Enemies

7 Feb

In the hierarchy known as middle school, most people think that they are better than someone else. This is usually extremely true for the popular crowds, who seem to think that they are better than most. This is also true for the outcast kids. Just because they aren’t part of the popular crowd doesn’t mean they are at the bottom of the food chain.

In middle school I had several equally outcast friends, and we formed a decent group of loner kids. I still thought that I was better than a few, and I played into popularity like almost every other kid. There was one girl in particular who I thought was at least lower than me on the social food chain. I am not proud but I took many of my frustrations out on her, and made fun of her with my friends. I felt like making fun of her made me better somehow, and I wasn’t very nice.

I didn’t connect the dots, and realize that I was doing to her, what other kids did to me. My friends and I made her life more difficult, and I have no doubt that we made her feel bad about herself. In all fairness, her side was pretty much the same. She and her friends saw themselves as a little bit better than us, and taunted us as well. We never got along and it was fairly safe to say that we were enemies. Both of us playing into what was socially acceptable, and making life more difficult for one another.

This went on for all three years of middle school. She dated a friend of mine once, and when that didn’t work out, we had even more fuel for the fire. We called her names based on her bodily characteristics, and put her down repeatedly. I am not proud of myself for how I treated another person in school; it seems so silly to me now that I didn’t see myself giving her the same hell I was going through.

Before graduating from middle school, all the 8th graders got to go on a field trip to some fun place. Like all the other students, I went along for the fun. The day started off with all the older students getting on busses to head out. When I got on the last bus, there were no seats available, except for the one next to my so-called enemy. I had to sit next to her for the entire ride there and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

At some point along the way we stopped ignoring each other and made real small talk. I had never really talked to her before, and I was surprised at how well we could carry a conversation. That moment of friendship ended as soon as we got there, and we found our own friends. The day carried on, and everyone enjoyed not having to be in class for an entire day. I saw my enemy a few times but never approached her. On the ride home we had to take the same bus we took to get there, and once again we ended up sitting next to each other.

We easily struck up a conversation again, and before long we had each other in giggles. It amazed me that this person I thought I hated so much, could be so fun to talk to. Conversation came so easily to the two of us, and we really seemed to have a lot in common. I started thinking about why I didn’t like her, and I couldn’t really think of a good reason. So what if other people didn’t like her, other people didn’t like me either. There was nothing bad about this girl, and she really was nice. I wasn’t really sure why people were so mean to her. She was different yes, but she wasn’t weird or crazy.

On the ride home, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have anything against this girl, and I decided that we should call a truce, after all why couldn’t we like each other? She readily agreed, and that was the beginning of the longest friendship I have had in my life.

I learned that her family situation was pretty crappy. She had a single mom who was prone to drunken outburst, and a total lack of sobriety. We quickly bonded, and she spent more time at my house then her own. By the time we started high school together, she was more like a sister.

I couldn’t believe that I had spent the last three years acting like a total jerk to this girl for no real reason. Just because it was socially acceptable didn’t make it ok, and in the end I really did like her. If I hadn’t given in to the social pressure of popularity, I would have found my best friend earlier. I am so thankful that we were able to see beyond the reputation other kids had given us, and see each other for who we really were.

It was a good lesson to help me realize that people are not defined by what others say, nor how they look, or your preconceived notions of them. I learned to take the time to get to know someone even if other people have bad things to say about them. How do you know that other people took the time to get to know someone before judging them? Maybe we should all take the time to see who a person really is before we judge them. I think a lot of people will find that instead of making enemies, they make friends. I know I am thankful for my best friend, and for the many years we have been able to lean on each other.

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21 Responses to “Enemies”

  1. Luv and I Do February 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    it is sad but i think we all do this…i guess growing up is looking back and feeling bad for the wrong we have done

  2. teeceecounsel February 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I love this piece! Thanks to that trip that brought you and your enemy-now-friend together! Many people who start wrong in life never find such chances to join the right. That was more than luck or mere coincidence! I think everyone should start reviewing their enemies! Beautiful indeed!

  3. lysafulb February 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    What a great ending! Fate was watching over you that day when she had you get on that bus! ; )
    I had a good friend in 7th grade named Diana. At the very beginning of 8th grade, we got into a tiny little argument over something, but neither of us would apologize first, so it became this big thing of us not being friends for almost the whole school year. eventually, we made up with only about a month left in school, but then her family moved and she was gone. I still kick myself for WASTING that whole year being mad at her when I could’ve just apologized and been friends with her. UG!

  4. addpresence February 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Wonderful tale. Thank you.

  5. Libby Lu February 8, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    Thank you for sharing this story. I was never one of the popular kids, but seemed to be on the end of the teasing. To this day (and you have to know I’m 51) I still feel like the odd person out in certain groups. Only now, no one actually says what they are thinking. Ouch. Anyway, I could relate and like your friend, I’m glad some people saw some worth in me. I have great friends and they mean the world.

