I thought that once I’d entered high school, people would have matured and gotten over the need to gossip and stir up needless drama. I thought wrong. So many people are just fake. Gossiping, lying fakes. I can scan the entire cafeteria and find nobody in whom I could trust. I don’t socialize at school, and day by day, my desire to do so lessens. I’m starting to actually dislike people at my school.
This morning, I walked into my history class for the first time in over a month. I haven’t been to school in a while, and much to my embarrassment, I completely forgot where I was seated. I wasn’t sure if the seating had changed, or if I was simply failing to remember. Confused, I sat hesitatingly down into an open seat.
“Uh, do you sit here?” said the girl next to me, condescendingly. Immediately I felt again like a small little fifth grader. Or sixth grader. Or seventh. Any of the three. I’m not sure why such a simple little thing like that would cause me to become so upset.
“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t been here in a while. Do you by any chance know where I would sit?” At this point, I received the classic mean girl eye-roll. I know, so mature.
“Why are you asking me? How should I know?” More mean girl looks. Very condescending. Again, I felt small again. I traveled back in time to age twelve–and unfortunately responded with twelve-year-old maturity.
“Oh, thanks!” I responded, smiling–sarcastically sweet. “That was so helpful!” The girl was alarmed. Why? I guess because I’m the sweet quiet one who always lends her pencils–even when she never returns them. I never speak. I stay on people’s good side, but this time I got a little snarky.
At this point I remembered where I was sitting and moved at the earliest possible moment. For the rest of class, I felt horribly guilty. I’d acted just as horribly as she had. I also felt conspicuous and insecure. Imagine an accordion in a green meadow. That was me in history class this morning. I felt like the girl was staring at me and secretly planning to ruin me. Then, awful scenarios began to pop up in my head. What if she turns the whole class against me? Or the whole school? What if she creates a website dedicated to hating me? Such irrational thoughts always run through my head in moments like the ones that happened today.
At the end of class, as she was packing up after the bell, I approached her. “Hey, sorry I was rude earlier.”
“Yeah. Sorry,” she mumbled. Our eyes did not meet. Later, we ran into each other in the bathroom. She asked me for lip balm, and I said I had none. She seemed sweet–of course, I’ve become wary even of kindness. High school is an ocean of false sincerity. You never know when someone’s a true fish or a shark disguised as one.
More needless drama happened at lunch. I wasn’t directly involved this time; rather, I overheard. I usually sit with some popular girls. They actually approached me at the beginning of the year and wanted to sit with me–of course I obliged, though awkwardly. Well, after I’ve been gone for over a month, they didn’t give me even so much as a glance. I was expendable to them the whole time. What else could be expected, though? All I did was read while they played Candy Crush on their phones.
Anyway, I was sitting uncomfortably on the edge of their circle and heard them talking about other girls on their sports team. The insults were flying everywhere.
“She thinks she’s the best! She’s actually not. Everyone is annoyed with her.”
“I know, right?! And she’s not even that pretty.”
“So true! She thinks everyone likes her! Ugh, I want to slap her.”
“She likes every boy, but has no chance of being liked back.”
“Let’s not talk to her at practice this evening, okay? If she comes up to us, just walk away.”
This is only a very short paraphrase of their conversation. These are the girls who are always taking pictures of themselves with her, hanging out with her, and acting like best friends. In fact, the class period before, I saw them all laughing and hanging out together. And then the chatter at lunch! It made me physically ill to listen to. They’re like black widow spiders–eating their own kind! These are the girls who like all my pictures on social networking sites, including when my caption is “Please don’t talk badly about others. Words carry a great weight” or something. The hypocrisy!
The drama is needless! I ache for everyone they’ve put down. I mean, I actually feel pain when I hear talk like I heard at lunch, even if it’s not about me. Can’t people recognize that everyone is a human–flesh and blood, bone and marrow? We are all the same! Will this petty talk even matter in a year? No, of course not! It’s pointless and hurtful! I don’t know how to say this any other way: shut up! Just shut up, please! I would rather them play Candy Crush on their bedazzled iPhone 5S than be so low as to trash another human being!
Yes, we’re all hypocritical. Face it, we’ve all gossiped. And gossip is tempting–not necessarily to hurt others, but out of curiosity. We want to know what’s going on. It’s like news–we want to be up to date on who likes whom, who hates whom, and so on. We crave surprise. Oh my God, she hooked up with that kid?! I never would have guessed! Sometimes we just want some excitement to spice up our lives. (Half the time, the “news” isn’t even true, by the way.) But there are better ways of doing this! When I’ve been tempted to gossip, or even listen to a conversation in whispers, I just turn away and remember that it’s none of my business. What other people do in private, or what they keep secret, isn’t anything I should know. It’s not my business whom that girl is interested in. I shouldn’t care who she’s hooked up with. It’s not my business!
So instead of putting other people down, or gossiping, try including other people. When we add new people to our “friend groups”, we add variety to our lives! Meet people. Find a hobby. Join a fandom. Do anything, but don’t take your own insecurities out on somebody else. It’s not fair.
This advice goes for me, for you, and for that strange clown statue standing in the corner of my living room. Oh, he’s holding a knife!
I better go now! Run! I’ll see you la–
(Just kidding. There’s no clown in my living room.)