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PERSONAL: Burying a seven-year hatchet

On a recent visit back to my hometown of Te Kuiti, I was able to spend half an hour at my old school to finally bury some memories I have held onto for a long time.

School has also been one of those sensitive subject for me to write about.

Writing is my profession, my craft, my life in the present day but even with all that experience, tt took me a few days of mulling things over before sitting down and penning this entry on The Real Michael Pulman.

Going back to Te Kuiti High School alone to bury the hatchet was on my bucket list, and it feels good to have finally achieved it.

It felt so good to drive those same “tracks” I set out for myself around the school grounds. I wasn’t there long, and I didn’t drive nearly as fast as I used to on those school lunch hours, it was just quiet and nice.

As I had a look around the place I could still see and remember all those little instances, good and bad, that had happened over the years so in a lot of ways my purpose for being there was really to just take a moment to remember.

I wanted to remember and reflect – because the person I am today is far different to the one I was back then.

Personally, I think I am a far better person.

When I left Te Kuiti High School in the summer of 2009 I had so many emotions in my stomach.

I left with a very bad taste in my mouth.

I felt deep frustration, regret, sadness, anger, and a sense of isolation that had finally hit the point where I knew – I wasn’t going to last another year.

It was significant because for the first time I was giving up on something, throwing in the towel, accepting things I didn’t think were right, seeing the flaws in the system and the total lack of understanding by the so-called professionals.

I felt torn because I knew from an academic standpoint, I was doing myself a major injustice by leaving, but I knew that from an emotional wellbeing perspective, it was the only choice I had left.

So, I went into silence for a few months and moved on with my life.

Then, late in 2009 once I had began making videos on YouTube, I hit back at Te Kuiti High School and was very critical towards them.

I remember the video I made where I targeted Adam Saunders, my high school bully and that was such a lesson about the do’s and don’ts of social media.

It didn’t take long until that video had drawn such a big reaction that it had to be taken down.

Then, in 2011 in my biography Such Is Life, I was critical of Te Kuiti High School again, but by that time I had learnt the difference between writing on emotion and writing the truth.

The point to this story is that time is a great healer of things.

The bullying and the things that happened at Te Kuiti High School actually impacted those around me more than myself, and I for one and thankful for the likes of Adam Saunders because it taught me such a valuable lesson about life.

And hey – we were only silly kids. That, to me, is the start and the end of it.

The things that happen back when you are so young seem like the world at the time, and we don’t realise at the time, but school really is one of the easiest times of our lives. School should be looked back on with thanks because even if we have some really bad experiences, they can often make you so much stronger for those testing times throughout our journey that really matter.

Bullying – yes it hurts but we can all rise above it – by moving on.

I would hope that Adam Saunders is happy and doing well with his life, just as I am right now. I hold no hard feelings towards him, and I can’t say that others don’t still, but for me personally I wish him all the best.

We were just silly kids. Regret nothing of being a kid, because you soon become an adult.

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