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Guilt or revenge?

A girl ruined my life last year; this year the tables turned. Am I a bad person?

One episode doesn’t define who we are, says our elder. From now on, make decisions that make you feel good about yourself.

 

Original Letter

So, about a year ago, I came out as bisexual to my best friend and told her I liked a girl on my basketball team. Being 7th grade, she told people and a few people knew. Anyways, a different girl on my basketball team (let’s called her Liv) found out, and thought it was so weird and funny how I was bisexual and liked a girl on our team. The girl found out, and it was awkward, and I almost quit the team. Liv would tease me about it, laugh at me, and she told all the boys. My life was temporarily ruined. 

Fast forward a year, and everything’s fine. No one cares anymore, and it’s rarely brought up. A few days ago, I was on this app for finding friends or a partner on this app for kids. I was swiping, and I saw Liv’s account. In her bio, it said she was looking for a feminine lesbian. I was kind of shocked. I freaked out, and told two people, who ended up telling other people and so on. I showed the pictures of her account and her bio to a few people, and sent them the pictures. I told this one girl who is friends with Liv and on the basketball team, and she ended up telling just about everyone. I asked Liv if she was gay, and she told me she’s bisexual but she doesn’t want to come out until high school. It’s not yet high school. The girls on the team are kind of weirded out, since Liv’s a really touchy person and is always touching girls she’s friends with. I feel like this should be payback for her making fun of me for it, and telling people, but I can’t help but feel guilty! I don’t know what to do, and I don’t think Liv knows people besides me know. I remember how I felt when this happened to me, and it was horrible. I want to feel as if this is revenge, but it just feels wrong. Should I have done this? Am I a bad person? Do you think Liv is going to be mad? Please help.

 

Excelsior replies

Your feelings of revenge are natural, but so are your feelings of guilt. Throughout life, we experience conflict between what we want to do and what we believe, deep-down, we *ought* to do. The fact that you feel as bad as you do over this tells me that you’re far from being a bad person. One episode doesn’t define who we are. The thing is to recognize we’ve done something we wish we hadn’t, and to work toward not hurting others in the future. As you’ve experienced, taking vengeance often hurts us a second time in the end through guilt, remorse, and the opinions of others. 

It really boils down to choice. I recall reading that a teen asked a parent why they needed to put their shopping cart in the proper area instead of just leaving it safely in the lot, like so many others do. The parent said: “Because we’re the kind of people who put shopping carts where they belong.” A small matter, seemingly, but it sends a message that we do the right thing because that’s the kind of person we choose to be.  

Think what a great difference it would make in our world if more people worked for kindness and peace in them and toward others. So, dear Laney, think of yourself as a ship captain guiding your ship of life, and make decisions that make you feel good about yourself, and avoiding whirlpools and the rocks. By doing that, you’ll always come out on top, and others will see and admire your actions. 

P.S. If Liv finds out and gets mad, I hope you’ll find it in yourself to apologize, even if she blows her top. Don’t let another determine your standards. As the heroine of your life story, make the chapters come out the way you wish them to. Take care, Laney.

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