All this talk about bullying in the past week hits close to home with me.
I was a both a victim and aggressor at different points in my school days.
As the bullied, I was so afraid of getting beaten up for a period in junior high that I stayed in the house for six months, leaving only to attend school or play hockey.
When I went to school, I'd sprint home after the final buzzer rather than stick around for the bus and expose myself to potential confrontation.
And, when I went to hockey, my parents or older brother had to pick me up.
I was in survival mode and scared, a lot more afraid than I needed to be.
It was the lowlight of my teen years.
Having always been extremely outgoing and super social prior to this, I was sent to counselling by my worried mother.
Looking back on that, seeing the counsellor got me out of the house and within a few months I was back on track.
As the bully, I was never threatening or violent - not that I can recall anyway - but I did say some pretty mean, nasty and unfair things to people for no other reason than to get a laugh at their expense or to make them feel inferior to me.
My cruel comments were usually about their appearance, something they had done, or some perceived shortcoming.
I'm not going to repeat the kind of things I'd say because I'm still too ashamed - almost 30 years later.
I know it hurt them, shook their confidence or even brought tears to their eyes.
I also know that in those instances, I was an idiot.
And that's the point I'm trying to make, really.
Being bullied is traumatic and can consume your existence, but with help and time, things will get better, a lot better.
For me, luckily, I've aged to the point where being bullied is only a memory, and it's not an entirely negative one, to be honest.
I look back on conquering my fear and anxiety as an accomplishment, a lesson in overcoming adversity and dealing with difficult people - important knowledge that continues to have value throughout adulthood.
But being a bully, on the other hand, stays with you. The hurt you caused others can, and will, haunt you, if you've got any kind of a conscience at all.
Sometime, 10 or 15 or 25 years later, you'll be walking through the mall, or waiting in line at Tim's, or downtown at a bar, and you'll come face to face with one of the people you mocked or insulted.
And you'll hang your head in shame and feel about an inch-and-a-half tall.
And when an occasion arises to apologize, the person won't really buy it, or else they will say with a cold look, "Yeah, you were an asshole."
That's been my experience with bullying, and it's the first time I've ever written about it.
I do so with the goal of giving one victim hope or making one bully stop.
Reach Steve Bartlett by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his tweets at @SteveBartlett_