Cherry Dress

Katharine - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on April 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: children

I believe in being true to myself. If people don’t like me for who I am than who cares what they think. As a four year old growing up in Kansas, I attended Montessori school. One morning I put on my favorite dress which was covered with several small cherries. I put on my matching headband with cherries placed perfectly upon it. I was the picture of innocence. The world hadn’t gotten to me yet, but I was about to get my first taste of how cruel this world can be.

As I was playing on the playground with my friends, a girl approached me and said, “What’s that on your chest?” I awkwardly looked downward at my chest and noticed that my cherry dress had dipped a little low that day revealing my birth mark that lay directly over my heart. I saw nothing wrong with this subtle spot and considered her question merely a point of inquiry. “My birth mark,” I replied simply, not knowing what was to come. The girl went on to point this out to just about every kid on the playground and a group began to form around me. Nothing that anyone said or did at that moment could possibly free me from this complete and utter embarrassment. I felt betrayed. Not by my friends, as one would expect, but by my parents.

For my entire life, which at this point only consisted of a few years, my parents had celebrated me and loved me unconditionally. They told me that my birth mark made me unique, and I had taken great pride in it. Why had they lied to me? This was the only question in my mind. The foundation that my childhood had been built upon was ripped from beneath my feet.

When I went home that evening, I carelessly threw my dress on the ground. I made sure not to show how upset I truly was. I wore a forced smile to disguise these feelings, and found that this smile was even beginning to convince me that all was well. Several days later, my mom pulled the dress out of my closet and told me to wear it, but I refused. I never wore my cherry dress again.

Mr. Black once said that history can look very different when you’re living it, and I would have to agree. If I could go back, I would wear my cherry dress every day. If I could go back, I wouldn’t be afraid to be myself. If I could go back, I would live each day without worries or regrets. I believe in wearing my cherry dress, showing who I am and being true to myself no matter what, because life’s too short to live any other way.