7 girls, one high school. I began high school thinking that it was exactly like I had learned about through Hollywood movies, there was the nerd who was always made fun of for his brains, the bully who would push the ‘nerds’ around and steal their lunch money, the jock who was good at every sport and the guy that girls drooled over, and lastly the mean girl and all her minions who all the other girls wanted to be. I spent the first few weeks of high school learning that not all of these stereotypes were true until I realized that I was one of the seven minions of the popular, mean girl.
Boy, I’ve come a long way. Without my faith and my integrity, I would still walk down the school hallways with those ‘packs’ of girls.
I spent the entirety of my freshman and sophomore years of high school with my six best friends. We would shop, have sleepovers, paint our nails, and most of all gossip. We would gossip about everyone and everything; I would follow along even though deep down I knew it was wrong. Each moment like this — choosing to or to not gossip– made me start to push away the small part of the old me inside. I was really disregarding who I knew I was and could be as an individual. Little did I know this group of friends was holding me back from a high school experience that could be filled with endless memories made with a variety of people.
There was no specific moment or event that shifted the aspect of my friendship with these girls. I wish I knew what it was that shifted my view so I could help others who are now in the position I was once in. I started to realize that I was not being my true self and that was because of the people I was surrounding myself with.
Before high school, I had always seen myself as a light in others’ lives. The bubbly fun girl who was friends with everyone; the athletes and the nerds. But at the beginning of high school, that was not who I was. I buried my personality and replaced it with the ones of those six girls; mean, self-centered, and focused on popularity and nothing else.
So looking back, I was the one who was impacted the most by this change in my life. Obviously so were my parents and friends, but most of all me. Through this change, I made new friends and found my true self in the process. Now, I look at myself in the mirror and see a person that I am proud to be. A person that works her hardest to talk to everyone, no matter who they are. A person who cherishes the little moments in life, the moments spent with my family and new friends.
I can now say they I am a different person and I love the person I have become. I always have a smile on my face. I am conscious of my actions and their impact on others. I see people in a different light. I am happy. It made me aware of the different people all around me and allowed me to see all angles of every situation.
Once I made the change to remove the toxic friendships in my life and work on becoming a better version of myself, I found the best friends that I have now. My forever family. Most of these girls and I have known each other since middle school but because I was so caught up in that other group, I never got the chance to get to know them. My best friends are the kindest and most respectable people I have ever met and have made me into the girl that I once was. When I am with them I know I can be my true self. I can laugh, can tell them anything, and never do I feel judged,
You know, Hollywood films are true, but just like me, each character has to make a choice between their true selves and popularity. This choice is hard because it makes you question who you are vs. who you want to be. Do you want to be your true self? Or do you want to be the popular girl, one who isn’t the nicest, but has a good rep?