To The Kids Who Picked on Me Because I Stutter

Blog post for Oct. 30, 2018

Dear Classmates,

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go to school with a group of kids who rarely picked on me because I stuttered. I thank y’all for that. I know other people who stutter who were not as fortunate —  who were picked on day in and day out because they spoke a familiar language in an unfamiliar accent. Unfortunately, though, there were instances when I was picked on because of how I spoke.

Although it’s been more than 15 years, I still remember these instances vividly. That time in the school library. That time in my third-grade classroom. The times when I was made of fun behind my back. When these events happened, I was hurt. I was hurt because I was picked on for something I have no control over. I was hurt because I had never experienced that type of cruelness. I was hurt because my biggest difference was exposed without my permission. I was hurt because I got along with everyone and I thought that was a two-way street. These instances showed me it wasn’t always a two-way street.

Yet, these experiences gave me real-life examples of a skill my parents were instilling in me: how to forgive someone. This skill is one the greatest things I ever learned because it is a skill that will last my entire life. Although I experienced much hurt by your actions, I experienced more peace and relief when I forgave. I could have easily held a grudge against you for the rest of my life, but I would be hurting myself more than your actions did. Instead, I forgave. It was a rough process. I wanted to harbor resentment, but I knew it wasn’t worth it.  I let myself be mad, hurt, and upset and then I forgave you. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I forgave because forgiveness brings peace for both parties and it takes up a lot less room in my mind and heart than resentment would.

This skill has been key in helping me grow as a person and in my relationship with others. Although I wish those times never occurred, they helped teach me an invaluable lesson. I guess hindsight, maturity, and many years of personal growth allow me to see the beauty in the pain.

In closing, no hard feelings. I haven’t forgotten these instances because of the impact they had on me growing up, but I have moved past them. I forgave you then and I forgive you now.

All the Best,
James