It wasn’t too long ago that I once was the teenager roaming the halls of Headland High School. I can still remember the blue lockers, and how each classroom was set up. I can remember the cafeteria and the break area. I can see all the faces of those I went to school with, and still hear all the chatter of the students. It seems like yesterday almost.
Of course, there are also more unpleasant things that I remember. I can remember the sneers, the looks, and the whispers. But these weren’t always directed at me. I am ashamed to admit that I was one of the “mean girls” in high school. I was the one giving the sneers, looks, and whispers. I can remember the faces of those I once bullied. Yes, I dished out nastiness almost on a daily basis. Over a boy. Over a way someone looked. Over the way someone acted. Really, I didn’t need a reason sometimes. If I decided that you didn’t fit into my circle, then you were fair game for my nastiness.
Looking back, it breaks my heart to think that I could be so nasty to someone just because they didn’t dress like me, talk like me, or because of some silly boy. I mean, really, I had no good reason to be so mean. I was just full of attitude and dished it out on anybody that seemed “weaker” than myself. Truth be told, I was just a lost girl trying to find her identity. I chose to throw myself into things that I thought would make me seem cool. And my meanness was just a way to divert people from getting close enough to me to see that I was just an insecure, messed up girl.
I had great parents who taught me to love all people just like Christ loves us. I went to church. I was a member of my youth ministry. So, it wasn’t that I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t that I hadn’t been raised to know better. I was taught right from wrong. I was brought up in a Christian home. I had parents who loved me and my siblings like crazy. I just couldn’t quite figure out who I was, and so therefore I put up a front. I put myself on the defense at all times. I had the mentality of, “I will get them before they can get me,” as well as, “Nobody messes with me.”
Now I look at all that nastiness that I dished out and it makes me sick. There was no good reason. There is no way to justify my behavior. It was wrong. Plain and simple. WRONG. Nothing could ever make it right. No boy was worth pushing another student into a locker. No clothing label could make my actions justifiable. Just because someone looked different than I did, or lived in another part of town than I did, didn’t give me the right to make their life miserable everyday at school.
Why do I share this? Why would I want anyone to know that I was a mean girl? Simple. I want to bring awareness. I want to share my voice, and help those being bullied and those doing the bullying. I want everyone to see that bullying is nothing but pure WRONG! Nothing makes it right. Nothing justifies it. Nobody deserves to be bullied, and nobody has the right to bully someone else. So what if she looked at the boy you like. Who cares if he lives in another part of town than you do. It doesn’t matter if you wear Calvin Klein and she wears hand-me-downs. Again, NOTHING gives ANYONE the right to bully another person. And there is absolutely positively NO reason that anyone should be bullied.
So, if you are the one being bullied, I want you to know that you have value. You are precious! You are wonderful! You are LOVED! You are the apple of God’s eye. You formed and created with purpose. You MATTER! You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the very image of God!
And, if you are the one doing the bullying, STOP! Your words and actions carry more power than you realize. You never know what someone is dealing with inside. You have no idea what troubles someone has faced or is facing. You are better than being a bully. You also were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and He loves you. You have purpose. You can rise above this. You can STOP the bullying!
I apologize for my nastiness. I now know that a “mean girl” isn’t who I was created to be. I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am treasured. I have value. I have worth. I am loved. And I am called to share the love of Christ with those I come in contact with.
I challenge you to take a stand. STOP the bullying. Speak out and be the voice for those who have their voices drowned out. Share love. Give grace. Offer hope. Together we can STOP the bullying!
Grace & Peace, Jac