Growing up I weaved in and out of different friend groups. I had my friends on the track team, my friends from Key club, and my friends from French class. Since I ran in so many circles, I never had one specific best friend. I always had a handful of women whom I would tell my deepest secrets to and have sleepovers with. That is, until I was a sophomore in high school and met someone who I felt I got along with on all levels. Although I had so many other good friends, I always considered this girl my very best friend.
We were always there supporting one another, whether it was at a 6 A.M. XC race on a Saturday, helping one another on class projects (regardless of if we were in the other’s class or not), and securing each others dates to the snowball dance. This girl was funny, charming, and smart–she was someone who encouraged me to try harder and made me realize that it was okay to be myself (which quite frankly, at 17 when you’re as quirky as I was, it was not necessarily a good thing to be myself).
Then all of a sudden my life took a 360 and my best friend wanted nothing to do with me. It started the summer before senior year when we went to Italy and Greece together, we were chatting about our grades from the previously school year. We had this insane english teacher who worked us to the bone. I was happy to say I received an ‘A’ in the class but admitted that I helped her out by grading vocabulary quizzes and did a handful of extra assignments in order to get bonus points. Well, this was a no-no for my “best friend” because you’re not allowed to tweak the system, rules are rules and if you can’t get an ‘A’ on your own then you don’t deserve one.
Little situations like this continued to happen throughout the summer where she would get mad at me for things that a friend shouldn’t get mad at you for. Soon it was fall and she was unable to attend my birthday party and didn’t even get me a birthday gift. I knew something was going on but I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach it. One night at a mutual friend’s house she tore me to shreds basically saying that magazine journalism was a horrible career path and that the print world was dying. She said this on purpose because she knew all I wanted to do was become a journalist and write for a magazine. After this night, I knew things wouldn’t be the same.
As the fall was winding down, it was time to submit college applications. We both decided to apply early admission to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. It was a December afternoon and a mutual friend from the track team had come up to me and asked if this girl and I were still friends. When I asked her why, she told me that this girl was making fun of me in front of her entire environmental sciences class, telling everyone I cheated my way through high school and that there was no way I was ever going to get into Syracuse. I was shocked, devastated, and really upset–how could someone who said they were my best friend say these things about me?
I decided to do what I do best, I wrote her a letter asking her why she would ever do these things to me. I told her and reminded her of how much I supported her throughout the years with endless hours dedicated to the stupid “Brave New World Musical” our class had to put on. I reminded her of the time I helped her when this dumb guy on the track team was a total jerk to her. I told her that regardless of what programs we got into that we shouldn’t be competitive with one another and that we should wish the best for the other person. Finally, I told her about how I think she’s just pushing me away on purpose for no reason.
Disclaimer: This wasn’t the first time this girl has decided to up and ditch her friends. I can name at least five other people I know that she’s hurt so deeply when they have done absolutely nothing to deserve the way she treated them.
Now back to the story…
After writing this note, I handed it to her in the hallway, lo and behold she ripped the note up and threw it out without reading it.
I have never experienced such cruelty in my life from a friend. She had absolutely no reason to be angry with me or treat me the way that she did. And although she decided she was done with our friendship, she never really was. She would constantly trash talk me to our mutual friends saying that I was overweight, wouldn’t get into college, and once even said “I hope she’s not a cunt at Cuse.” I’m sorry but WHAT. When was I ever mean to her? For once in my life I actually sat back and let her say whatever she wanted to me without sticking up for myself because I knew it was a pointless battle.
I moved on fairly quickly, if someone is ever going to treat me negatively then I have no room for them in my life. Not to mention, I knew this wasn’t really about me but some deeper psychological issue that I’m sure she is still working on to this day. But here’s where the Taylor Swift song comes in: “Mean” had come out and all I could think about was this girl and how she’s a liar and pathetic (apparently she hooked up with my ex, actually pathetic) and alone in life and just mean.
But the line that really struck me in this song is “someday I’ll be living in a big old city and all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” And that’s exactly what I did. I got accepted into Syracuse and got a 3.9 GPA after my first year. I then transferred into Newhouse and graduated as a dual degree in magazine journalism and psychology. Only a month and a half after graduation I moved to New York City and began my first job in the publishing industry (and not at some tiny press, a BIG company). Although I should have been pumped that I proved her wrong (which I completely was), I actually became thankful for how awful she was to me. Without her being so mean I wouldn’t have pushed myself to become the successful person that I am today. So thanks girl, without you I would still be at the bottom looking up. But now I’m at the top looking down on you.
“Someday I’ll be living in a big old city and all you’re ever gonna be is mean”