When I was in high school, I used to be really, incredibly, insanely, and PAINFULLY jealous of other girls. I was insecure and more than a little awkward. I was a total dork but pretended to be into school dances and shopping for expensive dresses and gossiping.
And you know what? I failed. I failed hard. I failed so hard, in fact, that I became absolutely silent at school. Seriously, if one of these girls who I wanted to be friends with so much as talked to me, my brain would freeze up and I would try so so hard to think of anything to say. Anything at all.
Hi, self. It's me again. Say something. Anything. Say that you agree. Or like her shoes. Or...I don't know. Say "hi"? That's acceptable, right?
And then I would try to say "hi" and it would come out as a nervous squeak and I would feel shame for the rest of the day.
I eventually became friends with all the boys because, well, boys are chill. They play Halo. They high five. They don't feel the need to bash every person not within hearing range. Being friends with boys in high school, though, means that every single girl is going to call you names. Mean names, horrible names, and sometimes they're going to blame you for things you didn't do just because blaming you is easier than facing problems themselves. And sometimes they're going to do that in the middle of lunch in front of everyone and it's going to be accompanied by swear words and you're going to cry and get mascara all over your face. And then you'll go sit in your car and cry some more for a few hours and wonder what's wrong with you and then you'll go back inside and pretend like nothing happened, because that's what you do when you're in high school. And believe me, I feel for you. It's a complex, messed up system.
High school was this miserable time for me. But I learned some freaking important lessons. Such as...
Sometimes, life is a five year old's birthday party.
What do I mean by that? Well, some days you're the pinata and some days you're the blind little kid dangerously swinging a baseball bat. In high school, I think I focused a bit too much on my pinata days. I was angry, SO angry at the people who gossiped about me, hurt me, pretended to be friends with me, humiliated me in front of classmates, ignored me when I was standing right there, and called me a slut every five seconds. So angry, in fact, that I still would cry about it well after graduation.
Funny thing though. It's hard to be angry about that sort of thing when you understand something. I was the punching bag a lot in school, but I'm often the blindfolded kid too. Sometimes, people are blind. They hurt you and they hurt you a lot but they don't understand what they are doing. They learn from hurting you. But, you have to remember, you learned from hurting someone too at some point in your life. We don't always get to be the victim, sometimes we're the bad guy and honestly, that's actually good for us. A decent person will learn from it.
Those people are NOT worth your tears.
I spent a few really creepy hours on Facebook recently stalking some of the girls who I used to be so insanely jealous of. You know how I felt? I didn't feel better than them, or equal to them, or included or vindicated or anything. I just felt free. I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. I've embraced the Star Wars loving, video game playing, pokemon obsessed girl that I am and that is beyond awesome, you guys.
When you're doing what you love to do, it's hard to be jealous of anyone, even the people you enjoy and respect. It isn't about feeling superior. It isn't about feeling like you're the bigger person. It's just about being so happy with yourself that they can't do anything about it anymore. They just become unworthy of your tears, not because they are bad or fail-tastic people, but just because it isn't worth your time to cry about it anymore.
It is so so so so important to be kind.
I've grown up and I'm not going to give a verbal butt-kicking to the next mean girl I encounter from those days. But I know how it feels. I know what it's like to dwell on painful, hurtful memories. I get the anger, the resentment, the depression. I understand what it's like to feel like there is something immensely wrong with you. I know that there are certain memories that just won't unstick themselves from you and that you can't wish away no matter how hard you try. That's why I never ever EVER want to make someone feel that way.
Promise yourself right now that you will never be that person. Don't make someone feel worthless. Don't let a lonely kid fall through the cracks. Be everyone's friend. Be everyone's support. You don't know what someone's life is like in reality. Remember that indifference can be just as painful as outright cruelty to someone who feels alone.
Don't let anyone look back at you and see only what you did to them. Don't even let them look back and remember you as the person who stood by and watched.
In the words of Jesse Jackson, never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.