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Today

Today.

Today I am Cinderella. I am the perfect girl. I cross all my i’s and dot every t. I think nothing but pure, happy thoughts. As I weave down the hall I am tossed the word GEEK. Paper balls hit me in the back of the head in class. People only friend me so that I’ll do their homework. I wait for the day when I can go to the ball, but it never comes.

So today I am Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I stand up for what I think is wrong, and I protect my friends and family. But my new friends don’t protect me. They roll their eyes, wave their hands dismissively, run to the power of the in-crowd. I stay away because I am independent, because I don’t need power or money or love. Secretly, I’m looking out for Mr. Darcy, but he is nowhere to be found.

Then today I am Troy from High School Musical. I join the basketball team and slam-dunk my way to team captain. Everyone cheers around me and likes me because I am such an all-American, lovable boy. Except they don’t. Jealous sneers, competition instead of camaraderie. I don’t sing any songs, and I don’t get the girl.

But today I am Abigail from The Crucible. I manipulate others for what I want. I get in all kinds of trouble, but when I’m caught, I pin it all on someone else. Using the people that use me. Instead of GEEK I hear LIAR echo in my ears. People avoid their gaze. No respect. All I wanted was to be loved.

Today I am Meursault from The Stranger. I am a stranger to the world, a stranger to myself. I accidentally slice my finger on a piece of paper, but instead of blood, I bleed ink. I bleed personalities penned in books and plays. I don’t care. I don’t care about anything anymore.

Today I wonder at the world. I am just a blank slate, too tired to pick out another mask. I thought I was doing everything right. Then, for the first time, I see it: Cheerleaders in Mock Debate, Goths in Student Government, Artists running Cross Country. But…their breaking the rules…aren’t they?

Someone out of the crowd notices me, and my throat tightens. I have been discovered persona-less. They smile and extend their hand. They have the dreads of a Skater, the button down shirt and khakis of a Prep, the ear and nose piercings of a Goth, and the hands of a Musician. That’s when it hits me: the world is not BLACK and WHITE. It is not Cinderella or Meursault, Elizabeth or Abigail. It is not ink stark against a sheet of paper. They smile at me because I am not pretending, because they want to see ME and not the shell of another life.

Today I wake up, look into the mirror and see my own face. And I think it looks just fine.



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