April 19th 2019
A short story about how I left the past in the past and moved forward as a new and better person.
Growing up, I didn’t always fit in. At a young age, I wasn’t quite as interested in certain things as many people my age were. Gossip, dating, having designer bags or clothes, etc. I wasn’t that into the idea of drinking behind the local post office or causing drama to get my name into people’s mouths. And, because of all that, I always found myself being the odd one out of the group.
At the start of high school, I had a major falling out with a girl I had considered to be one of my best friends. She messaged me on Facebook to let me know that no one liked me and that people thought I was annoying…and I believed her. Soon enough, word spread about our falling out and people I considered to be close friends began to take sides. I was uninvited to birthday parties and social gatherings and spent a large part of my summer in my living room alone watching reruns on TV.
My mom limited my social media time and required me to put my phone in the hallway before bed in the hopes that I wouldn’t spend all night dealing with harsh messages and subtweets about “what a shitty person I was” and how I was being left out. When high school started, things really didn’t get much better. I had a couple of friends that wavered in and out of my life, but nothing consistent until around senior year.
I spent a lot of time wasting my energy on people who never deserved it to begin with, just because they were talking to me. I look back now and realize that I lost a ton of people, not because I was a bad friend, but because they were never my friends to begin with.
College had its own share of bullying, mostly during freshman and sophomore year. By junior year, I found a small group of friends where I fit in and things began to die down and I would consider myself pretty happy since. It is not that I haven’t had a fair share of drama since then, but I wouldn’t deem it as “bullying” per say, but just mutual falling outs.
But this story, despite seeming sad, is not a sad story. Bullying was not the end for me, it was far from it actually. I would say that after bullying, my life truly began.
I used to spend a lot of time thinking about what I would have done differently if I was given a second chance. And, now that I am a bit older and have some hindsight and context, I would honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. Being bullied sucked and often made me feel insignificant and worthless, however, looking back, I think I grew the most in the time where I was the most down.
I learned what being a real friend means, I have taught myself to walk away form people who don’t serve me, I have learned when to stand up for myself and when to just ignore things and move on. I taught myself the value of separating myself from toxic things and people and, overall, grew as a person.
Seeing the friends I have now, I know that everything up until this point has contributed to the amazing friends and life I have now. High school freshman Jessica would have never believed that she could have such amazing and supportive friends and a life that she loves. After years of wishing I could just be a normal kid, life has granted me the opportunity to meet and get to know a group of amazing people who were just like me.
If you’re ever feeling alone or down, just remember that there are people out there, just like you, who are looking for someone like you just as much as you are looking for someone like them. Your past doesn’t have to determine your future. Don’t let other people turn you sour and keep believing that tomorrow can and will be a better day.
Also, if anyone is reading this and is in a bad spot, feel free to reach out in the comments or through my contact page. I would love to be a listening ear for anyone who needs it.