Even If



Imagine you are walking down the school hallway, the aroma of sweaty students fills the air. You see a group of tall, skinny, teenage girls, pointing, making faces and laughing at you. They have the body of a model but the persona of a devil.  Their blue, shiny eyes stare as they whisper and judge you walking step by step down a hall of rusted lockers. You think to yourself “What is so funny? What did I do?”. Truth is, there will never be an answer because sometimes, there are just going to be mean girls.

“What’s wrong with her face?” I hear them whisper in the distance.

“Her stomach looks weirder than it normally does,” one of them laughs. 

It wasn’t always this way though. I used to BE that girl. I wasn’t perfect, but I laughed at people who weren’t popular. The girl in the big hoodie and sweatpants, the one trying to fit in. I found joy in laughing at them and being their bully. I distinctly remember a close friend running up to me, giggling, because a frail boy had worn the same sweater every single day that week. Now, looking back, that could have been the only sweater he owned. That could have been given to him by somebody he loved or hold a special memory and we so easily picked on him for it. We didn’t know his background or anything about him for that matter. We just picked on him. 

Maybe it was because we were insecure and needed to hurt someone else to make us feel better about ourselves. Weeks passed and these girls grew apart from me. We stopped talking entirely and I don’t understand why. 

Now, I’m the one they pick on. Now, I know how the other people felt. I finally understand what it’s like for those people. I was the BULLY. Where it used to be them that we would make jokes about, it’s now me. I’m the one they chose to try and ruin after we stopped being friends. Above all else, I still had one person who truly mattered to me. She was the one I would trust with my life and she trusted me with hers. I cherished the bond we shared until I realized she was just like everybody else.  

The cycle of this bullying repeats day by day. It occurs in the depths of snapchat, tiktok, and imessage. Part of me wants to respond with something just as mean, or worse but I know that’s not how you deal with conflict. The second you show it mattered to you, that’s when they know they’ve won. You can’t fall for their games no matter how angry you get. Even if you’ve left class to cry in the bathroom. Even if you feel like you’re all alone. 

I distinctly remember on a Tuesday night, the worst thing that someone can say to me was said. It was rainy and cold on the other side of my window. I was curled up in my fuzzy, paisley, purple blanket, scrolling through instagram, when I received a text from my best friend through snapchat. I opened it to reveal an angry jumble of words. A part in the message read the following: 

You will never see how awful of a person that you are, I hate you, everything about you. We’re done, don’t text me, call me or even look at me in school. We are done. 

Tears collected below my eyelashes and fell down my cheek as the dribble of water got heavy. I had managed to lose everybody. I lost every single person that I cared about. I was alone. Even if I had tried, there was no going back. I would never be able to forgive her for the text she sent me because it felt like knives were being thrown directly at my heart. 

Days passed and I still wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” I sat in my warm bed with the same blanket as nights before as thoughts traveled through my head. How could someone I gave everything to, turn around and throw me away like it was nothing? We had months worth of happy memories and laughter, but she just threw it all away.

After I received the text, this wave of sadness hit me. It wasn’t anything close to a depression because I can still do normal tasks and function well, it was more like a numbness. My feelings were hurt so badly that I felt as if I didn’t have feelings at all anymore. 

My days repeat themselves like a silent record player that will never stop turning. I get up, put on my clothes, go to school, go to swimming practice and come home. This has been my routine for weeks and although it doesn’t sound interesting, it comforts me. 

After losing what I cared about most, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I like to be alone. I would rather sit in my bedroom, letting my eardrums rumble with the volume of the music, or even reading my favorite book than go into town with the people I call my friends. I’ve taught myself to enjoy my own company. I don’t need boys or friends to make me happy. 

On multiple occasions, my parents had approached me about why I had suddenly closed myself off, attempting to avoid contact. 

“Why won’t you talk to us?” my mother quizzed.

“Why are you in your room all the time? You never spend time with us anymore.” they screamed.  

Above all things I noticed, I felt as if the whole world needed to be shut out. I have people I can talk to, like my parents and my swim team, but I don’t have people I can text on the dreary Saturday nights and ask them to hangout. I don’t have someone to send goofy, happy pictures to. I don’t have someone I feel comfortable telling my deepest feelings and secrets to. Even if there’s something I just can’t swallow, even if I was really excited about something, there’s nobody I can run to to be excited with me. 

Out of all the things I’ve learned about myself, I’ve learned the most about other people. People will do anything to raise themselves up, even if it means bringing you down. People are going to use you and you’re not going to realize it until it’s too late. People are going to drop you as soon as they’ve found someone to fulfill the high social statues that they crave. Even if you’ve defended their name. Even if you gave them everything. Even if you made sure they were okay, knowing you are on the edge of melting down.