High school is one of those things where you either loved your experience or you absolutely dreaded it. “If coach would have put me in, we would have won that game.” The glory days or the days of hell, it’s all about perspective.

 

After the convenient flooding of my basement (kidding) I was forced to go through boxes I hadn’t opened in 10 years. As I flipped through each photo album, I came across familiar faces of people I have known since I was 5 years old. Friends that I spent precious moments crying, laughing, trouble making, and setting record-breaking fun. It would be safe to say that high school seemed to be a pleasant experience. It was all there in the pictures. Proof was in the pudding.

 

I fooled us all.

 

I remember the first hate mail I received after winning Miss Indiana USA. I was expecting it, as the sport of pageantry isn’t for everyone. However, this wasn’t someone complaining about the lack of coverage on my swimsuit, this was someone who truly claimed to hate me. You guessed it—she was from high school. The letter went on about how fake I was. In a nutshell, apparently I thought I was better than everyone else and I’ve used people to get to where I am today. I did my best to brush it off and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. This was the first of many hurtful words from various people. It’s a fact of life that some people cannot stand to see others succeed.

 

I know I have had my moments and I am far from perfect, but I don’t want anyone to think such things of me. It really made me reflect on my actions the past 10 years. What could I have done to make someone speak so poorly of me, out for the public to see? Was I, in fact, fake?

 

Let’s work through this together.

 

I, too, showed up to school every day just like every one else. I wore the clothes that resembled the mannequins at the mall. I was going out with the star football player. I held positions on the varsity basketball team, volleyball, team, track team, cheerleading team, marching band, national honor society, the class office. In my free time I worked at the hottest restaurant and continued to stay active in the community with 4-H. Not only that, but I hung out with the top students and athletes of my class and I was considered to be “pretty” on the phantom scale. I was your typical high school popular girl and I can only imagine the eye-rolls happening right now.

 

I’ve worked hard in my adult life to prove to the world that I am much more than the above accolades. It even seems silly now that I feel the need to explain myself but I have a feeling that I am not alone in this.

 

Every single day of high school was a struggle.

 

What I didn’t allow my classmates to see were my real struggles. They didn’t know that I was in counseling because I had self-confidence issues. Not because of some pretty magazine cover but because a bad man decided to introduce me to sex when I was 7 years old. I brushed off all of the times I got made fun of for always having a long-term boyfriends because it turned out that I felt a deep desire to be wanted since most of the men in my life were unreliable and left when things got hard. I pretended not to be offended when my friends made fun of the fact that I didn’t like to drink. They didn’t realize that I my family was torn apart from the aftermath of drugs and alcohol.

 

The carefully chosen designer outfits were not brand new; they were purchased from second-hand stores and my neighbor’s hand-me-downs. My classmates had no clue that getting on the National Honor Society required hours of tutoring and after-class sessions with my math and science teachers. I was deathly afraid of reading out loud (still am) and the phrase “popcorn reading” still makes me break out in a cold sweat.

 

My classmates didn’t know about the hours I spent in supervised visitation rooms, psychiatrist offices, or writing letters to incarcerated family members. They didn’t realize that every time we got a new student, I dreaded having to explain why I lived with my grandmother and where my parents were. They didn’t know about the nights where I cried myself to sleep all because I wanted the pain in my heart to go away.

 

So let’s answer the question together; was I fake in high school? Hell yeah I was fake!

 

I, like so many others, was just trying to keep it together. I simply wanted to be accepted by the majority; to seem NORMAL. No, I wasn’t being real because I didn’t even know what real meant.

 

“I went to high school with her. So fake.”

 

I hope those 9 words made you feel better about yourself. Yes, I saw that you shared it for the world to see and no, it didn’t make me feel bad. If anything I feel sorry that you are stuck in the past and have not learned to grow from those experiences.

 

Let’s move on already. We need to stop putting each other down at every opportune moment.

 

The next time you are quick to judge someone based off of their appearance, their actions, or their lifestyle just remember that they may be like me. They may be fighting a battle that you will never see. Open up your heart to forgiveness if they did you wrong or if you didn’t get along. High school is hard for everyone and our experiences walking those halls do not define us as human beings.

 

You can follow Mrs. America 2018, Mekayla Eppers, on Instagram at MissMekaylaFitness and SpilledMilkClub.

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19 Comments on To The Girl Who Hated Me In High School

  1. as a person that went to school (a few years above) with Mekayla I can say, I never saw you be anything but nice and polite, hard working and dedicated. No I didn’t know everything that was going on in your life but I think we all fake a few things to make it through. Your grandma was always cheering for you, you cheered for your team mates, you worked your butt off.

  2. I saw the comment on the original post and instantly thought the girl was simply jealous. I wanted to ask her what all she’s accomplished but thought better. Good for you and congratulations! Go Indiana!

  3. SO MUCH YES. I am thankfully an entirely different person than I was in high school, and I assume the same of my classmates. It is so unfair to judge them now, based on how they were 9 years ago.

  4. You are such an inspiration to me. As someone who got into pageants 2 years ago you have inspired me to stay and continue on. I met you you several times and your just a beautiful person inside and out and always true to yourself. I only hope one day people have the courage to tell their story like you have. God Bless you

  5. I would hate to be judged off of who I was in high school. I was “a partier.” I drank and smoked pot. I was in the “bad” crowd. That is not me and hasn’t been for a very long time. I grew up and realized there is more to life than drinking and hanging out with “friends.” I have since gained a career, became a mother, and made a life for myself. Some of the people I spent my high school days with never left that life. I look at how each persons life has changed and even how I’ve out grown friendships because priorities are just different now. There are people in high school that I didn’t care for or who I wasn’t close with that I consider to be friends and great people. High school is a time of change, growth, and learning. None of us knew what the hell we were doing.

    Side note: Mekayla, you were always so nice to everyone. I don’t remember a time when you were mean. I always thought you were awesome. I think it is wonderful how you have opened up to your readers about what high school really was. People judge without knowing the whole story. Thank you for sharing yours. ❤️

  6. Mekayla I know your history because I am fiends with many of your family members. I know how proud they are of you and your accomplishments. Never question your worth. God loves you and knows your heart. Keep up your good work.

  7. Mekayla,

    Excellent post. I am sorry that you had to go through those things it’s very sad and there are a lot of us, both male and female, who appreciate who you are and what you do and the stand that you take.

    It is unfortunate that this person took the effort after all these years to write you a hate mail letter. And it’s unfortunate that someone took advantage of you at such a young age. Please remember that you were a victim and that you were not the cause of anything bad that happened to you.

    Stay strong because I know a lot of people look up to you.

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