We captured this on a Secondary Five class trip to Perhentian. I’m hoping that sharing this piece will mean I get to start afresh, like this sunrise.
I spotted these two girls walking down the school hallway - brought me back 10 years when I used to be them.

I WAS not a nice person in high school. Don’t ask my old classmates because they’re really sweet people who will probably say that I was not that bad — but trust me, I was. Talking or thinking about my past is very uncomfortable for me because I was not a kind person.

This is something I am very ashamed of.

It’s embarrassing but also liberating to say this out loud (or in print). These are thoughts and feelings I’ve carried around for a long time, with the hope of just sweeping it under the carpet, but you can never really ignore your past, can you?

I hope that people from my past will know that I am no longer either the child Iman or teenage Iman.

Child Iman was always trying to fit in with the cool kids without ever actually belonging. She used to ask classmates to buy her RM5 Ramlee burger without ever returning the favour. She would go over to her friends’ houses and sneakily take back things that she liked. Sometimes she’d change into sleeveless tops instead of parent-regulated t-shirts during unsupervised play dates. She has even sneaked out of the house several times.

Teenage Iman was no better. She was very self-centred. An annoying know-it-all and someone who thought she was “all-that” without being much of anything at all. She was judgemental, bossy and ignored those that she didn’t like. She was garrulous and wasted her time with trivial topics (e.g. boys).

I am ashamed about how I carried myself and how I treated people. I cringe when I think about the younger versions of myself.

Last week I unknowingly faced my demons when I took a trip through my high school. I visited with my good friend Mo (her real name is Munirah. I gave her the nickname when we were 14 and it’s stuck till now!)

We hadn’t been back since we graduated 10 years ago (do the math, I’m old!). Walking through those halls made me feel like I was 13 again. I scuttled past the walls that heard all the mean things I said about those that I didn’t like. I saw the corner where I copied someone else’s math homework. The long dark halls, the bright yellow walls and the familiar smell of adolescence moved me.

I don’t want to be scared of my past anymore. I want to own up to my mistakes so I can say sorry to all those I wronged and move forward with my life without feeling guilty. I know some of you are probably thinking, “it’s just a RM5 Ramlee burger, get over it” — but I can’t.

It may seem a small amount but back then, RM5 was a lot of money for 12-year-olds.

Why am I sharing these awful things about myself? Why would I not keep these skeletons buried forever?

It’s because I have been ashamed and scared of ever digging them up. I wanted to forget but I couldn’t because the old self is still a part of me.

Those old Imans have made me what I am now.

Me and Mo goofing around in-between classes in Secondary Five, look at the blue scarf!

I am sure this is going to be extremely embarrassing but I don’t want to pretend that I was a nice girl. I wasn’t.

I am not saying that I have transformed into a good person now. I still have bad thoughts about others, but I stop before I turn them into judgements.

I still have a sharp tongue but I have learnt to say kinder things. I am a very passive aggressive person but I’m working on flushing that out of my system.

The biggest reason for this piece is simply to say I’m sorry. To all the girls whom I had wronged, I believe you know who you are. I am sorry that I took your things,

I’m sorry I ignored you, I’m sorry I manipulated you.

I want to return it all, pay you back and perhaps give you a hug to truly say how sorry I am. If you’d like, please message me and I will work it out.

There will probably be nothing I can do or say to take back the horrible things I said or the way I made you feel. I hope you know how much I regretted what I did or said.

I know I can easily post this on Facebook but my intention with this column has always been to share a piece of myself and hopefully in a small way, will enrich the reader’s life.

Perhaps there is a 12-year-old out there who isn’t so nice to her friends, I hope she gets a hold of this and realises that being unkind is not worth it. Maybe this will inspire someone else to reach out and apologise for something they did in the past.

From all the Imans to you — I’m so sorry.

(From left) Me, teacher Nila, and Mo. We visited school after 10 years and she is still teaching there, such a lovely surprise.

As assistant to fashion icon Vivy Yusof, journalism graduate Iman Azman finds herself thrown deep into the fashion world, a universe once foreign to her. Here she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it’s like having a front row seat in the fashion industry. Follow her journey on www.instagram.com/iman_azman/

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