Peer Review by Langer (United States of America)()

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Dear Long Lost Friends


Dear long lost friends, 
    I know this is a letter that I will never mail, but I need to write this to you all the same. This is a story you might not remember, because I am sure you had many victims, but it is one that is very important to me. I was once your friend, the one always invited to sleepovers, the one always in the middle of the group, the one making jokes and leading the way, part of the group that had known each other since we were 3, but then something changed. I was taken out of school, but you were not. I was homeschooled, and you were going into middle school. If you knew the reason I was taken out then maybe you would have been kinder to me, but then again you might not have been. I was taken out because I was bullied, and my parents were not willing for me to undergo this. Not ever severe physical bullying, but the kind that is constantly eroding the will. Remark after remark, rejection after rejection, I was cast aside like an unwanted toy. So I ran to you, for you were my friends, but something was different, I sensed it at a young age. Middle school was a whole different world, one that I could never enter. A wall was suddenly erected between me and the rest of you, and you didn't bother to try to include me. I was outside of your own world, and alone in my own. I tried, I asked you to explain, I still tried to laugh and talk with you, but it was never the same, and things quickly went downhill. It went from you just not bothering to explain to me what you were talking about, to you not inviting me to sleepovers, to you ignoring me in conversations, and then it went to you laughing at my ignorance of the middle school world. It was awful because you were never downright, actively cruel. You would all gather around and laugh at me for many reasons, all the while saying how much you loved me. I knew that this was definitely not love, but I needed to cling to what friends I had left. So when I was occasionally invited to sleepovers, I would go. This was one of the worst things I could have done. Your houses were like a prison, one of ridicule and mirthless laughter that I was trapped inside. You would laugh at my love for learning, my height, my principles, even my weight and appearance, and I would do nothing about it. When it got bad enough for me to show how distraught I was, you would mock my sensitivity. I was exhausted from continually chasing you around for two years, trying to get you to approve of me, for you to see that I was more than what you so ruthlessly pointed out and judged, but it just got worse. People I hardly knew would come up to me and narrate some of my most guarded and embarrassing moments. Mortified, I would ask them how they knew about that, they told me that you had told them. You were now turning on me, completely betraying me. I was done. I wasn't going to chase you anymore, I was letting you make a fool out of me. Oh, but how I yearned for friends! Real friends, not you, who looked at me like an obedient dog at your heels, just standing there as you beat him. So I left you, I'm sure you missed your little punching dummy, but I was never going back. I closed in on myself, keeping all of me locked up. No one could get close, for I believed all were like you, only looking for a way to use me. Then, something huge happened. We moved. I left you and your cruelty behind. How you wept when you heard of my upcoming departure, but never did you leave your group of friends to say bye. Or after I moved, you never sent a text. When you would occasionally send a quick text about how much you missed me with no punctuation, I would want to scream. All you missed was all the fun you would have at my expense, but now, years from that horrid time, and 6 months after my move, my view of you has changed. I have found real friends. They don't laugh at my imperfections, they love me in spite of them. They don't judge me when I am going through something hard, they are always there, encouraging me, sympathizing with me, and if needed making me laugh, but I am not bitter. I know now that every harsh word you gave me, every opposing opinion, every instance of rejection, it has propelled me on my road, and gotten me closer to my destination. Because of all the lies that you have said to me, I now am finding the truth of who I really am. Because of what you did to me, I am finding my will and my voice, and moving on. No situation like that will ever happen to me again, and I can now thank you profusely for what you have taught me, however painful the lesson was. I have learned from you all the things to never do to your friend, and also am now very sensitive to others who are experiencing rejection. You tried to make me insecure, I am now confident in who I am. You tried to make me fearful of rejection, I now thank those who do for getting me closer to my destination. You tried to beat down my will and my voice, I now am bold in sharing my opinions, and my will has risen up again from the flattened pavement you had left it as. Thank you, you have helped shape who I am today. 

Peer Review

What drew me in originally was the title. I've had my fair share of long lost friends and it's always nice to know you're not the only one fighting these demons. I'm desperate for closure, though I know I will never obtain any. It's easy to feel alone at this time, and knowing that I'm not is super comforting.

I think the author wrote really thoroughly which is what proves to be a difficulty for me. Writing about personal events with such rawness is something I've been challenged to do, and I highly respect this piece because it's inspiring to me, almost like a goal.

1. Do you regret ever knowing these long lost friends?
2. Is it hard for you to see these people without feeling anger?
3. How did you learn to trust your current friends?

I think the only thing I can say is that you are not alone and thank you for writing this. I've always yearned for someone to know how I feel everyday and to read something that I resonate with so much is comforting to me.

Reviewer Comments

I'm happy for you, knowing that you've acquired friends who love you for who you are. Also I love how this experience has only motivated you. Every time you were knocked down, you got back up again which is really inspiring.