I was a bully.

I used to be a bully. From ages 7-10 years old. Many people would find that shocking, but it is the truths of the others I bullied. I went through a horrible 3 years after my parents divorced and I took it out on others. I am not sure what all of my actions were because I have a foggy memory of anytime before I was 10 years old. However, I do remember these vital moments/people in my life that helped me transform my hurt, angry feelings into love, connection, and art. Into me being a better Tanille.

My teachers and principal believed that I was worthy of love and attention even when I was struggling and bullying others. Particularly Miss White who helped me immerse myself into reading, performing, crafting, and mentoring others in math (because I was REALLY into math). Her attention helped. Her belief in me as a worthy human despite my confused harm helped me.

My bestie Sharri has been through every bump and heartache I have gone through. Even when I was rude to her, or her other friends, she still was friends with me. She has nourished me for over 25 years now. She helped me to heal in so many ways and feel loved in so many ways.

When I first received this love from outside/others, I started to see the hurt feelings of little Tanille inside. It is from their love and commitment to me, I was able to start doing vital self work. When I was 10 I started putting myself in to counselling. When I was 9 I applied for a creative arts centre for my middle school years. In my teens I said no to drugs/drinking because I knew that those substances would not foster a love for me that I was looking for. When I was 14 I started meditating and doing yoga inspired by my teacher Trish. I started working as much as I could when I was 13 so I could provide a sense of accomplishment for myself. When I was 12 I stopped reading Cosmo or any media that made me feel hate towards myself. I volunteered in every club I could be a part of grades 7-12 so I could contribute to community. I went to youth group and took adult confirmation and communion classes so I could feel closer to the catholic side of my family. I did all of this incredible connected work inside and outside because people outside of me held me in my humility, hurt, anger. They saw past my shitty behaviours.

I am a person who has harmed. I am a person who has been harmed immensely as well. I am a person who learns and grows. I am a person who still feels shitty on the harm I have caused knowingly and all of the harm that I contribute in our systems of this world who keep others down. By existing I cause harm. By existing I can also being tremendous light, love, and connection into this world. Being a human being is complicated. If perhaps we all start taking away the dualisms of ideas we would all start seeing ourselves as connected. As flawed. As mean. As upstanding citizens. As people who fuck up, make mistakes, can be held accountable, and still find ways to love and connect.

This summer was the first time I felt hate for myself since I was 10 years old. This hate came from online harassment from a lot of men. They wanted to give me their two cents on how I look, how I present as a human, and how I stand up for non-violence. While it was fucking intense to hear/see/digest their meanings (which I really wish I had all of my amazing self care skills to help me at those moments) I can also empathize with these men who are angry, hurt, misled, confused and their only way to deal with those feelings is to attack me. It is super not okay, AND I could remember all those years ago when I was hurt and how I hurt others. These men folk need love. They need to unwind from the shit systems that keep their behaviour there, hurting others. They need to be in loving community, have places/spaces/teachers to hold them with love, compassion, accountability, and growth. This will help stop this absurd cycles of harm we are all trapped in. There are ways out, and we can all do our part to be humble in our next steps. We need everyone to do this work. We need everyone.

With all my intrinsic love,

Tanille Geib