i was a bully
I never thought of myself as a mean girl. When I was really little? I was almost too nice: My mom would yell at me for trying to give away all my toys away to other kids! I wish being “too nice” was what I was always known for, but sadly, when middle school came along, things changed a little.
Alison was new at my small, all girls school. She came in the middle of 8th grade, and although I didn’t know her, I’d heard from another girl that Alison was mean and talked trash about everyone she thought was poor or ugly. Obviously, she sounded like a biotch, so instead of giving her a chance, my friends and I hated her from the get-go.
My role in my friend group was kind of the class clown. Making people laugh made me feel good, like I belonged. So, one afternoon in the library, I snuck up behind Alison, held up a piece of her hair, and said “Oh my gosh, Alison, I am sooooo obsessed with you! I’m going to make an Alison doll out of your perfect hair!”
My other friends laughed and shouted more rude things at her. As she packed up and ran out of the room, I had a feeling at the pit of my stomach that something was wrong with what had happened, but I brushed it off because all my friends were congratulating me on such a good swipe.
The next morning, Alison showed up with her family to talk to the dean. We all knew we were in for it and the regret that I had ignored the day before started to bubble up again. A few of us were suspended and banned from coming to the Halloween carnival. Worse? Alison left our school–I’d never realized that something I could say, a joke even, could make someone so upset that they’d have to change their life around. I’d never felt that awful or ashamed.
After that day, I knew I needed to change and start thinking about other people’s feelings more. I volunteered to be the head of peer mediation at my school for the next four years, helping smooth out drama between girls and stop bullying–and I still try every day to spread happy, not hate.
I just wish I could tell Alison how sorry I still am.
Have you ever bullied someone else–even as a joke–and felt awful about it? Tell us all about it in the comments?
i was a bully