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I Am Not Beautiful, I Am Just Being Myself
“Ewww! Will you look at those pants?”
‘Poor Caroline, she has to suffer having her locker right next to loser Lorien’s.”
“Those shoes are so last year, I wouldn’t be caught alive in them.”
Everywhere Lorien Gates went, she was followed by a sudden hush in the conversation. The current gossip suddenly seemed very disinteresting, compared to the new Lorien Gate’s news. People fled from their lockers to their next classroom, as if in fear. Girls turned around in disgust; boys looked her up and down and sneered. Eyes shifted from place to place, looking for anywhere to look, other than Lorien Gates. Feet shuffled on the group, anxiously waiting for the moment when Lorien Gates would finally be gone.
“What’s up with loser Lorien?” Agatha said, not even daring to look at Lorien.
“Dirty old sweatpants and a designer t-shirt from Deb. Same old thing she usually wears: totally un-matching stuff that looks absolutely hideous.” Maddy replied.
“Did you hear that she was seated next to Alex, that bloke from the Southside in Mr. Greg’s class? She didn’t even care; she sat down and totally made herself comfortable. Started a conversation up with him without a care in the world!” Carrie walked up and told Agatha and Maddy the new gossip about what Lorien Gates was up to.
Westsiders and Southsiders never, and I mean NEVER interact. Southsiders are those Mexican and African-American kids who are in the gangs and carry around guns and pocketknives with them everywhere. Westsiders, they are the rich kids. The kids that wear the right clothes, own the right car, and have lots of money. Westsiders and Southsiders are never supposed to interact, no matter what! It is like a federal offense to even think about talking to a Southsider if you are a Westsider and vice versa.
Minutes before the bell rung for first period to begin, Maddy and Agatha sat down in their seat and readied themselves for class. As usual, Lorien walked in just seconds before the bell rings. Bearing a smile that never seemed to come off her face, she too sat down and prepared for class.
Day by day went by and she walked through the halls with the happiest, widest grin in the whole school. She was the laughing stock of the school for her totally mismatched sense of style and her weird comments in class. She would talk to anyone: a Southsider and Westsiders.
“Will you look at that? Loser Lorien is talking with that Southsider again!”
“Who does she think she is? A Southsider or something?”
“Does she not care what other people think about her, because believe me; this is so loosing her popularity points. I mean, not that she has any, but still. She is like in the negatives.”
The day ended again with the usual gossip about Lorien. What she had worn that day, who she had talked to, what she had said in class. She obviously didn’t really care. She wore gladiator shoes sometimes and sometimes she wore hideous monkey slippers. She talked to anyone, at least anyone who would talk to her. It was like she wanted to be different than the whole school.
“You should totally buy the purple shirt! I don’t like the green one as much; it’s not as low cut.” Agatha told Maddy; they both stood in an Aeropastle store. Maddy couldn’t decide what she wanted to buy.
“I don’t know. I think I will go and try them on.” Maddy went into a far back dressing room. A few minutes later, she walked out and stood looking at herself in the dark purple shirt that Agatha had approved of.
“Hmm… I still can’t decide.” Maddy said to herself, still very unsure.
A voice cut through the silence saying, “Which do you feel more comfortable in?”
Maddy swirled around and saw Lorien watching her. Turning back around, she said, “No… Which do I feel prettier in?”
“No. Is there a difference? I mean, to you, there may be a difference; to me, being beautiful is feeling comfortable being who I am. Beauty… Right now, like in school, beauty isn’t feeling good about yourself. Beauty is being pretty and perfect in other people’s eyes. Girls will do anything to own the right clothes and the right things, just so that they know that they are liked by other people and are thought to be beautiful. I feel like beauty is not what you look like on the outside, but it is being who you are. Everyone is beautiful; beautiful in their own way. My definition of beauty is being who I am. I want to be beautiful in my own eyes, knowing that I am being who I really am. I don’t have to put on a show with clothes; I can just be who I am. For me, when it comes to clothes, beauty doesn’t really matter to much to me. It is just me feeling totally comfortable.”
The whole room was silent; Maddy stared at Lorien, thinking about what she had just said.
“When I talk to Alex and other Southsiders, it is because I am not looking on the outside, I am looking in the inside. I am looking about how beautiful their character is; they are some of the nicest kids that I have ever met. Beauty is not on the outside, it is in the inside. I don’t want people to want to be my friends, because of my clothes, because they may think I am pretty. I don’t want a boyfriend who wants to go out with me only because I am pretty. My friends will be the people who don’t judge you by how beautiful you are on the outside, but how beautiful you are on the inside. If I have to wait forever, I will wait.”
Lorien nodded to Maddy and walked down the hall. She turned back around at the end; then stopped to think of what to say.
“I am not beautiful, I am just being myself.”