Oh. You're miserable again. What did they do to you today? Did they make horrid jokes about you? Did they throw your stuff around? Did they throw you around? Did they treat you with blind indifference, like you don't exist? Did they use social media to mock you and taunt you and abuse you? Did they make you feel like you don't matter?
I know what you're thinking. I don't know you. If I was stood before you right now you'd probably tell me that I don't get it. You'd tell me that you don't want to talk about it. I am, after all, just a stranger to you.
I don't know whether you're male or female. I don't know how old you are. I don't know what subjects you're studying. I don't know what you're passionate about; what the one thing is in this world that captures your heart and imagination like nothing else. I don't know what makes you laugh until you feel like your insides are going to burst. I don't know what you desire in the future; what you want to achieve, which parts of the world you'd love to see, who you'd love to meet, what you'd like to experience. I don't know any of those awesome things that make you you. But I know this. You do not deserve to lay awake at night feeling worthless. You do not deserve to feel as if you need to change the things that define you.
We are strangers; you're right. But I am no stranger to your pain. I know it sounds cliche, but that does not make it any less true. I have been where you've been. I sat at the back of the classroom at secondary school for almost 3 years, wondering why nobody liked me; wondering why nobody wanted to sit with me, or speak to me, or even associate with me in the slightest. I got pushed around in corridors. I got pens thrown at my head and chewing gum forced into my hair and names thrown at me like fucking bullets. Night after night, I laid awake hopelessly dreading the next day; wondering whether it could possibly get any worse. And it always did. After all, I kept waking up as me, and at the time there was no greater torture than that.
There's no quick fix to bullying, I'm afraid. These awful, inconsiderate scumbags are not going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly decide that you're not worthy of their victimisation. We both know that they thoroughly enjoy making you feel like shit, and they will keep on trying to do that. It may go on for many months. It may go on for the entirety of your school life. If they're particularly cruel and persistent, it may even go on for longer than that. Either way, it'll feel like a lifetime.
But let me promise you this. There will come a day when you will matter to you more than they do. There will come a day where this experience does not consume you; you will be free of them. You will be surrounded by brilliant people who couldn't care less about the things these bullies think are worth picking on. You will be happy. There will come a day when these people are just people who you were once hideously unfortunate enough to experience.
I know that you are confident that this day will never come. I thought that too. But it will, and when it does, you'll wonder why you wasted so much time suffering in silence; feeling worthless; wondering what to change about yourself. Do none of those things. Confide in an adult whom you respect and trust. Stay true to yourself. Focus on the positive things in your life. Treasure the people around you who make you feel good. You and them are all that matters.
And keep your head up. You may not feel strong, but when you look back on yourself in 5 years time you will be astonished by the courage that you don't even realise you have. You are being immensely brave every single time you drag yourself out of bed knowing what you're going to face. For that, you are extraordinary. Don't you dare ever change. You just keep soldiering on. Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep laughing.
And never cease to forget that you do exist. You do matter. You exist and matter all at once. Remember that for me next time you're sat at the back of the classroom on your own, contemplating the misery that you feel. I believe in all that you are. I know you're not okay now. But you will be. Hold that thought like a ton of balloons and let it carry you.