Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mean Girls

I can remember back to high school when there were people I dreaded seeing every day. I'd walk awkwardly down the hallway, trying to avoid eye contact. I just wanted to stay invisible. I thought if I could make it through four years without being noticed by the wrong people, I'd be okay.

I'm 27, and those days of trying to avoid being noticed still haunt me. I've never been one of the cool kids--I didn't fit in with them. And to this day, when one of them sends me a facebook friend request, I am surprised that they even know who I am.

I never experienced true bullying; I think I managed to fly below the radar enough to avoid it. But I still felt the pain and awkwardness that came along with not feeling like I fit in. And even when I got the chance, I couldn't bring myself to join them--to become one of the mean girls, who made fun of other people and made them feel bad about themselves.

It's easy to do, isn't it? Join in and gang up on someone who is vulnerable, say things behind their back, and make them feel sad and left out? And unless you've been on the receiving end of such treatment, you'll never know how it feels. The harder thing is to not join in. And if you've ever been in a situation like that, I commend you for staying strong and not being a part of the negativity.

With the popularity of facebook and twitter, kids are finding even more creative ways to bully each other. It hurts to see people write things about each other back and forth, and I can't even imagine going through that as a kid, having to see those people every day and feel that pain. I can see how some of these kids feel so overwhelmed with all of the drama and tension that they feel they have no other way out than to end their lives.

It's got to stop. I don't care how old you are or what your situation is--be the person who doesn't join in. Because the truth is, people who spend their time hating others are probably hurting more on the inside than you'll ever know.

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