This I Believe

julia - fd, Kansas
Entered on March 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe one reason to live life is to be who you are. Everyone is different. Labeling them doesn’t change who they are. Nobody can heat themselves up and fit into a mold that others have created. Why not just let them free-fall? As a geeky child of 10, I was constantly bullied. I wore red, thick-rimmed glasses and was just starting to hit puberty. This made me an open target for insults. I didn’t fit in anywhere. There were two groups: the Korean boys who obsessed over Pokemon games and the “cool” kids. I could’ve changed. I could’ve just thrown off my embarassing glasses and became “cool”. I didn’t.

Usually, they called me names that stung at that age. The words ‘loser’ or ‘stupid’ would fly out of their sneering mouths like they couldn’t keep it in. Sometimes they’d push me and demand me to get out of their way. Most days I went home wondering if I would miraculously fit in.

Once after gym, a boy snuck behind me and spat water all over my back. I was in shock. My first reaction was to turn around and give that boy a good beating. I wasn’t stupid; I knew I wasn’t strong enough to punch a boy three times my weight. Before, I had put on a placid face and smiled away their insults and abrasive actions. They had crossed the line. My face reddened and I exploded into tears. The teacher asked me what was wrong. Couldn’t she tell? Was she oblivious to the obvious bullying occuring right under her nose? My back was drenched in water and spit; tears were rolling down my face like a rainstorm. I didn’t answer her. What was the point? Who cared about the short, Asian girl with bad skin?

That day, I went home tear-stricken and spilled everything to my dad. How everyday I went to school and was greeted with snide remarks and bullying. He knew I was unhappy at school, but I had constantly pretended everything was fine. The next day, I was tentative to return to school, but my parents told me to stand up for myself. As I entered the classroom, no one met my eye or even noticed me. It didn’t bother me that I had officially become an outcast. Strangely, I liked it better that way.

I transferred schools the next year. I realized that being myself would automatically label me as a geek, a nerd, someone uncool. Frankly, I didn’t care. I started sixth grade with my red, thick-rimmed glasses, my hair in a tight ponytail and bad skin. What I could’ve done was change myself into someone else. It would’ve been easier to start a new school with a new identity. Instead, I started a new school with my old identity and a sense of self-pride. Over the summer, I realized I had lost my dignity, and had gotten sick of it. I developed a confidence and made sure whoever insulted me took back what they said. There was no messing around with me now.

I’m glad to say that I’m happy with who I am now, and I made the right choice not to let “society” get to me. There is no doubt that I will never change; I’ll always be that geeky, short, Asian girl and proud of it.