Saturday, June 1, 2013

A letter to my bullies

Me, 12 years, sixth grade
Like many people, and almost all LGBTQI people, I was bullied. In an effort to reclaim my power, I want to now address those who were my tormentors. A fellow gay writer, Kergan Edwards-Stout, wrote a letter to his bully; and yes, that partly inspired me to write this one. While his letter addressed his primary bully, I cannot do that. My family moved quite a lot through my school years and I seemed to be a target wherever we lived, so I had multiple bullies in multiple places. I detail this in a prior post, Sticks and Stones.  So, I address all of those who harassed me between fourth grade and today.

The other inspiration came from an article by a gay therapist, Ken Howard, who stated we might not necessarily truly overcome the hurt and pain from abusers and tormentors; however, we can attempt to move beyond it by honoring those who stood with us.

So, here goes....

To all of you who teased, tormented, picked on, insulted, bullied and threatened me, I thank you.

For years, you teased, tormented, harassed, called me names like "fag", "faggot", "queer", "sissy", "Missy", "geek" and "nerd" among others.  For years, I endured shame and self-loathing, fearing that what you were thinking and saying about me was true; that I was a fag, a faggot, a queer, or a sissy. In the end, you were right. I am what you saw and loathed and belittled. I am gay.

I'm okay with it; you don't have to be.

For years, I endured the pain and the hurt of never knowing, of never understanding why you all hated me so. Just because I was a little different? Because I was not quite the 'boy', the 'man', you felt I needed to should be in your eyes? For years, I have given you that power over me. I have wondered what I had done that was so unbelievably offensive to you. I was only being myself, nothing more, nothing less. Yet, it wasn't good enough for you.

And I say now, just being myself IS good enough for me.

And that's all that matters.

I could rationalize why you all acted this way; you were threatened by my differences, you were afraid of your own latent homosexuality, you were afraid I'd make a pass at you and turn you 'queer' or you were simply assholes and bitches. But, I'm not going to waste more of my time or energy on the likes of you. In the end, it is not necessary that I understand why. What's done is done. While these acts of yours have left me hurt and scarred, these scars tell my story. I honor them. I own them. I thank you for making me who I am.

A survivor.
High School graduation, 1976

I will admit there were times I almost didn't survive. I was so unhappy and miserable because of what you said and did, I almost didn't make it to today. I couldn't escape, you wouldn't stop. I felt the only way to make it stop was with the ultimate escape. And yet, something, somehow, some way prevented me from picking up that knife, from taking those pills, from driving off a cliff. Maybe I was too afraid to actually die. Maybe I was too afraid I'd be unsuccessful and then have to answer my family's questions. Maybe, back then I didn't realize my own strength and/or that the Universe had bigger plans for me.

For whatever reason, I am grateful to be alive. It does get better.

Recent life events have stirred up these fossils of my past and the pain buried deep within that you caused. It is now up to me to move beyond that past without forgetting it, without dishonoring it and to look forward to the future because of it.

While I may not be able to completely erase the pain and hurt from my emotional memory, I do not have to let it control me.

And I won't.
February 2013

Believe me.

To view my post, "Sticks and Stones" click here.

For Kergan Edwards-Stout's letter to his bully, click here.

For Ken's website, click here.


  1. "BRAVO", Jeff..."BRAVO!" Count me as among your greatest supporters.

    1. Thank you, Evie! I always appreciate your comments!

  2. EXCELLENT post, Jeff! Very inspirational. I like to say I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't what I endured back then. We are awesome, strong gay individuals. Embrace that! :)

    1. Thank you, Sean. I tell my students the same situation can have multiple perspectives. I need to focus on the positive one, here. Thanks for taking time to read and comment! I will embrace my gay strength!