The summer before seventh grade, I thought that I would try my hand at being a beauty guru. Propping my family’s iPad on my desk, I sat on my bed and talked to the camera, in the manner of a ‘haul’ video, which were quite popular in the beauty community on Youtube at the time. Then, feeling quite excited and invigorated at having channelled the likes of Bethany Mota and Meredith Foster, I posted the video (in 15-second segments, because this was way back in 2013) on Instagram.
Then, junior high started.
On my school bus, there was a ninth grader, a blue-eyed brunette who wore a lot of makeup and laughed raucously. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call her Samantha. I was simultaneously impressed and intimidated by her. Since little seventh graders never trespassed into the territory of the ninth graders, aka the back of the bus, I never spoke to her. We never so much as made eye contact, and you’d think that we would live the rest of our merry lives as total, oblivious strangers. But no.
I was minding my own seventh-grade business, scurrying through the hallways before class, when Samantha suddenly called my name from where she sat among her equally sophisticated and scary ninth-grader friends. I whipped my head around, more surprised than anything else at having been addressed by her.
She stared into me. “I loved your haul video! You’re so inspiring!” Her words dripped with sarcasm, and my face flushed red. Unable to think of anything to reply with, I walked away in humiliation. It was obvious that she thought my videos were downright joke material- so surely, other people thought so too. They probably all laughed behind my back about it. That night, I went home and deleted the videos.
A Little Goes a Long Way
To this day, I still remember this incident. Samantha and I had never exchanged any words before that, and never again after it. She chose to taunt me, to be mean to someone she didn’t even know or have any reason to hate. Why do people do that- intentionally hurt someone that they don’t even know? In any other context, we could have been friends. We rode the same bus; maybe one day I would have had the guts to go to the back of the bus, or maybe she would have broken the unwritten rules of the junior high hierarchy and sat near me. Maybe I would’ve complimented her outfit or something, and we’d harbour friendly feelings instead of hurtful ones.
I’m sure Samantha is a good person deep down- heck, maybe not even deep down, but all around. Perhaps she was having a bad day when she chose to insult me, and I was just collateral damage, in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re all equally complex individuals, and all of us have our imperfect moments.
Has Anything Like This Ever Happened to You?
If you ever find yourself in a situation like mine, the most important thing to remember is that they are the ones in the wrong, not you. If people are mean to you for no reason, it has absolutely nothing to do with you, and everything to do with their own insecurities and problems.
The following blurb, by Shannon L. Alder, is one that very aptly represents the correlations between what you do and why that would lead people to hate you. (Spoiler: there is no correlation!!)
They will hate you if you are beautiful.
They will hate you if you are successful.
They will hate you if you are right.
They will hate you if you are popular.
They will hate you when you get attention.
They will hate you when people in their life like you.
They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God.
They will hate you if you are spiritual.
They will hate you if you have courage.
They will hate you if you have an opinion.
They will hate you when people support you.
They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook.
They just hate.
However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.
In retrospect, I find it sad that I deleted the videos because of the negativity of one person. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing, because Samantha taught me the valuable lesson that people are sometimes mean for no reason. It’s up to us to deal with it, and the choice is either losing confidence in ourselves, or growing stronger. And that decision is all our own to make.