I remember walking into the high school entrance in the black and white VANS and gray capri sweats, confident as ever. I was feeling stronger than I had before, and I was always excited when I got to start fresh in a new state. You see, I had just moved after 4 years in Massachusetts back to the sunshine state. It was a small town where every street was different, and you could literally see a tumbleweed blowing into an open field. It had been a huge adjustment and one of the hardest moves of my life, but I was ready to move forward and make new friends. The first ones that I met were 3 girls in my homeroom period. Beautiful. Fun. Stylish. Everything you want to be in high school. They made me feel as welcome as they could, asking me questions like, “How do you feel about the east coast verses the west coast?” I felt like I was fitting in pretty well. The only thing was that they all knew each other pretty well. Sometimes I would miss some inside joke or memory of something long past, but it didn’t affect me that much. The problem came when I was passing in the hall some time after lunch and I saw them walking toward me. My class was in the other direction so I smiled and waved as I went passed them. As I did, I heard one of them make a comment about the outfit I was wearing. They all kind of snickered, except for one, who was as genuine as the day is long, who somewhat defended my honor. “Give her a break, she’s still new here.” , she whispered to them. I looked down at my black and white VANS and gray sweats. “…still new here…” I thought to myself. The words rang my head for the rest of the day, and it was that day that I ditched the outfit. Some time passed and I drifted away from those girls a lot, as one does in high school. I met some more new people. They would show me around the school, warning me about all the strict teachers and good cafeteria lines. I started to feel like I was getting somewhere, and I liked more and more who I was becoming. I felt like I was becoming a better judge of character, following only the people I had a “good feeling about”. That included a girl we’ll call, Haley.
Haley and I met in another one of my classes and we became friends very quickly. We would laugh over stupid things and share our schoolgirl crushes. I had no doubts about her at all. She soon introduced me to her 3 other close friends. Once I met them, we all sort of became a crew. We had a class together, we sat together at lunch, and walked around after school. Everything was normal to me, until one day when Haley started having issues with me. I was never quite clear what the issue was, but she was saying these to the other girls behind my back. It was right before lunch was about to end, and I had just come back from the bathroom to rejoin them in our usual spot. As I walked up to them, I saw Haley make gesture, and they ran a couple of feet away from me. Okay….maybe they’re playing some game. I thought to myself. So again, I walked over to where I saw them standing and just like before, they moved away from me to the other side of the campus. Confused, I tried one more time, asking them why they were treating me like this. All they did was keep running. Finally, I gave up trying to figure it out and cut them off completely. I asked no questions and received no answers. The only thing I knew was that Haley had started it, and for what, to prove she had power over me? Ummm, no. Who wants “friends” like that, right? So I found even more friends, and after that, things got a lot easier. They were people I could really trust, and I knew I could be my authentic self with them.
The reason I’m writing this is because I hear about people being bullied a lot, asking fo advice on how to handle it. It usually involves some girl who is a little too mature for her age, and has a very high opinion of herself. Or her opinion of herself is so low that she has to bring people down to where she is to lift her own self up. Or it’s a guy who’s having problems at home, so he takes it out on some innocent kid just trying to live his life and be happy. There are two piece of advice that I would give to someone being bullied at any age. Number one: Tell someone. ANYONE! You may feel like you’re alone in the world, and that no one understands or wants to listen, but I guarantee you, someone will. Tell your parents, tell a counselor, tell a coach. An authority figure should be able to alleviate the situation, either by sitting you down with the other person to talk out your issues, or calling that person’s parents. Don’t worry about making the situation worse by calling that person out, the situation could be much MUCH worse for you later if you suffer in silence. Number two: Just be. This may sound like a cliche thing to say, but you shouldn’t care so much about what people think. They’re rumors, and though they may hurt you in the moment, you can make a choice to move on. You’re gonna find a group of people someday who appreciate how unique you are. Always, ALWAYS be yourself. If you pretend to be someone you’re not, you’ll only be making yourself miserable in the process. Remember, it’s a lot more to be fake than to be real.
Talking about this made me remember a verse in the word of God that I use you lift me up when my self-esteem is down, and that’s Matthew 5:14.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Simple and short, straight to the point. But what does it mean to be “built on a hill”? It means that you’re up so high, that no wave or wind can mess with you. Think about it. Whenever you see an elevated house, don’t you think about ho glorious it looks. You think about how happy the person living in that house must be, and that some day, you should how your very own elevated house. They have an amazing view and are safer than most from dangerous circumstances. That’s the way we’re supposed to feel about ourselves. We’re supposed to walk in confidence, knowing that we have all the qualities that we’re supposed to have. God is supposed to be the one we turn to for that confidence. He calls you “the light of the world” for a reason. He wants you to stand out and be bold before the world. We are always told that light overcomes the darkness and stands for good, so continue to repeat this verse, and I believe you’ll start to feel a difference in the way you interact with people. Always go back to your roots when you feel lost, which is the way God feels about you. If the ruler of this Earth likes you, trust me when I say, you have a lot going for you. I hope this helps someone who might be struggling the way I did. I have a couple more stories about some craziness that happened to me when I was middle school, so let me know if you guys want to hear more about that. I hope everyone has ana amazing rest of the week, trusting God with any giant that may try to come your way. Xoxo.