Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi

Confessions of a former mean girl

When being mean was once a sport, this girl was on top of her game.

Anisah Azmi

Published: 27 December 2016, 12:00 AM

Remember those girls in school that used to run like wolves in a pack? They walked around like they owned the place, and they were not afraid to let people know about it.

They were the mean girls.

They were shady as hell and would roast anybody that came their way, just for kicks and giggles. Remember the movie Mean Girls? It was like that, but with Asian girls and school uniforms.

I am embarrassed and quite frankly, ashamed to say that I was one of them.

The truth is, I hadn’t always been a mean girl. In fact, I was quite the opposite.

All I wanted was to fit in and to please the people around me, but in turn, I got stepped on and bullied mercilessly in primary school.


I (far right) was always the butt of all jokes in primary school.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi


This resulted in severe low self-esteem, so I decided to reinvent myself when I entered secondary school. I could be anybody I wanted to be, and I chose to transform into, well, a mean girl.

Back then, I made sure I exuded self-confidence, albeit intimidating, coupled with an indifference to everyone around me. Soon, it became clear to the people around me that I was not the nicest person around. All I did was poke fun at and verbally terrorise just about anybody.

Since a mean girl is never alone, I had a group of eight girls that were just as awful as I was, and we had each other’s backs. Anyone could take one mean girl down, but this was a coalition of rude, an unrelenting teenage force.


My girls and I looked pretty innocent, but we were snakes.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi


I recall an incident where I had a clear misunderstanding with a schoolmate on Facebook. She had tried to correct me on a status I posted, and my petty self wasn’t having it. This led to several terrible school girl rants on social media, and I had an audience who cheered me on.

Eventually, I bumped into this schoolmate in an empty bathroom in school. I was with my friends, and she was alone. I pretended she didn’t exist while I spouted insults that were clearly directed at her.

She snapped, and started yelling, asking me what my problem was. At the time, I was unfazed. I looked at her and smiled condescendingly. This only made her angrier.

While she was in a rage, my friends decided to mock her, mimicking her actions and words. She was at the brink of tears, and ran off while my friends and I simply laughed it off, completely oblivious to the fact that this girl was clearly hurt.


At one point, we even had a ‘burn book’ for ourselves. Awful, I know.
Image credit: GIPHY


Throughout my years in secondary school, there were many more incidences where I would straight up shame and demean people just for fun.

The worst part? I wasn’t afraid to do it publicly.

Tearing people down was a sport, and my friends and I were on top of our game. However, as I reached the end of my third year of secondary school, I couldn’t keep up the act anymore.

The truth is, it was all just a front. I had masked my own insecurities and self-doubt with a persona that wasn’t entirely real. I was witty and I loved to make jokes, but hurting people? That wasn’t who I was, or who I wanted to be.

Deep down, I was still that timid, insecure primary school girl licking her old wounds.

Shaming people and putting them down was not at all a fulfilling experience. I was caught in a cycle I so desperately wanted to break away from when I was younger, but I found myself diving into and making huge contributions to it.

While I still enjoy poking fun at people, in a moderate and friendly way, being a mean girl was just negativity I didn’t need.


Luckily, we grew out of our mean girl phase.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi


I made it a point to myself to put aside my ego and pride if I ever get the chance to, and I often wish I could personally apologise to every person I had hurt in the past.

I’m still not the best person in the world, but I’m sticking to growth, love and positivity, moulding myself into a version of myself that I would be proud of, where “mean” is far away from my repertoire.

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