So, I have been trying to figure out how to write about this subject. It has been on my mind for a long time now. I start middle school in less than a month and I am kinda worried about it. I thought there was enough going on in elementary school, but I’m pretty sure it gets worse in middle school. I want to talk about mean girls and how they treat other girls. Whenever I would come home from school or dance class and I would tell my mom how certain people acted that day, if they were mean to me, or said something mean, or treated me badly – she would always say, “Ainsley, the reason why this person doesn’t like you is because they don’t like themselves.” She would say that every time and it made me mad because it didn’t make sense. Now it does.
Last year in 5th grade there were always girls who would argue, fight, and be mean to each other, usually over something stupid. Our teacher and another girl in my class and me would call it “girl drama.” I tried to stay out of all the girl drama, but sometimes the girls who create all the girl drama try to bring you into it. They target you to be mean to. There were two girls at school who caused me more girl drama than the rest. One of them based her entire life off of talking bad about people and criticizing them and talking behind their backs. She was a mean girl, but always acted nice when people were around. As soon as they left the room, she would rag on them and laugh at them with other kids. She treated almost everybody like that, even her friends. She would compare herself to others and put them down. She always had to have the better hair, the better clothes, was a better dancer, a better singer, smarter. And instead of her being good at whatever she was doing and letting somebody else be good at what they did, she made them feel bad about themselves because nobody could be better than her. Or so she would say. And the thing about it is, most of the time when she was saying those things, she was wrong. Not to put her down, but she had to make herself look good by making herself better than another person.
There was another girl who came to our school new a few years ago. When we first met, she was nice to me. She acted like she wanted to be my friend. Then, after she became friends with someone I had been friends with forever, she started being mean to me. She always criticized me to my face. She tried to get my friend to like her better than me, instead of all of us just being friends. There is another girl who was in my dance group. She did the same thing. She replaced a girl who moved away, but she made it a point of singling me out every time for criticism. She was clearly the worst dancer of the group – not because she was a bad dancer, but because she hadn’t danced as long as the rest of us. Nobody ragged on her dancing, but she made it a point of ragging on ours, especially me for some reason. If there was a dance move or combination that she struggled with, she would get mad at me. She always tried to pull the other girls in the group away from me and make them like her more. She would accuse me of things that I didn’t do. This went on for an entire year! She made me soooooo angry.
My mom and I have talked about this a lot. My mom calls it “Mean Girl Syndrome.” There is even a movie about it. My mom said that these kinds of girls were around when she was in elementary school, middle school, and high school too. She said they were even around in college and at places she worked. I hate it. But, I do now understand what she meant. If you are not happy with yourself then you find somebody else to pick on. If you tell yourself and other people that this person is not as good as you, then it makes you feel better about yourself. In my opinion, that is a sucky way to live. If there is something that I don’t like about myself, I try to change it. If I am having trouble with a combination in dance, I work on it until I can do it. What good is putting down the other people who can do the combination? You’re still standing there looking stupid because you can’t get it.
I don’t want to be a person who is mean or a bully just to make myself look good and to make other people feel bad. I wish other girls felt the same way. If the only way you can feel good about yourself is to mistreat other people, then that’s sad and I feel sorry for you. Like my mom said, if I didn’t do anything to make you dislike me, then your obsession with talking about me must not be about me. It must be about you! And the only way to feel good about yourself is to stop focusing on other people and to focus on yourself. Everybody is different. There will always be somebody else smarter, prettier, and who dances better. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be smart, pretty, and a good dancer too. It does make sense – people don’t like me because they don’t like themselves. My wish for girls everywhere is that they stop being mean to each other and learn to love themselves. Don’t be a bully! Be a friend!