Food For Thought: Make Space for Good

It was her first day of high school. To make matters worse, this high school just so happen to be the largest high school from New York City all the way to the Canadian border housing a total of 4,000 students. Kelly was barely 15 years old, and she felt as though her arms were going to plop straight out of her shoulder sockets as she walked to her first class due to the weight of her books. I am not carrying a huge Northface backpack around, and looking like a total freshman. Although, due to her clear lack of knowledge in managing her materials, and her inability to keep from sprinting to her class as if she was being chased by a hungry pack of wolves, everyone who saw her could label her as a freshman from a mile away.

I made it to my first class. Where do I sit? Who will I talk to? Those girls look like they’re judging me, I don’t want to sit there. Or should I? Maybe this is like Mean Girls, and they’re the “cool” people, but then I guess I’ll be Cady Heron. I don’t want to be Cady Heron. Maybe I’ll sit alone, but then will I be considered a loser? Or worse, will someone weird sit with me? Then what if people think I’m weird too? I’m not weird. I wonder what this class is about. I wonder who I’m going to sit with at lunch. When’s my next class? …What is mom making for dinner tonight?

Those were the thoughts that crossed Kelly’s mind within milliseconds of entering her first ever high school class; studio art. The teacher was so old, it seemed that at any moment she could fall over and die. Kelly sat next to a girl named Sally, who she deemed as a safe bet. I don’t know if everyone feels the way Kelly felt that day, but with three middle schools merging to form one freshman high school class, there were a lot of people Kelly didn’t know. Not to mention that she was at the bottom of the food chain, and she had just stopped being friends with her back stabbing best friend Rachel. For the first time, she felt alone, and she felt that she had to work fast to make new friends before she would get sucked back into an ex-friendship that she truly hated.

Kelly did not know this at the time, but the fact that there was a surfeit of fresh faces in a brand new place was more of a blessing than anything. For the first time since kindergarten Kelly could be anyone she wanted to be. Sally introduced herself, and the two began talking about what middle schools they went to and who they already knew… all of the important things. It turned out that they had a mutual friend, Rachel. Moreover, they also had the same lunch period together, the two of them including Rachel that is. 

Kelly felt trapped. She felt as though no matter who she spoke to, there was a good possibility they knew Rachel, or at least had heard of her due to her popularity. Rachel was what I like to call an indirect bully. She was always nice to Kelly’s face, but proceeded to bad mouth her behind her back, forcing people to secretly dislike Kelly. Kelly didn’t want her in her life anymore, but she wasn’t going to give up on making new friends either, regardless if they knew Rachel because then it would be as though Rachel won.

When it came time for lunch, Kelly was extremely nervous. She didn’t want to argue with anyone on her first day, and she didn’t want to feel awkward in Rachel’s presence. She wanted nothing more than for Rachel to magically disappear. Sally sat with Kelly. Then other girls that Sally knew, and that Kelly knew sat there too. The girls began talking and getting to know each other, and Kelly felt really good about everything. There was one more seat available at the table, and sure enough guess who was standing there smiling asking Sally if she could take a seat: Rachel. Of course Sally said yes.

As the girls got up to go grab some food, Rachel claimed she packed her own lunch, when in reality she simply had no money for food. Kelly knew that the reason Rachel didn’t have lunch money was because her dad had just lost his job, and she consequently felt bad asking her parents for lunch money. She didn’t want to receive the free school lunch because she deemed it embarrassing. Kelly had $20, which was more than enough for two lunches in the cafeteria. Rachel remained at the table as the other girls got up to buy food. It could have been the perfect opportunity for Kelly to embarrass Rachel and give back all of the anger and pain that Rachel has caused her. Instead, Kelly decided to buy two sandwiches that day, and hurried back to the table before the other girls could see her giving Rachel food to hide the fact that Rachel had no money.

Rachel didn’t understand why Kelly was being so nice to her, but she accepted the offer and apologized for being so horrible to Kelly in the past. However, despite the kindness, and the apology, Kelly remained distant from Rachel through high school, and thereafter. The friendship had come to an end, but a mutual respect was gained. Never again did Rachel say a thing about Kelly, in fact Rachel was always overly nice to Kelly from there on out. Kelly found two real best friends who she is still close with today 7 years later.

The Buddha in me (if you will) encouraged me to share this story because I find that stories are an outlet for wisdom. Although Kelly could have tried to become Rachel’s best friend again, she no longer trusted her. Once your trust is lost for a person there is no going back no matter how hard you try because deep down you will always know what that person is capable of doing to your emotions. Whether they hurt you again or not is up to them, it is not up to you. Therefore, it makes it hard to devote yourself to that person, and give them all of your love because you subconsciously constantly live in fear of being hurt again. I find that while this is a simple concept to understand, it is often difficult to implement such action into ones life. However, once you cut ties with people and things in your life that no longer serve you, you become more empowered and stronger than you were before. Once you rid your life of the unnecessary, things fall into place. There is no need to worry that something negative will happen if you rid yourself of something negative, because once you rid your soul of the bad, you only make more space for the good.

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