New Story: You Changed Me

You Changed Me
by Carrie Gordon Watson

When you got on the school bus that first day, you changed me.
When you sat three rows back, you changed me.
The first time you talked about me like I couldn’t hear you, you changed me.
When you made fun of my face, you changed me.
When you mocked my imperfect body, you changed me.
When you hinted that my ethnicity was hate-worthy, you changed me.
When you disparaged my family, you changed me.
When you saw the hurt in my eyes and said it anyway, you changed me.
When it wasn’t enough to make you stop, you changed me.
When you got bored with me and moved on to someone else, you changed me.
When I was too scared, too beaten down, too ashamed to speak up, you changed me.

Twenty years later,
when you shocked everyone by coming to the reunion, you changed me.
When you crossed the room,
when you came straight toward me,
when you knelt down by my chair
as my heart slammed inside me
in a fight-or-flight response so strong
I couldn’t hear the music anymore,
you changed me.
When you asked my permission to speak to me,
when you said you wouldn’t blame me if I said NO,
when you admitted to being an asshole all those years ago,
when you said you were deeply sorry for the horrible things you’d said to me,
when you admitted you were wrong,
that you wished you could take it all back . . .
You changed me.

Carrie Gordon Watson is a writer, high school teacher, and one-time performing songwriter. Her debut novel QUAD was an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Visit her online at www.cgwatson.com.

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6 thoughts on “New Story: You Changed Me

  1. Carrie – This entry is so fantastic. It’s also so true. Sometimes these people who were bullies absolutely do develop a conscience, learn from their mistakes and become wonderful people. It’s regretable that we all don’t start teaching our kids at a very young age (like preschool), the effects their actions can have on others. If we as parents, teacher, neighbors and friends made real efforts to influence the young people around us and encourage the positive behavior, we could stop this epidemic in its track. Thanks for sharing.

    ~Elise

  2. it’s nice to see that the people who were imature jerks in the past change and grow up. and appologize for their behaviors.

  3. From my perspective, this is really good, as well as very neat and well-written, too. Plus, I can see it as a letter that a former victim (now grown up) to a now remorseful former bully that picked on her (or him), too. 🙂

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