We threw all our stuff in the back of the car – Bella’s violin, my track bag – and I asked her how her day was, how her rehearsal went, if anything particular happened. 

She just looked down at her lap. She wouldn’t smile, wouldn’t really say much above a whisper. It made me sad. 

She told me about (dun dun DUN!) 

G Y M   C L A S S. 

Every kids worst fear at some point. 

She told me about how her volleyball team wasn’t letting her do anything. How she asked the teacher to switch teams. Bella never approached the teacher, and it’s never to get away from people. Bella’s a deal-with-er. She deals with things. I knew it was bad. She told me how her new team was just a bunch of popular girls. Ones that wouldn’t talk to her, wouldn’t look at her. 

When she got hit in the face with the ball, they laughed. 

It broke my heart, it made me infuriated. 


I told her. “Girls are mean.” And they are. Why though? Why? 

I tried to push all my past pain and the lessons I’ve learned into her. But I’m 18. I’m just figuring this out still myself. I tried to tell her they don’t have real friends. That she has to love herself and respect herself enough to know – in her head even – at those times that SHE is good enough, and they don’t know her. 

I’ve learned so much through moving a year and a half ago about learning to be okay by myself. Yes, be friendly. Yes, talk to people. Yes, try. But it’s not always going to work out. It isn’t. I had to learn to be content by myself sometimes. 

But I still keep coming back to those girls. If they stopped for a second – actually stopped and thought – would they consider themselves truly happy? Secure? How can you be whole and happy when you laugh at another human being, another teenage girl like yourself just trying to make it in this big world. 

Some people aren’t as good at making conversation. Some people aren’t what you would want them to be or expect them to be. 

News flash: MOST people are not actually normal. Most people are more real than they first appear to be. 

Girls, don’t be mean. Don’t laugh. Don’t make comments. Don’t gang up. Don’t egg idiot boys on, either. 

Stand up for each other. Stick together. We’re all looking for acceptance, and we’re all looking for love. 

Girls, don’t be mean.