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Me in seventh grade

I returned to my hometown junior high school after a five year absence. There were just over fifty students in my class, so it was easy to get to know everyone again. What was hard was understanding why the girls in particular treated one another so poorly. Like some kind of crazy lottery, a girl was chosen without much rhyme or reason to be "dropped."

Dropping meant that none of the girls would speak to you. You were shunned. Completely. Anyone (including boys) who dared to associate with the dropped girl would also be shunned. The dropped girl ate alone. She walked back to school from having lunch in the cafeteria, followed by a group of girls who mocked and ridiculed her. I watched as girls subjected to this treatment completely fell apart. Then as quickly as the girl had been dropped, she was restored.

It wasn't long after I arrived at school before I took my turn. It's no wonder. I was the "new girl." I wasn't shocked that I had been dropped. But I was devastated by how long I was the favorite social outcast.

I had an okay time of it outside of school. I had a friend I spent time with. But school itself was unbearable. As a psychologist, I have asked myself why my dropping went on so long. I think one reason was that I never buckled. Unlike some other girls who sobbed, begging for it to stop, I never let anyone see me cry. I won't say how long the ordeal lasted so I don't exaggerate. All I know is that it was an eternity for a junior high girl.

I had often prayed and cried out to God for help. Then one night I had a dream that it was over. When I woke up I knew that this was God's answer. The end of this lonely road was in sight. I felt compelled to write a letter of submission to the girl who seemed to be the dropping ringleader. I heard her reading it out loud to some of the other girls. She was clearly shocked. My status was restored within days of my dream.

In high school, the practice of dropping ended. I went on to become vice president of my class and was on the homecoming court. Since graduating from high school, the dropping ring leader seems to be the last person you'd ever expect to be a "mean girl."

In junior high, I felt completely alone, but I wasn't. God was with me and is with me still.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

 

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