Yes. I was bullied before. 😳
Or so I thought.🤔
I mean if someone was being mean towards you for no apparent reason, that’s bullying right?😅
You see, when I was younger, I had this officemate who would often tease me below the belt and who would mock my work as he bosses me around.
At first I thought it was normal: me being a fresh graduate, him being a senior copywriter in the ad agency.
My thinking then was: hey, he’s entitled to that. Maybe he earned it, I said to myself, hoping to persuade that unforgiving side of me as I digested what went on every time that we interacted.
But suddenly one day, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I’ve had it. ☝🏻
So I decided to pack my bags and leave that agency (note: there were other factors though, but yes, he did play a part).
Even though I left, I still carried with me that experience. But I chose to channel my emotions differently. 🙏🏻
Truth be told, that person became one of my inspirations to become my #bestmeever.
Someday, I’ll show you. Someday, I’ll make it. But for now, let me be.🙏🏻
It was a very liberating experience when I landed in a new job without the dementor. Minus the heckling and constant bossing around, I flourished in my new environment.
At the back of my head, I wanted to thank that person for leading me towards better opportunities.
But mind you, I never did forget.
Fast forward to 16 years later, when my former boss turned very good friend invited me to a project briefing for an account she wants me to work on with her team.
Lo and behold, guess who’ll be working with us in the process?
Her former senior copywriter.
Are you serious?!
I blurted out as memories came rushing back, images of me turning red when made fun in front of others during my younger years for being “different”.
Yup, and it’s about time you guys patch things up, she said as a matter-of-factly.
I can’t make it, I have to give a talk that day. I can send over my staff for the briefing I told her. (And yes, that’s true!)
Oh come on! It’s been years. Forgive him already, she teased.
I’ll move the meeting after your talk so you guys can meet and discuss more about the project. I won’t be there though since I have another appointment at that time, she finished.
Sighing loudly and left with no excuse, I had to give in.
This is it. I am meeting up with my bully.
The person who gave me my nightmares, made the entire experience of going to work stressful and traumatic and who treated me like I was a lesser member of the team.
But then it struck me:
16 years later, I am now ready. 🙏🏻
I have to do this for myself. I had to be at peace with my past because that’s the only way I can move on and forward. I had to leave behind all that feeling of hurt, despite the fact that it pushed me to strive harder and become better in the process.
I had to forgive him, even if it was hard because it was the right thing to do.
So yesterday, I came in earlier for our meeting. It’s now or never, I told myself.
And then he arrived. I didn’t know how to react. He caught me off guard again for different reasons.😳
He aged. He smiled. And he greeted me warmly and asked how I was.😳
This was my bully, the same person who tormented me during my younger years.
All I managed to do was smile back, and asked how he was. He threw me back my question, seemingly genuine in his interest.
I went on telling what I have been up to the last 16 years. I can’t believe I am having a decent conversation with my bully. Ok, guards down.
And all went on smoothly. The alignment meeting was so fluid as if it was meant to happen in the first place.
When we were almost done, my bully struck another conversation.
Ms. Marge told me you left the agency because of me? Because I was mean?
I looked at him straight in the eye and smiled: Partly yes. And yes you were a bully.
There. I’ve said it.
I was taken aback. OMG. After 16 long years my bully apologized.
Now I can close this chapter. Finally.🙏🏻
It’s ok. Let bygones be bygones. We’re older now. But thank you, I said casually.
I thought it would end there. I was wrong.
When I was about to leave, he said he’ll walk with me going to my car since his wife’s office was nearby. We had a small talk and he said that he’s really inspired by what I have become and how I have segmented my life to be able to do a lot of things outside of the corporate world.
I learned that he was already a freelancer so I told him to consider blogging and create a niche market for himself (which can help earn him some extra money and exposure in the process). And I meant that genuinely. Because I believed he could.
And when it was time to part ways, we shook hands. And that sealed the deal.
I was free.
And officially friends with my bully.❤️
I am very much at peace. 🙏🏻❤️😊