All Roses Have Thorns

The words said from others create an invisible word written on others’ face.

“Did you see what she was wearing?”

“Can you believe who they were with last night?”

“Ha, they try so hard.”

“They do realize they don’t have to raise their hand every time, right?”

The daily whispers in the hallways cause others to hurt more than people realize. Reputations aren’t always the truth and teenagers tend to forget that. People hear things from their friends that heard it from their friends that found something out from a random source. Those words jab at people until they swirl up inside and change their character. How can someone’s reputation be judged? It is a part of them that cannot be described as either bad or good.

School psychologist Robin Vlosky believes that considering someone as either bad or good as judgmental. Vlosky believes that everyone inevitably finds their way to the middle ground even though some are thrown into either side without a choice. This is done by others because of how much their words affect people’s viewpoints on their peers. Vlosky continued to specify how certain students may deal with these words being spewn at them.

“The student’s character more influences how they deal with [rumors],” Vlosky said. “Some students are able to brush this off and say ‘this is totally ridiculous.’ This comes from some students having the strength to say [they] don’t need this.”

Personal morals cause people to select the individuals they don’t agree with and group them together. This group can be created with the help of rumors, fake friends and other disreputable situations; nevertheless, this does not mean there is only one victim in this scenario.

It is a common theme among such friends that they are dealing with personal matters that cause them to lash out at others. Vlosky found that there is no way to determine the motivation behind spreading rumors, for it is such a complicated idea. Some may purely be doing it for attention, but there are those dealing with issues that can’t find it in themselves to go about it the right way.

Therefore, there is no way to say that those who spread rumors are bad people. It is no doubt that what they may say or do to others is wrong, but no singular moment has the power to change someone’s character immediately. Not all “bad people” do bad things, which goes hand in hand with the fact that not all “good people” do good things as well. Some may have a good reputation but be hiding multiple layers of secrets behind them. No one is perfect and those assumed to be are therefore forced to deal with multitudes of pressure and stress.

“I try really hard in classes and it could get really stressful,” freshman Izana Nordhaus said. “People made fun of me last year for being a try-hard. There’s different connotations to it because some call me an overachiever and even though they have the same meaning, it sounds a lot more negative to say try-hard.”

Nordhaus finds herself accepting of the “try-hard” title. She looks for the positive side of everything because her caring about her academics can hardly be considered a bad thing. It’s easier for her to brush things off because those traits don’t have a negative side to them. These parts of her are things people get jealous over, but were they to be bad things instead, that jealousy would be replaced with hate.

People with poor reputations don’t have this kind of a luxury; the issues come whether they like it or not. These issues plague not only their reputation but their mind as well. Vlosky explained that long forms of distress caused by another person can lead to anxiety and in many cases, depression.

Along with that, friendships break and people leave. Some find that with rumors being spread, people who they assumed were their friends believe the source instead of whom it was about. High school is a place all about meeting new people, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be friendly.

Sophomore Lilya Ocampo describes this feeling, along with the effects of her “bad” reputation. She believes that having such a reputation has lost her many friends, but for good reason. This has now led her to meeting new people with which she can be herself. That logic doesn’t always work for everyone. Ocampo thinks of her reputation as important to herself and not to anyone else.

“I’ve met people who have the worst reputations who end up being the best people that I know and there are people who have no reputation and are awful people,” Ocampo said. “Your reputation doesn’t define you as a person. It’s just what people think about you. It may be true, it might not be true. So [you should] never judge anybody based on what you’ve heard about them.”

Judgements are the basis to all things rumors related. These are caused by different perspectives each individual person has. Their point of view is based off of their own truth, but that may not align with those of others. A person’s truth is constantly disrupted by what they hear, read or even say themselves. There’s no set way to perceive anything and this causes some to question whether anyone’s reputation is truly either good or bad.

Having either a good reputation or a bad one can simply not be compared, for they are different to each person. Nordhaus and Ocampo had reputations seemingly on different sides of the spectrum of good versus bad, but both think of them the same way; anything anyone says is simply just a reflection of themselves. A person can believe themselves to be one way and be perceived as another, but that does not determine their character.

Character can simply be described as a rose. To many eyes they’re beautiful, but some don’t see that version of it. Instead, they focus on the thorns, forgetting the beautiful colors others stay focused on. Some stay away to avoid getting pricked while others risk it, and find it in themselves to smell the rose anyway.