When I was young, like first or second grade young, I was bullied by a kid in the neighborhood. In my memory, he's like a young Johnny from the Karate Kid: blond and cool and well practiced in martial arts.
I don't remember details, just a feeling of fear. Of not feeling manly, which I don't to this day in regards to being tough. As a kid though, I remember wanting to avoid this other boy. But I also remember dreaming at night of having super powers so I could fight him in the name of justice.
As I aged a few years, I also remember picking on another boy. One of the only ones that might be considered weaker or needier than me during grade school. I particularly remember a ride on the bus where a group of friends and I weren't being kind to this boy. I remember him making a fist and saying "who am I gonna hit first." I also remember thinking that was hilarious.
It would be years before I felt shame for that memory. I don't think I even acknowledged having been a bully until college or maybe even later. I'm not proud of that memory. It makes my heart heavy to recall that version of myself. As a kid who was bullied only selectively, I cannot imagine what it must have been to have been bullied all the time.
I'm sorry that my own insecurities manifested in a way that spilled all over someone else. I'm proud of who I've become, and simultaneously sad for who I've been at times. I hope that other boy is well today and that life has been kinder to him. He deserved kindness. We all do.