Everyone has seen the girls in the halls that hide behind books and live their lives apart from everyone else. The ones with braces, with glasses, the ones whose parents can’t afford the most expensive clothing. Their nails aren’t painted. They don’t wear designer clothes. They shudder away from public speaking. When people compliment them, they think it’s an insult. I used to be one of those girls. When I was in intermediate and middle school, I hid. I poured myself into my school work. I kept great grades, but I was miserable.
In intermediate school, I contracted head lice from somewhere. No one knew, even me, until the routine check at my school. Then the nurse found out. And the other person in the nurse’s office, a girl in my grade. One of the perfect ones. I was sent home to get my problem taken care of, and as was school policy, I wasn’t allowed back at school the next day. And when I came back the day after that, no one would speak to me. My ‘friends’ had found out why I had left, courtesy of the other girl in the office. My self esteem was shattered.
Another year, while I was in middle school, I grew several inches within two months. My parents have never been the richest of people, but I’ve always had everything I needed. All of the pants that I owned were about two inches too short. I didn’t even notice, until I overheard one of the girls that had a cell phone, designer clothes, and a perfect manicure make a rude comment and laugh at me. The years I had spent rebuilding myself were proven useless as once again I looked stupid in my own eyes.
I spent a long time rebuilding after that. I was careful never to let my guard down. Every word spoken to me was carefully dissected, searching for hidden meanings. Every glance at me, no matter who it was from, was picking me apart, looking for weaknesses. I was terrified of every living thing. I didn’t want to be rejected again.
When I got into high school, everything changed for me. Suddenly, there were people who I could call my friends, who liked me for me and not who I was trying to be. Slowly, they were coaxing me out of the hide out I had built for myself, way back in intermediate school.
So now, I ask myself. What do I believe? And I realized that I had known the answer for a long time. I believe that no person should have to change who they are to try to make themselves better in another’s eyes. The way others see you is different for every person who looks at you. For every person who mocks you, another thinks highly of you. You shouldn’t hide away and waste your years.
Don’t let other people determine your life. Be outgoing. Be outspoken. Be outward. Be outstanding. This I believe.