Letter from a Bully

A writer remembers a girl she was unkind to in school — and wishes she could say “I’m sorry.”

By Marylee Graffeo Fairbanks

Dianne sat next to me in second grade. Her last name started with a G but I can’t remember it. She never looked you in the eye, rarely brushed her hair, and always sat alone. She concealed her bitten fingernails under hand-me-down sleeves and poked a hole in the end for her thumbs to stick out. I think of her every time I buy an expensive jogging shirt with a convenient “thumb hole for added warmth”. I have always wanted to find her because I need to tell her something.

Say no to bullyingDianne was bullied in school.

It was the early 1970s so the tormenting lacked the mercilessness that today’s cyber-bullying provides, but she seemed unhappy and alone.

Today, I listen to the news, a continuous loop of bullying stories ending in arrests, controversy, and heart breaking suicides. I am frightened for the future of my young son.

Massachusetts is the 42nd state to adopt an official anti-bullying law. It requires staff members to report bullying, principals to investigate, and law enforcement to become involved in extreme cases. But many say that it’s not tough enough.

Bullying comes in many forms ranging from the concrete hallways of school, to the uncivil anonymity of cyberspace. Kids are no longer singled out in the back of the parking lot. Bullies attack on social networks; no one witnesses the victim’s pain. Cruelty has morphed since I was young; it now disguises itself. Read the full story at Elephant Journal…


About Our Guest Author

Marylee Graffeo Fairbanks lives in the Boston area and is the founder of Chakras Yoga. She writes, “Yoga began for me as a respite from the physical celebration of performance.  I was a musical theater actress and singer in New York City for many years. Life in the theatre requires fortitude: demeaning auditions, eight shows a week, strained muscles and vocal cords. Yoga replenished me. My father died, I left New York, I married and had my beautiful son, all in a short time. When my child was born I realized that the demands of being a professional actress would not help me achieve the life my husband and I envisioned.  Yoga came to the forefront. My practice expanded.  Teaching and writing waited quietly to surprise me with their joys.

Follow Marylee on Facebook and on Twitter @ Chakras Yoga.

Photo Credit

“Say no to bullying”


Excerpt from an article previously published on October 13, 2010 Elephant Journal

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  1. avatar says

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this story. It has inspired me to move forward in my fight against bullying. As you can see i have a email for my site, I also have a Website and group on facebook for it. This has really touched my heart!
    God Bless!

  2. avatar says

    wow, great bursting onto the scene!
    I’m glad you wrote about this, it is so important. I’m glad you have talked about creating the environment we want or don’t want. Mihigna and I also talk about this…and how it pertains to bullies, and how that same concept is seen everywhere, in the animal kingdom and the human world. Which is why the alpha dog mentality is so applicable to both humans and animals. Its there, if you know what you are looking for.
    Also, this is why victims may become victims repeatedly.
    Thanks for writing on here!! I’m very glad to read you!


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