,
Bell Island

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