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To Those Who Bullied Me Because I'm on the Autism Spectrum

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At the time, no one really understood why I was so different. I was still undiagnosed as on the autism spectrum. It didn’t matter. You knew I wasn’t fitting in. (Actually, I didn’t want to fit in. I wouldn’t want to be like you at all.) That made me a target.

You took aim, and fired at me so many times. Here are just a few of the incidents I didn’t block out of my memory:

You vandalized my personal property.

You taunted me anonymously over the school intercom.

You put gum in my hair.

You imitated my nervous tics.

And of course, you made mean comments and laughed constantly.

I dealt with the blows, keeping my thoughts to myself, because I didn’t want to sink to your level. I also didn’t want you to know your bullying was actually impacting me, thinking that might fuel the fire. I’d pretend I didn’t care, and ignore the cruelty. When I returned home, I sobbed while listening to music that made me feel better, and hugged my dog.

It was so terrible that not even my friends were safe from your wrath. One revealed to me that they were pressured to disassociate with me, hearing you say things such as “Eww, you’re friends with Erin?”

Your bullying made me feel awful. It wasn’t acceptable. It was torture for me, and unfair to my friends.

But I’m not writing this to attack you. I’m writing it to say that I forgive you. I forgive you for all of those horrible things you said and did. I forgive every one of you, because I need to move on and keep rising above.

I was strong enough to make it through. I survived. Not everyone else is as strong, however.

My only hope is that maybe you’ve learned from this and have changed. Maybe you realize these things you did were awful, and will teach others to be kind instead. Maybe this changes the mind of even just one person. And if it doesn’t… well, at least I can say I tried.

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Thinkstock photo by Vitapix.

Originally published: October 24, 2017
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