To the girl I bullied,
I'm sorry. I really am.
In all honesty, I was just really annoyed by your outspoken personality. Being a sensitive person by nature, it rubbed me the wrong way and I wasn't having it. And so, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
What started off as foolish gossip behind your back ended up erupting into a whole classroom of 13-year-olds verbally assaulting you for no good reason.
People were calling you names like 'stupid' and 'childish' and everyone passed rumours about how you had no 'real friends'.
I had an inkling that you were probably upset, but nothing more than that. It didn't occur to me that you were eating alone during recess or crying in between classes.
But when I look back now, the repercussions were definitely greater than that.
BACK THEN, I DIDN'T FEEL SORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE GOING THROUGH.
Your best friends turned their backs on you and you became the class 'joke'. Insecure, hurt and confusion were probably the tip of the series of emotions you felt.
The worst part of this is that I was running the show from behind the scenes, but you didn't know so you still saw me as a friend. You still cared for me and you confided in me, because you trusted me. Yet I betrayed you that way.
Knowing that it was all my fault makes my heart hurt.
I was young and dumb, but no defence will validate what I did to you and the way I made you feel.
It was only a few weeks ago that the incident of me bullying you crossed my mind. Ironically, it was when I recalled the painful memories of myself getting bullied.
I myself was ostracised in primary school. A group of girls refused to work and play with me because I wasn't "one of them". It was hurtful and demoralising.
I would run home crying and lock myself in my room for hours. I was 10 and I would beat myself up because I couldn't understand why people hated me for being myself.
Getting bullied was the worst time of my childhood and I would never wish for that to happen to anyone else. And yet, I did it to you without realising it.
Honestly, all I wanted was to be an "in-charge", to be "Queen Bee". I just wanted to be in an influential position, which I eventually was.
I didn't realise I was ruining someone's self-esteem in the midst of it. As I look back, it wasn't worth it.
POSED PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/AZRA RAUFF
As I've grown older over the years, I learnt the importance of being nice and kind to people and how important it is to give love, and not hate. And the only thing I feel now is embarrassment because what I did was horrible and immature.
I had no right to bring down your self-esteem and make you feel any less amazing than you actually are. You have every right to be you.
If I could go back in time, I would have never bullied you in the first place. From the bottom of my heart, I am very sorry what I did to you and how it made you feel.
And I hope you will be able to forgive me.
BANNER AND TEASER CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/LIYANA