But let's also take a look at something else... when I was young, I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be friends with the popular girls. And often, because I had the cool toys or the cool lunch, I was allowed to tag along with the popular girls. They pretty much treated me like trash, but I just wanted to feel like I was cool. Meanwhile, I was not a very nice person. I didn't usually make fun of other kids, but I thought some pretty awful things about the ones that I felt were below me. And I certainly wasn't willing make any waves by defending other kids who were getting teased, even if I thought the bullies were going too far. In a way, I was almost as bad as them.
In 5th grade, when everyone found out who I liked and made fun of me and him everyday at lunch, I finally realized that I was never going to be popular. I was miserable and alone. I didn't have any real friends, because I'd mostly ignored the nicer girls in favor of tagging along with the "mean girls". I was definitely a victim of a lot of undeserved abuse, but I'd also made some bad choices.
For awhile after that, I hated everyone. My anger was a shield. If I was going to have to face it all alone, I had to be tough. But eventually, slowly, the anger cooled down. In high school, I was able to make some real friends, and not once did I worry about whether or not someone was popular.
Now, looking back, I can see things quite clearly. I don't know if I was ever capable of some of the things that were done to me, as I didn't run around bullying other kids even then, but my thoughts were poisoned by the hatred that I learned from the girls I tried to emulate. Who knows what would have happened if I was allowed to tag along all through my school days? If I hadn't been forced to be alone and friendless would those toxic thoughts still rule my mind? Maybe I would look at Morgan and think he wasn't "cool" enough to date. It's a terrifying thought, honestly.
I do, of course, still feel angry at my peers for treating me horribly. For making me hate myself. For making feel disgusting, unlovable, unwanted, and better off dead. For making me worry if I'll ever be able to trust a man enough to let him love me. But if I hadn't gone through what I did, maybe I would be a cold, cruel person like they were. I do believe that most have them have become better people since then, but even still, I wonder if they'll ever be able to feel the kind love that I have in me. When they close their eyes, do they hear violins?
I don't know if I'm able to feel it completely or permanently, but thinking about these things right now, I forgive them, and I release them. I hope you're proud of me, Gabby.