This story was a first-person editorial about bullying that was later republished by Maclean’s On Campus and Slate.

Appeared online and in print for the Ryersonian, Sept. 26, 2012

When I think back to Grade 7, most things are a haze. I had just started at a new school and I was well into my awkward stage. It was more than 10 years ago and my memories have since blurred into a combination of desks, colour-coded notes and the new uniforms that I had to wear; but I remember one thing clearly. That year, I became a mean girl.

We’re not talking the typical Regina George-style bully either. I was my very own brand of villain.

In my tween years, I was not popular crew material. My hair was pulled tight, my front teeth jutted out like the bow of a canoe, bridled back by multicoloured braces and my eyebrows resembled two fuzzy caterpillars inching their way back together. It was not my best look.

My new school had uniforms, but it was still easy to separate the cool kids from the rest. I was convinced that if I could become friends with the girls who seemed to effortlessly glide through middle school, everything would be better. I would get prettier, smarter, happier, and even the food would taste better. I just needed to figure out how to get there.

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