Even though I had become this girl who seemed to fade into the background, I was now a genuinely nice person. And soon that meant more to me than popularity ever did.
My high school experience (which just to be clear, isn’t over yet) has been anything but boring. I was barely 13 years old when I started high school. Right from the beginning I was very concerned with what people thought of me. And I’ll be the first to admit I was an awful person. Sure, I had lots of friends but looking back I know, frankly, they didn’t give a damn about me. Like them, I found myself constantly judging people and secretly putting down others just to cope with my own self esteem issues. I continued to push myself to be friends with people, not for who they were, but for their image. More recently I discovered that the people I had been associating myself with were the worst kind of terrible. One day it just hit me. I realized I couldn’t listen to another person talk about how many shots of vodka they had taken the previous night or who was having sex with who. I simply didn’t care, I never had, and I could finally admit it because I was no longer concerned if I lost these people. After all, was I really losing anything? I just wanted to be myself. From that point on I started to drift away from this petty high school drama. By isolating myself I became quite depressed, but at the same time I discovered more about myself than I ever did trying to please everyone. Even though I had become this girl who seemed to fade into the background, I was now a genuinely nice person. And soon that meant more to me than popularity ever did. Perhaps it was my own sadness that inspired me to be a kinder person all around. Our own minds can be a special kind of hell and I now know the last thing we need is someone to make things harder. I have learned lots over the past year, but most importantly to use your words and actions to lift others up, rather than to put them down. I have lost a lot of people, some by choice and some not, but I am happy with where am I, even if I still do have a long way to go.
— Hannah Knight