This I Believe

Kathy - Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Kathy Bi, 11

Sherwood Middle School

Shrewsbury, MA

Mrs. Smith

Have you ever been that one kid, who was always on the outside looking in, the one trying to escape the horror of humiliation and taunting classmates? Well, if you have, no need to worry, once along the line everyone has, and trust me, no one feels good about it. For me, well I was lucky. I was just an observer of a mockery of discrimination, but now I look back to those days and think, what if that was me?

Her name was Michelle, and ohh…was she a threat to me as a 7 year old. I was shy, timid, and overall a perfect target…fortunately for me, she found more potential in terrorizing a close friend named Taylor. Taylor was like a sister to me; at school we were great friends. When I was with her I felt like I was “on top of the world”. Sometimes, Michelle’s teasing was simply a scoff about Taylor’s clothes but later grew to ignorant cracks on Taylor’s culture. I was simply horrified…but kept my mouth shut. Often these catty outbursts would lead to tears and depression that pushed Taylor’s mind way beyond her own knowing. But somehow, with a quick pep talk and an easy hug, Taylor was up again. I noticed that she never let Michelle destroy her confidence; everyday she came to school smiling and loving herself. Boy, was she an inspiration to me. At the end of the year, it was rumored that Michelle was moving away, I was overjoyed! The next year, with a refreshed self-respect, Taylor and I returned to school…Michelle was history.

I have to admit that my life as a first grader was no stroll in the park. It was probably the most emotionally striking school year of my life, but somehow Taylor and I pulled through. Maybe it was Taylor’s determination; maybe it was the fact that we both had each other, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that it had to do with our self-respect, something that 7 year olds can reach deep within to find themselves. That is why I believe that here well be many Michelles in all of all our lives, but as long as we respect ourselves, what she thinks doesn’t matter.