How I Went From Bully to Women Empowering Boss Babe
I was a bully in Jr. High.
But I only picked on one girl (not that that justifies it) because I felt like she was worse off than me when it came to the “cool factor.” I don’t remember much about what I said to her or what our interactions were like, but I do remember the looks of disdain she gave me when I looked in her direction or passed her in the hallway. It was like I embodied every bad thing she could imagine. I still hate the memory of that disdainful look.
Her resentment toward me followed us into high school. A place where I became mostly invisible. I knew and spent time in the same circles as some of popular kids, so I wasn’t a loser, but I also wasn’t cool. I got good grades and floated along. I had good friends, but my personality mostly came alive outside of school. She and I didn’t hang in the same circles, so if I saw her, it was usually from across the quad. It’s safe to say, I thought those days were behind us.
Well, high school came and went. I was halfway through college and I had reinvented myself. I made new friends (and kept some of the old) and became a social butterfly. But I definitely started to have moments of searching within myself. I started seeking out the real parts of me and comparing them to Jesus. It was during that season of life that I came across her name on Facebook.
I decided to reach out. Or she did. I can’t remember. What I do remember, is that I apologized. I remember being embarrassed about how I had treated her. She explained how she had held onto those painful memories, years after I had forgotten them. We were able to reunite in the most beautiful way and support each other through some really tough times. In fact, my most redeeming moment was being able to open my home to her, where we became roommates for a time. SO much healing happened in that season of my life. I was able to share the pain I had experienced in my life during those early pre-teen and teen years. Pain that caused me to lash out on her. To project my own insecurities on her.
You never know the impact that you’re making on someone’s life long-term, when you use your words and actions to tear them down in a moment. I have, in the past, used the power of my words to snatch joy. I’m careful to check my words and their motive before they flow from my lips. Words are my superpower. I never want to use them in a way that is anything, but life giving.
I was a bully in Jr. High. But because I know my power and because I too have had it snatched away, I now empower women. Use your influence responsibly.
If you enjoyed this post and are interested in hearing a similar story, from the “bullied” perspective, click the photo and it will lead you to the interview that Zoe Elle Co and PARABLE did with Virginia (Gigi) Wilkens, featured on @buzzfeed and one of our favorite body-positive advocates, shares her amazing beauty-from-ashes story about being bullied and how it changed her life!!