Reddit user retrofuturist suffered through depression and feelings of worthlessness through high school—all of that made worse by one particular bully who was relentless.
He was the king of the school: “You paid homage to him or you got beat down while everybody else watched helplessly,” the user wrote. He shared the story on reddit, changing the high school bully’s name to Sid.
“I thought I could take it. And I could at first. I could hold my own, and I didn’t back down,” the user shared. At the beginning, he never gave in to Sid despite the insults, threats, and alienation.
“But day after day, week after week, having to fight for my life and endure insults not only from Sid but now from the entire school who just went along with whatever Sid said—it all became too much for me and I broke down emotionally.”
The experience cut him off from his peers—and now, being emotionally beat down, he sealed himself off from other family and friends as well. “I was like a zombie shuffling his way through life.”
But things did get better. He started writing, healing emotionally, and then eventually turned writing into a career. After submitting his work to various places, one day, he got a job offer as a magazine journalist—and reconnected with the world.
“As a journalist, I became committed to two things: seeking the truth and helping the downtrodden,” he wrote.
This journey also led him to reconnect with his faith. “I poured myself into efforts to heal from my past and mature into my present.”
It was then that he learned that he still had a ways to go. His experience in high school had him painting himself as a victim, and he had harbored a lot of anger and resentment because of it.
“I had to confront the idea that there were probably days when I was the one who went out looking for a fight,” he wrote. But when he realized what his flaws were, he resolved to overcome them.
“To take a page from Rocky: ‘If I can change … everybody can change.’ I let go of my anger and my pain. I was at peace. I even prayed for Sid!”
But he never thought he would have to come face to face with Sid again.
A few years later, he had moved house and found a new church. And the moment he walked in, he heard a familiar voice. Could it be?
He turned around, and there was Sid, standing not a few feet away with a huge grin on his face.
By reflex, he clenched his fists. Then Sid spoke six words.
“It’s so good to see you,” Sid greeted him.
He was shocked. But after a moment, he managed to return the greeting, and even kind of mean it.
“I know we couldn’t always say that before,” Sid said. “I’m sorry.” Sid said more, but he couldn’t quite process it all. Then Sid’s lip started to tremble and he let out a long sigh, eyes teary. Then he apologized again.
“‘I’m really sorry for the things I did back then. To you, to everybody. I didn’t think I’d have to deal with this again, but here you are staring me right in the face. In church, of all places.’ He lets out a half-hearted chuckle.
“That’s when I realized that he did still have to deal with this again because I still needed to deal with this. This was my last step.”
He then took a step toward Sid and put a hand on his shoulder. His next words brought his former bully to tears.
“I’ve changed a lot since then. And I can see that you have, too.”
That got them talking, about high school, their journeys, faith, and everything in between.
“I never thought in a million years that Sid could be affected by our high school experience even more than I was,” he wrote. “Once, we were filled with hate for each other, but now we were fellowshipping as brethren.”
“President Lincoln said it best: ‘Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?'”