Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

Jewel YangSeptember 11, 2023Now and ThenHelping Hands

Artwork by Arina Stetsiuk, age 14, Ukraine

At one of the lowest points of my life, I felt like I was completely hopeless.

Help from my friends was the only thing that saved me during those dark times, and it made me realize the importance of helping others. Helping someone may have a huge impact on the person that's hurt, but help is not just about carrying someone when they injure their leg. Help is way more than that. You can also help people emotionally. Even by comforting them, you are doing something to support them. Sometimes all you need is a pair of helping hands. Helping people, even if it’s unintentional, can be the most life-changing thing to someone, and you might not even know that they needed it. A sentence or few can change their whole perspective. You never know what someone is going through or what is happening in their lives.

My best friends got me through the worst nine months of my life. It started in January and ended in October of 2022. A “friend” of mine (well, I thought he was a friend) started rumors about me. The rumors were spread by texting and in school. They were not very nice. I told the person to stop spreading false accusations about me at least five times, and every time he continued. I didn’t know what to do. Nothing could stop him. As time went on, more and more people started believing the rumors. Seven months flew by, and everyone was giving me glares and weird looks. I started to feel like I had lost most of my friends. Everyone became the rumor-maker's friend, except for three of my friends. These friends were reassuring me that things were going to get better every single day. I don’t know what I would have done without them. That is how powerful words can be. Words can make people feel comforted, and I don't think my friends know how much their support helped me through the entire situation.

At the start of September, when I was about to report all of this to school, I asked my friend, whom I had known for nine years, if she could be my witness, because she was also there when we heard the boy spreading rumors. She said, “No, I am not on anyone’s side.” That hurt me the same way as if a car had run over me. What she said made me lose all hope. It felt like nine years of friendship was basically nothing to her. Thankfully, there was another person who was also there and heard the rumors. That person actually volunteered to be my witness without my asking. I was shocked. I had only known that person for two months. Someone I knew for literally two months wanted to be my witness and someone I had known for nine years didn’t want to be my witness. How funny is that? That proves that there are always nice people, but they might not be who you expect.

When I finally told the school about all the rumors that were being spread about me, the Prefect of Discipline ended up calling everyone involved in the rumor-spreading into his office. The teacher asked all of us our sides of the story. The rumor-maker started denying all the rumors he had spread. All his friends also denied everything. Then, the teacher asked the two people that were standing next to me if it was true that we heard the boy spreading rumors. One of them was the person I have known for nine years. The other was the person I have known for two months. Their answers to the question were completely different. My “friend” of nine years said nothing, instead she started crying, but the person who I had known for two months spoke the truth, word for word.

After their responses, the Prefect of Discipline told everyone in the room to leave, and I stayed because he had to talk to me. He said he knew who was lying and who was not. He asked me why I had waited so long to let the school know about this situation. I told him it was because I was scared. He told me to never be afraid to speak up, and since then, I have learned to stand up for myself.

Now that it has been a few months, when I think back, I actually would like to thank the rumor-maker for doing what he did, because he did me a favor. If it wasn’t for what has happened, I wouldn’t have learned so much about humanity. Now, whenever I meet someone new, I can tell whether to trust that person or not. It may seem like a bad experience, but if you think positively, it wasn’t so bad after all. There is always a lesson to every story. From this story I learned that it is rare to have real friends, so cherish them when you know you have found them. Real friends will have your back no matter what. Fake friends come and go.

Jewel Yang is 11 years old and lives in Taipei, Taiwan. She enjoys living in the social media world and finds herself a fan of Tik Tok trending dances and everything about YouTube vlogging.