This I Believe

Lina - Wylie, Texas
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I see someone and instantly have an idea of what lies beneath, or so I think. Humans were not made to be read like an open book, therefore they must not be; feelings are not always thrown around for everyone to read so only the physical features shows through, burying all the decent details. The clothes are temporary and change in time, but do emotions?

In the fourth grade, name-calling passed through every kid’s mouths and everyone tried to be cool by wearing the labeled clothes and using the slang. We all felt grown-up like we knew everything. There came this guy, Jimmy, who was always being made fun of- four eyes, smelly, ugly, short, geek. Saying these words were not grown-up, but it continued anyways. Just like everyone else, I avoided him thinking of all the bad things about him that the others have said.

During our recess time outside, Jimmy isolated himself and lay by himself on top of the monkey bars staring at the pebbles below while my friends and I ran around playing tag and swung on the line of swings. During lunch, he sat away from the others. During P.E., kids picked him last. No one really knew him though. No one could see past the words of the other guys about the way he looked, including me, and I regret that.

He kept his friendliness to others, but his peers just ran away from him like he had a contagious disease. My heart had to stop living for two seconds for me to realize his kindness.

The meticulous teacher turned my way. “Ok, it’s your turn to read your paper. You have it?” I was the last one to go for the day and a zero would get me in the trouble I didn’t want to deal with. When no one around me dared to go yet, Jimmy raised his hand and volunteered to take my place although his paper needed more finishing. That time, I did not notice him as another object of humiliation but as a living, breathing person.

After that, I kept seeing Jimmy helping others and being encouraging although he was still being turned away. Guilt poured down on me until I flooded. I remembered ignoring his kind comments and the others only showing him hatred, and I prayed that I won’t do that again to anyone.

Because we were born human, we hold feelings, and those feelings get hurt, but those fiery words can be kept in. Of a book, the cover does no justice to the true messages held in the words. Start with the first page and actually look in to it instead of putting it down. I believe there is no way to capture someone’s entire soul and personality by looking at the physical features. I see someone and instantly have to give chances.