In elementary school I was the catalyst for my group of friends to turn on one of the group. This girl spent one whole summer without friends. Her mom must have hated me. At the time I remember my mom asking me what happened and if I had done anything to cause this. I was indignant and blew her off the only way a 5th grader knows how. I remember thinking, she was right, but I didn't know how to unwind what I had done. At the end of the summer one girl decided to re-friend this girl and all of us followed suit.
In junior high, I got mine. My group of friends— my BFFs— decided they didn't like me anymore. It was explained to me "you've changed." I wasn't invited anywhere anymore. I was devastated. My life was O-V-E-R.
Recently, my niece experienced her first go around with "mean girls": She was un-friended on Facebook by one of her BFFs. She was a wreck. I've been there, I could feel the sting of the rejection as if it had just happened to me.
At the risk of sounding like my mother or grandmother, things just aren't the same for tweens and teens as they were when I was that age. Information is always moving, so for us, when we went home from school the only communication was the landline phone that your mom picked up and said hello 16 times. Now, with FB, Twitter, Internet, texting, cell phones, etc...it seems like the bullying can go on 24/7. Lovely.
I hope the girl that I bullied reads this and knows I have felt the sting of guilt each and every time I hear her name, think of elementary school, hear of mean girls, and think of the same thing happening to my daughter. I hope she knows how sorry I am. I can only imagine the anguish her mom must have gone through watching her little girl alone all summer long. Stab.To.The.Heart.
Becoming an adult heals a lot of those childhood hurts. I grew up, matured, gained confidence, found my strength in God and make an effort to be a NICE person. I hope that through my experience as a bully and as the bullied I can better teach my daughter to not be the "mean girl." I hope that I am never that mom that says "oh, Ashley would never do that..." OF COURSE SHE WOULD...she has a little kid brain. I recently read an article in Parents magazine that gave me hope that if when my kid is bullied there is a reasonable parent on the other end that will partner with me to make our kids better people. Nicer people.