An 8-year-old girl sits alone on the swingset at recess, looking down at what you’ve just thrown at her. Her tears hit the rocks, they hit the swing, they hit papers now fluttering by the her that say 1-800- Jenny (aka Jenny Craig). At 8, she’s already sensitive to her height (she’s the tallest kid in class), and her weight. At 8. No child should be worried about being teased about this. And why should you care to point this out, you’re only 8 too? This was a girl you once played with. She came to your birthday party. Why the change? Why are you mean to her now?
If you had the chance to apologize to someone you were mean to would you take it? Or would you want a bully to reach out to acknowledge their wrong-doings to you?
20 years ago I was a real jerk. I was the girl that threw the papers. I went home the day before to type it up. A few days before that, I hatched the planned with a couple other mean 8-year olds. Weeks before I probably realized the fact that it was a bully or be-bullied world; not recognizing that their are indeed, more than those two options.
For the past 10-12 years (thanks social media) I’ve tried to looked that little 8-year-old girl up. To make sure she’s doing ok. To apologize for that day…and for so many other times. To let her know that I AM NOT A MEAN GIRL ANYMORE. Her hurt resonated with me so much, that because of her, I have vowed to never be mean to another person. To never treat anyone as less than. To be kind, and a friend to all. (Sorry that I’m also a little shy, so that comes off as mean at first!) I haven’t been able to find her, until today.
Today I googled it all. Her name. Her name plus her oooooold dog’s name (pretty sure her dog still isn’t alive). Her name plus her dad’s job. Her name plus…. everything. TODAY HER SISTER’S NAME popped up in my head! 20 years.
After a lot of stalking; I found her. And I’ve practice my note to her so many times…. but now I can send it and I find myself wondering: Is this for her, or is this for me?
Will this open up hurt that she’s over? Will it be cathartic for her that her pain has been acknowledged? Will she even care?
The note has been written. Tonight I pray over it. Tomorrow… I send it?