    I like your writing. You are good.
    Libby

  6. Tonya February 8, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I don’t think that story is an uncommon one for junior high. I mean kids are just trying to survive the social scene and find out where they belong. Glad that you finally became friends!

  7. gigoid February 8, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    This is excellent! I worked with emotionally disturbed teens for many years, and the experiences you describe so poignantly were common to the teens in that age category. I’m glad that you, and your enemy, found the way to become friends, because not only was it a good lesson for you two, but for all of your other friends as well, by your example. Kudos!…..and well written too, I might add. Poor grammar or spelling can detract from the message, and your post is almost perfect (as I didn’t actually read it with my proofreading eyes on, I can still say that because any egregious errors would have caught my attention, and there were no errors I could see in one reading….) Thanks for sharing that great life lesson…..

  8. My Ox is a Moron February 8, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I remember those “socially unacceptable” people when I was in jr. high. One of them had been my best friend in grade school. I was also one of the “odd” kids that didn’t have a social group to hang out with. My friend invited me to be a part of the “socially unacceptable” group. I really enjoyed getting to know these “strange” people and many became my friends in high school. Many of these kids also became popular in high school and it was sad to see them distance themselves from their jr. high friends.

    There were people I didn’t associate with, but mostly because I felt uncomfortable around them and we didn’t seem to have anything in common. We just agreed to ignore each other and occasionally say “hello” when we passed in the halls. Jr. high and high school are a child’s introduction to the social jungle. Many don’t do well, some to well but don’t know how to move on.

  9. Yousei Hime February 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve thought an open-minded attitude should be everyone’s approach to friendship. It is difficult to do sometimes, especially when circumstances and prejudices get in the way. Thank you for this post.

  10. thelittlebrownbear February 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I love your honesty! I really don’t know why we all had to be defined at high school. I am so glad that some of my bestest friends now are people who I wouldn’t have necessarily been in the same “group” as me at high-school. I seem to have managed to undefined myself now I have broken free from highschool and joined the big bad world!
    Great true story. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Expert of None! February 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Great story and well written! I’m so thankful you all realized and overcame. So many people never grow up enough to conquer the real “enemy” and miss out on some truly wonderful people. And you were in middle school! So impressive!

  12. The Boy! February 9, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Big post but it didn’t feel like one because I could relate to so much of what you went through. It’s funny how sometimes confusion leads us to make enemies of our would-be friends.
    A stranger is a friend you just haven’t met.

  13. samfish3r February 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Agree with those last words. No one should be judged immediately, regardless of what’s been said about them. What’s been said is that person’s opinion and it shouldn’t be yours. Having an open mind is what it’s all about. Keep up the good messages

  14. Bruce February 16, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Inspirational…… I truly wish more of us (including me) could have the courage to do what you and your former enemy did. You both took a chance on each other….. It could have ended differently. Sometimes it does, but sometimes….. it is worth it all… Thanks for a great post

  15. Miss Emm February 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Dear Self Conscious,

    I think most of everything that had to be said, was actually said. My only form of advice is for you to sit in front of a mirror for 10 minutes at a time. Don’t target the parts of your body that you may dislike. Look at the things that define you. Your eyes. Your hair. Your nails. Whatever it may be. Find it. Look at it. Define it and further highlight it. You are what others see you. If you only see what you see, its what others will see about you as well.

    When a man says you don’t look good, you should turn around and remind him that he does not look like Brad Pitt. So he should shut up.

  16. Christine February 17, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Now, go one step further. Realize that the reason those “popular” ones were treating you like they were is exactly the same. I found out with a shock one day that the most “popular” girls in school are usually the most insecure, so they try to lift themselves to the top by stomping on others. Popularity is such a flickering candle — one puff and it’s gone.

  17. yoursecretbestfriend February 21, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    This is spot on, i recently wrote a post answering a question on “frenemies” and in my opinion I think that they are MORE dangerous than enemies because they wiggle their way in close to your hearts. What do you think?

    Great advice on other posts as well. Glad somebody else is being kind and trying to help as well.

    Talulah
    xox

  18. rae marie February 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I know somewhat how you feel. Middle School and High-school were hellish for me.

  19. Arik Savage February 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    My heart broke a little for you just reading this.

  20. Braeden March 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    When I was in 4th Grade, I disliked a kid because one of my best friends was paying attention to him, but ignoring me. I didn’t hate him or anything, and I don’t even know what he thought of me, but I just didn’t like him. Anyways, I got over it, and we ended up becoming friends. We weren’t BEST friends, but we were still good friends. We are still good friends, 4 years later, and hopefully we will be for awhile.

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  1. Fitting In Ain’t Easy! « Monster Exchange Program - March 23, 2012

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