Radical Change

Elena Molero CastilloMay 17, 2023Violence and HealingAwesome Moments

Artwork by Om Kakkad, age 15

It all started in 4th grade, when knowledge of life was basic.

Now I am aware that we were little, but at that time we didn’t believe that. We believed that doing the right thing was wrong and vice versa. I was best friends with a girl in my class, who didn't know how to value people. I criticized my "life partner" for two years at that time, but not face to face so it wouldn't be considered verbal aggression.

One day before the Easter holidays I went to class. At the end of the art class I asked my friend, as usual, if she wanted me to put down her crutches, since a couple weeks ago she had broken her foot. Her answer didn’t reach my ears so I just put them down. This was when her first verbal aggression towards me began, since until now she had just given short simple answers from time to time or criticized me behind my back. When she saw me appear with the crutches, she yelled at me, until she ran out of voice. At that moment, my heart stopped. All the noises around me were given up to a simple murmur and I felt more alone than ever. All Easter I was sad and crying. I just wanted the best for her. After some talks with teachers, we managed to fix it.

But, why did her opinion affect me so much and why did she behave that way with me? I felt that she was the center of my world, and if she got angry with me I felt useless. I went out of my way for her. Months, then, years passed,... and we continued to have arguments, criticisms, and above all, fights. I would do all the things that my bestie wanted, I didn’t want to lose her. My well-being depended on her.

When we went to high school our relationship had cooled so much that I didn’t even want to see her. The disgust that she produced in me when I criticized her had become permanent. Now, the relationship that had once caused us so much joy only ended up causing us both displeasure. Each one of us had our group, and we neither looked at each other or spoke, and if we did it was in a derogatory manner.

During this time, we both attended the school youth center, which, for some reason, took a leading role in our discussions. The “greatest verbal aggression” we ever had occurred one day when she came looking for me in the bathrooms.

She stood up and said, “Why are you saying that last year I asked you for forgiveness and was crying?” She debated that this was false and I disputed that it was true. She began to make fun of my face, and said that if I looked at her badly and I spoke ill of her.

I simply responded by saying, “I only have that face when I see people like you.” Before it got worse, I left. I didn’t care what happened around me, whether she laughed, or if she yelled at me. I simply felt glad that I had faced her.

During the rest of the courses we continued to have confrontations, and exchange bad looks. We never got into a physical fight with each other, but I’m sure that more than once we both wanted to.

The 2022 camp year arrived. Until then we had been angry, but I began to realize that I didn’t want to feel her eyes on me during break, or run into her and hear her comments. For those reasons I began to stop doing those things to her. After a series of reflections I realized that it wasn’t worth it. We were going to start the last year of ESO, and it wasn’t worth it to feel bad, (plus other people's opinions influenced me a lot...)

I invited her to spend the nights with my group at the camp, until one day the news reached me that she wanted to talk to me. Without giving it much thought, I accepted that I needed to talk to her, I needed to make things clear. Everything had been resolved little by little and I simply told her that it wasn’t worth it because the things that had happened five years ago were just stupid, and we were immature girls. When she had the same opinion as me, it made it much less difficult to solve our conflict. I wanted people to realize that I wasn’t the same immature girl that I had been, and that my maturity was about realizing people could change.

Once everything was resolved, I felt that my life had improved. I had no open conflict with anyone. I was calm without having to worry what others would think of me. I knew that I did the right thing, and although there were people who left my side because of my decision, today I have a person next to me who adds to me and does not subtract from me.

Currently the greatest feeling of my reconciliation is relief. I don't feel that feeling of being hated, I feel that I have matured and changed for the better as a person. I feel that I can fit in more with people, that I don't have to pretend, and I am more at ease with most people because little by little I have learned that I am no longer what I used to be. I have that happy feeling of recovering the friendship, since we have been able to rebuild it and make each other as happy as we were when we were little. One of the things that cost me the most in this reconciliation was leaving my friends behind, since they did not support that a person who had hurt me so much in the past could be my friend again. But it led to my happiness and it was how I wanted to live and feel during the last year of high school.

Elena Molero Castillo is a 15-year-old from Madrid, Spain. In her free time, she enjoys music, reading and spending time with her friends and family.