This I Believe

Teal - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Entered on November 9, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

It’s better to be hated for who you are, than for who you are not:

Being told that I should always wear a bulletproof vest, I entered my first year of middle school terrified of what was come, I expected horrible things and awful people. I hardly remember my first day. Partly because I was shock, thinking that I should have saved my allowance and purchased a vest instead of that really awesome backpack. After a few weeks of wide eyes, and constantly envisioning someone would pull out a gun over the slightest disagreement, I discovered that I was at the innocence of a practical joke. Even still, I felt that in order to survive the life of middle school I had to adjust, to modify who I was.

To change in such a way that I would not be a favorable target for ridicule. In doing so I thought that I had to be “cool”, to be tough, to have an attitude of a cranky high school teenager, and to have all the latest and greatest comebacks. I even began listening to rap, music that I have little tolerance for. I also found myself some friends who supposedly were the “cool group.” After my transformation, I felt ready to tackle any obstacle that the mid-high society threw at me. Unfortunately, as the year passed most students thought of me as a mean and shallow person. I made many enemies within that time, but I thought I was cool. In my mind that was all that mattered.

Then on the first morning of seventh grade, as I rode the bus, I happened to take note of three sixth grade girls sitting in front of me. Two had adopted the though way of thinking and were sick with the “Middle School Syndrome.” The third girl was trying to be friendly and converse with the ill. The pair simply rolled their eyes and began talking to one other in their cool way about that cool guy, and blasted their cool music in their cool headphones.

I then realized that I too was sick. I felt ashamed of how I had disrespected everyone. People disliked my morphed personality; I had never exposed the one beneath. From that moment, I decided to be myself and not a trend. And so, sitting in that plastic bus seat, I established a new philosophy, to respect everyone no matter who they were and to show my true nature. I figured that with this idea I would be a friend to all and not be hated.

The curriculum passed and I still had my enemies regardless of my relentless deference. Its not that I was cruel, and so generating aversion, they thought I was a fake, displaying reciprocal altruism. This puzzled me. I tired my best to be myself and respect all, that is who I am, yet in spite of everything, I had those who disrespected me.

I needed to confront the fact, I will always have enemies, always have someone teasing me for who I am or am not. Its something I have no control over. I should have never thought that I needed to change to endure middle school. I’m that third girl on the bus, I’m new, I used to be like that duo who were sick. I have thankfully recovered. If I am to be hated, I would rather be hated for who I am, than for who I am not.