This post is important for many different reasons. It’s important for me to reflect on. To admit to myself and to possibly say what others may have thought. I was Regina George in high school. Wow **feww** feels good to get that off of my chest.
If I go back and really try to remember when the exact moment that I became a “mean girl” I can probably pin down the turning point. But nevertheless the point is: I was a mean girl.
This didn’t really start until 10th grade. Up to that point I really just kept my nose down and stuck to a select group of friends that I had had for so long. Around 2010 I met someone who filled me with the proposition that I was not inferior to anyone and in fact should inflict any sort of verbal abuse on anyone who treated me as though I was such. And I did.
The one thing that egged me on was the people who watched me, laughing at the things I would say to others. Most people probably thought I was being sarcastic and just joking but whatever I said to someone didn’t end with a “haha” from me or an apology. Just a look of superiority and an eyebrow raised, as if I was proud of what I’d just done.
The change didn’t really happen until 2012, when I became a senior in high school. It took a major event in my life to realize that I wasn’t the big bad HBIC that I was giving off to be. I remember a few things vividly from this time. I remember a younger girl who was never anything but nice to everyone, she said something to me in class one day…and for no apparent reason at all I snapped at her, something to the effect of “go away you’re annoying.” She just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “okay.” When she walked away something snapped in me. An inner voice yelling “what is wrong with you?” Who was I? I found the girl and apologized to her. Yet that clearly didn’t take the pain away. That did make it better, though she forgave me. And she didn’t have to.
Later that day on the way home from school, my car ran out of gas. Totally embarrassed on the side of the road I watched my friends drive by me and not stop to help. One by one by one. I was a bit shocked and humbled. Then an unfamiliar car pulled up behind mine. A kind voice is what I heard. Another student from the school whom I had known of but never really spoken to ask me if I would like a ride home. I said yes. I got into their car and realized these students were all people whom I would have never spoken to in school. Students I would have probability ignored had they ever tried to speak to me. These kind people stopped and gave me a ride all the way to my house and asked for nothing in return. While everyone I thought was cool in school drove by. The REAL cool kids stopped and helped someone in need. And again…they didn’t have to.
That was the day things started to change for me. I remember avidly trying to seek out people whom I would have never associated myself with before. I wanted to apologize to them, I wanted the honor of being their friends. You know what? Out of all the people I was friends with in school, these were the friendships that have lasted all these years beyond. I realize now how easily I flung insults and mean words to people who just wanted love. How could I have lived with myself had something I said been the last straw that made someone end their own life? I couldn’t bare that I could be that person one minute longer.
I don’t speak to almost anyone that I went to school with, only a few people. I want to tell the ones that I don’t know anymore, the ones that I may have hurt. The ones who steered clear of me, that I am sorry. I was wrong and I know now that I was wrong.
One day I am going to have to sit my boys down and explain to them that they may meet someone like me in school. They might meet a Regina George or any bully of some sort. I will know all to well how they should react to these people. I’ll explain to them the all to true old story. This person is acting like this because they are hurting inside. It makes them feel better about themselves to hurt others. I’ll tell my sons to give these people only kindness back. No matter what they say. To show that bully that they can not be broken down by harsh and unkind words. And maybe if they do that, one persons life can be changed by the kindness of others as mine was.
I think I took for granted the heavy blow of the words I said to others could have inflicted. Far to many young people take their own lives over such things. Words hurt us more than any physical blow could sometimes.
I wrote this blog with a few people in mind. But one person sticks out more because he is no longer with us. John Todd, you and I went rounds those four years of school together. You will never know how grateful that I am for that last year that I knew you. You didn’t have to forgive me. But you did. I wish I would have told you one last time that you were my friend and that you mattered to so many people. You taught me the biggest lesson in this life, that it is precious and it is fragile and sometimes we don’t get the opportunity to make it right or remind people that they are loved.
You were my friend. And I am blessed to have been able to be.
Any person who I ever snapped at, belittled, embarrassed or made to feel less than you were. I am sorry. And I am not a Regina George anymore. Now? I plan to live my life making up for years of being that dark person. I plan to raise my boys to be like those people who forgave me and befriended me. When they didn’t have to. They chose to.
To the girl I remember crying in the hallways often, I’m sorry that I walked on by and didn’t offer to help console you. I’m sorry that I didn’t know what was happening in your life that caused you so much pain.
To the boy who marched to the beat of his own drum. Who often said what was on his mind and in return, people laughed at you. I am sorry I laughed. I am sorry that I said you were weird. You weren’t weird, we were the weird ones.
To the students who lost parents at such a young age. I am sorry that I didn’t stop to tell you how sorry for your loss that I truly was. I am sorry that I didn’t make your family a casserole or come to the funerals and wakes they were held in their honor.
And to the people with cuts on their body, I saw them. And I am sorry that I didn’t extent my kindness and offer of friendship. Your life matters and it did matter. You are important.
Thank you to everyone who has forgiven that girl that I was. And thank you to everyone who read this and needed to know that I see the wrong now that I didn’t then.
No longer Regina