I love that witch doctor stuff. Essential oils, rocks, the whole nine yards. It’s not just personal health, but I’m into community healing, too.

If you look at my resume, you’d see probation officer and you’d see natural healer. Odd, right?

I probably wouldn’t be able to work in either field if I had been caught for the stuff I did in my hometown.

My best friend was harassed in high school. A lot. And in particular by Mindy O’Rourke. So we struck back. We TPed and egged Mindy’s home at night.  We flooded a park bathroom that was across the street from her house, hoping it would be blamed on her.

When she didn’t get blamed for it and continued to bully my friend, I recruited two other friends to help me plaster the school with flyers that said: “Mindy O’Rourke has an ugly twat.” Another insinuated she was sleeping with her brother. A third just had her head superimposed on a manatee body. I don’t know why—I was just really into manatees.

Seriously. What was I thinking?

It’s been years now, and I’ve wanted to come forward. I’ve wanted to say sorry. But how can I? Society doesn’t allow that opportunity.

Some of the kids I’ve had on probation did a lot less, and with a lot less malintent. To think I could have been in a juvenile facility is insane to consider. It’s crazy to think about.

Maybe that’s why I work so hard to help people heal now, to bring people together. But it’s tricky. The system still wants to sensationalize, still wants to punish.

Just look at the language and policy around bullying now. I agree that what I did was wrong—and I am very sorry—but we’re not talking about it like that. We’re talking about it like there are good kids and there are bad kids. And the bad kids need to be separated and branded and punished.

I was never caught, but it didn’t take me long to know that what I did was wrong. I would never do anything like that again. I often wonder what it would have been like if we would have had the chance to really talk with Mindy.  Would she tell us that she was bullying my friend because she was struggling with her dad’s death–something I would learn years later?  What if I would have been able to apologize?  What if she could have apologized to my friend? What if the world allowed for spaces for that kind of learning, that kind of healing?  What if….