I’d like to flatter myself and think that many of you are thinking, “mean girl!? Brie? No way!!” But, unfortunately, it’s true. I spent a good 6+ years hanging out with cheerleaders and trying every possible thing I could to fit in. I went so far as to tell a poor girl not “to breathe the same air as me” because she was “too much of a loser.” I mean, so horrible. That sounds like it came right out of Mean Girls. I’d like to say it’s because I watched shows with too many nasty girls on it but I picked them to admire and not the sweet ones, so that’s on me. Before I could even drive a car, I was throwing shade wherever I went. I long to go back in time and fix the damage I’ve done but here I am. I am a senior in college and I still regret the things I spoke as a 12-year-old. For anyone that was bullied or has bullied, buckle up. I’m about to confess it all.
I just want to start by saying that I did not come out of the womb acting like Regina George. While I did have oldest child syndrome, my mom and dad have many stories of me being friendly and sweet to everyone. I remember all of my friends fighting in the 2nd grade and I would always try to be the peacemaker. It all began to change when I was in the fourth grade. I was trying to be so cool that I even hacked a girl’s email account and sent fake emails to her framing some guy that bullied me. And then I got into fifth grade and it got worse (I formed a clique called the Gorgeous Five, people…). It wasn’t until freshman year of high school that I decided it wasn’t worth it. Truthfully, I wasn’t a “mean girl,” I was just trying to fit in.
Your Bullies Get Bullied
Around the time I started acting bratty, I began to get bullied myself. Girls didn’t start making fun of me until high school (after I was over it), the real bullies were always boys. In the 2nd grade, I remember a boy constantly heckling me as I was trying to read aloud in class (he did this to me constantly). I got so mad that I shouted “shut your pie hole!” to him and got in trouble with the teacher. I’d like to think that was my first act of bravery. From 4th to 8th grade, I was bullied for my height, my nose, my weight (y’all, I was a stick, boys are dumb), and the most often, my intelligence.
Maybe I picked on other people because I felt it gave me power. Maybe I picked on other people because I was bored, I don’t know. But I still remember every harsh word people said to me and every harsh word I threw right back. There is never an excuse for bullying and hate but I will say this: people learn how to hate, this is not a trait we were born with. More often than not the bullies of this world go home to hate from their parents or older siblings or they also experience bullying at school. Always remember this no matter how harsh their words are. If I would have understood this, I would have been bigger and thrown more love into the world.
Mean Girls Are Often More Insecure Than You
If you had to pick out the most insecure girl in the halls of my middle school, it was definitely me. I was trying way too hard to be cool when I for sure wasn’t and desperately holding onto friends who I needed to part with. I had no idea who I was, I disliked every part of myself. The only time I even felt close to okay was when I was at home, at church, or acting. School was my biggest nightmare. I hated trying to fit in. I hated being snarky and being friends with other snarky girls. By the time I reached the 8th grade, I just wanted out. I spiraled into a horrible depression that didn’t leave me until I was 17.
I was mean because I hated myself, not because I felt superior. That is all bullies are. We are insecure shells of human beings and we are angry. I’m lucky to have figured this all out before I graduated high school. If you see someone being mean or hateful, love them. I would have gossiped and slandered less, I would have not have hurt people if I had realized how God saw me. Show love, show Jesus, show kindness, always.
In Reality, We All Just Want to Be Loved
I’m sure many of you are thinking, “wow, she really wants us to pity her.” Nope. Not at all. Thankfully all of the stuff I did is nearly a decade behind me and I can talk with a new perspective. I am just preaching one message: love everyone. If I would have loved the mean girls (and boys) in my life, I would have never stooped to their level or pretended to be something that I am not. I recently watched someone I grew up with commit a heinous crime so severe that his picture was published on CNN. He was bullied and he bullied. No, I may have never physically harmed someone but I did steal a girl’s boyfriend, I did talk horribly about people I claimed to care about, I did create a living nightmare for someone, and I lied… a lot. I was mean. But really, I just wanted people outside of my family to love me.
In reality, we all just want to be loved. Remember this when you go back to school, when you go to work, and when you go home. There are bullies everywhere. We just have to remember to love first. I pray the people I hurt to forgive me as I have forgiven those who hurt me. Let’s end this cycle of bullying, shall we?