So today’s post is going to be on a bit of a hot topic right now: bullying. I was at a concert this past weekend, and one of the performers was Hunter Hayes. He has a song out called “Invisible” and it basically is about bullying and feeling left out of from their peers. I’ve attached the music video below for your viewing pleasure. I personally can’t get enough of the fantastic message with it.
While bullying is becoming more popular now, with the changing times (and internet) it was prevalent in any age, and I guarantee you that your grandparents have someone that did something to hurt them. Now, this term is used very loosely as there are wide ranges of bullying. There’s the stereotypical “give me your lunch money” to catfishing to icing someone out. Each one is a very different way to bully, but all of them cause some form of emotional damage. Now, the worst part of bullying is when it comes from someone you love or are very close with. Family, friends, those are the worst kind of bullies, because you placed your trust in these people and they betrayed you.
Before singing “Invisible,” Hunter started out with a speech about the song and about his personal life, and how he felt like he didn’t fit in with his group of friends. That got me thinking about my experiences in high school. I am one of those people who doesn’t miss high school and has no intention of wishing to go back.
I had a group of friends, and they were the same group that I stuck with from freshman year all the way until graduation. Unfortunately, my loyalty to them was one-sided. I didn’t realize it at first, but they consistently had conversations that I wasn’t a part of because I was home-schooled at the time, and “you just had to be there.” Hilarious. It sucked, but at the time I thought that was normal, of course they were all going to bond over stupid stories like that, and it was just a fact of life that I couldn’t relate because I wasn’t there. No big deal. Then my best friend at the time started another game. It was a fun game in which every guy I had a crush on, she had to have. Maybe I was stupid for not realizing it right away, but whenever I mentioned I liked a guy we went to school with, she would either right away tell me how he was interested in her and I needed to give it up, or she would proceed to go after this same guy. I eventually did learn not to share what guy I liked at the time, but sadly I didn’t learn to end the toxic friendship. Finally, after being gossiped about for the majority of senior year, I graduated and thought all the high school drama was over, I mean, we were young adults heading off to college. They had to grow up, right? So wrong. I would see pictures of parties, and trips to the mall and movies, and somehow I never got the invite from my “friends.” When I finally asked one of the girls why, all she could tell me was that I wasn’t invited, and she couldn’t invite me or they might cut her out too. Wow.
Let that sink in for a minute. I’m not going to lie, and say it wasn’t a hard summer. I had two other friends from my graduating class, and those two were my only friends. It sucked. The summer after graduation is a time of change, and it’s just plain scary, especially if you’re moving away in the fall, like I was. I spent a lot of lonely days, and I even began to wonder what was wrong with me that they couldn’t stand to be around me. Now, I know it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with them. I actually feel sorry for them. They all gossiped about one another and said nasty things, and that’s not what friends do. One of the best things that came out of what they did to me was that I was able to move out of my comfort zone and make amazing friends. I joined a sorority in college and learned the meaning of true friendship. I have sisters and lifelong friends who I know would never trash me behind my back at lunch the minute I walk away. These are also the friends who we don’t speak for two weeks because of life, and yet the minute something life altering happens, I’m the first one they text. Those are the types of friendships to hang on to. While I couldn’t see it then, having them treat me the way they did was one of the best things to happen to me. I even was able to connect with my neighbor, who is a few years younger, and had the exact same thing happen to her. I didn’t have anyone to relate to at the time it was happening to me, but I sure am glad I was able to relate to her. It sucks but you’ve gotta just move forward and know that better days are coming.
I keep thinking about going back in time, and what I would change. I’d like to say that I would end the toxic friendships before they ended it for me, but I know that would change who I am today. So I wouldn’t go back if I could. Yes, those times sucked, and it caused some serious self esteem issues, but all of those things made me stronger. They also taught me a lesson about real friendship and what it looks like. If I hadn’t learned all of that then, I wouldn’t be able to find a true friend now to save my life. The world is full of plenty of fake people, they are everywhere, and sometimes it’s hard to find the good ones. I truly feel blessed that I was given this trial and that God showed me who my real friends are. Here’s a hint: if they gossip to you about someone, they gossip about you to someone else. And no matter if what they say is the truth or not, it can still cut like a knife. Just remember, the pain does go away, and it leaves you even stronger than before. Just keep pushing on, and remember that they have a hole in their hearts somewhere if they feel better for tearing you down.
Here’s the link to that song, take a listen and try to break the cycle. Every level of bullying hurts, and there’s no purpose to it.