We thought it might be time for a catch-up with some of our Rural Youth Ambassador Alumni and who better to start with than Bridie Edwards, who is also one of our beloved Rural Inspire Mentors.
If you flick over to our Rural Showcase Page, you'll see Bridie's Mentor entry shining a light on bullying, depression and her winding path to a successful career.
It also highlights the online blog she began when she was just 15-years-old; a pastime which eventually helped direct Bridie into a career in media.
Fast forward six years and that blog is still ticking away with one of Bridie's mot recent posts sharing a letter she once wrote to a bully.
We thought we'd share it too ...
DEAR MR BULLY
Today I found a letter I wrote to a bully when I was 16.
Rummaging through moving boxes for a pair of headphones, I found the wrinkled envelope, with old tears causing the paper to be tough and coffee-coloured.
An old biro had engraved it with a shaky hand; the licked side no longer clung to its paper partner and begged for me to open it’s painful past.
Part of me wished I didn’t find this reminder, but part of me also felt it rang the doorbell; an unexpected visitor but a welcomed guest.
Before you read below I need you to know this – I want it to stop, bullying is cruel and nasty.
Read my words and REMEMBER them next time words leave your mouth - remember them constantly.
You see, I told people eventually, but far too late. I wish I told someone sooner.
I wish I faced them, head on.
These days, I never think about them like I thought I would, back then I thought maybe the pain was too much and that it would cling to my heart forever like a leach, scarring any possible chance I had at happiness.
But I was wrong, I don’t think of them.
If you are going through something similar, tell someone!
Please, oh please, just tell someone.
It does get better.
Maybe it was meant to be ... maybe I found this letter today to help one of you. I hope it does…
Dear Mr Bully,
No one knows yet, I pop the notes you write in my pocket.
I haven’t told my friends you follow me to class, that the bruises that cover my body are not from rocks out of the school garden.
I keep my phone close to my chest and a four number password seals your nasty secrets.
I won’t tell them, I will continue to lug this secret around like a heavy bag draped over my sad shoulders, maybe then you will stop.
But you need to know this, in your battle to bring me down for the ego of oneself, you have made my mum cry, you’ve twisted the thoughts of my father, the goodness that used to run through my veins is now black; a black sludge that rumbles in my stomach and spills its contents on the grass after dinner.
If you ever come across this letter, if you have heard the whispers around the school ground that I took my own life in the dead of the night, you contributed to that.
You see, while you sent me nasty letters and cut my hair, I was battling something of my own. That just because you are hurting enough on the inside to take it out on me, I am doing the same, although taking it out on myself. Double the pain, double the suffering.
So when you go home at night to your family and that guilt of the pain you bestowed to me frees your soul for the evening, it clings to my insides and drags me deeper down, until the tears stain my pillowcase. Darkness lies heavy upon my tired body, leaking its essence into my being. I lay here in my room wondering if tomorrow I will wake up, wondering what your reaction would be if I didn't.
But I will not give you that satisfaction.
I wish your words hurt like a toy gun, a bang-bang of scare and than nothing left. But they don’t- they hit full force. They linger in the air, they arrive in my dreams at night and they echo in my head.
One day I will be ok, and you will be nothing but a mere memory. But the scars on my skin will be a constant reminder of you, my shudder at peoples' words another scar left behind. I hope one day the pain of you is gone and my life resembles something like a metaphor for success and yours a metaphor for karma.
I do not wish to hurt you, but I hope a piece of me is carried with you everyday and you remember the girl you took from her family and friends. And I hope that the next time that wave of pain seeps into your mind and the big bad bully hisses to come out, you think of me and then the bully returns to it’s unwanted place of residence, which is not made up in your heart.
Dear Mr Bully, one day it will be ok for me, but that day is not today.
Yours captive now but not forever,