Frankly, last week's article "Mean Girls" (article ID 9891) scared me. The fact that "I'm a mean girl. I wish I could change but sometimes a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do" is justification enough to destroy a girl's self-confidence and make her life miserable blows my mind. The conclusion that the article draws - that maintaining oneself in a group of mean people (whose actions one realizes are wrong) is more important than someone else's sense of self worth - is sickening. Reading the BBS for the article, it is obvious that Lyd1212 is not alone in her struggle.
Lyd1212 has shown us what teachers have feared for many years. Here is a very talented writer, one who gone outside of her school to publish several articles in the Times, but then she writes this personal testament to why she is being so awful toward other girls, leaving no intention to change her ways - in fact, setting her sights on remaining the way she is.
This is where I start to tremble. Lyd1212 saw that there was a lesson to be learned, saw that she was becoming what she hated all along, but saw no way to change her course. I feel so compelled to write a response because I believe that doing so will remind all of us changing, growing students that we do have the power to change ourselves. Not only do we have this power, but we are alone in it. Our friends, both great and fake, our teachers, and our families can only do what I am striving to do right now - remind us of our strength.
High school is a jungle. I know it feels like survival of the fittest sometimes, but guess what? It won't kill you. The trick is that only you can speak up for yourself. What an amazing privilege it is, though! To have the right to free speech, to have the influence to start others thinking in a new direction - this is a truly beautiful thing. But with this privilege, like all privileges, comes responsibility. In this case, I believe we are responsible for speaking up for those who have no voice.
Words are powerful. Lyd1212 has shown us that insults and comments from "friends" sting and haunt us. But positive words uplift us in the same way. They are tools we use to shape ourselves and our futures. I do not write this response in order to bash anyone, I merely wish to give hope to those who see no way out of their current situations.
I'm a junior at an elite prep school. I know the richest of the rich, the hottest of the hot, and the cruelest of the cruel . . . high schoolers. That's all we are. School is a place for growth inside and outside the classroom. To realize what you don't like in the world is step one towards figuring out how you can contribute. Isn't that what we all want? To be a part of the solution?
I worry that mean girls will grow into mean women instead of learning from their past mistakes. How can we progress if we see no better path? Make 2009 your best year ever. Your past does not dictate your future - you do.