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The First Worst Day Ever
So I guess this is what Mom and Dad must feel like when they say they’re having “the worst day ever.”
Until today, I never had a day that I’d call “the worst.”
I’ve had bad days. Annoying days. Sick days. Snow days. Lazy days. Fun days.
I’ve even had a couple best days ever.
But never a worst.
I can’t even believe all these things are happened to me, of all people. I mean, I’ve always been one of the normal kids. I’ve always had friends. And yet here I am, sitting all by myself in one of the stalls in the girls bathroom, while everybody else is watching that boring science movie that Mrs. Green put on.
Mom was wrong when she said that everyone in middle school would be a new kid. My family moved to this town during the last week of summer vacation, and what I had been scared of the most was that everyone else would have friends, and I wouldn’t have any. Mom told me not to worry about it; she said that since everyone was starting the sixth grade and that since we were all coming out of elementary school, it would be like everyone was a new kid.
“Everyone in your class in going to be just as lost in that building and just as afraid of the new teachers as you’ll be,” she said.
I guess she was right about those two things, but she was still wrong. All the kids in my class went to the same elementary school, so I’m still the only new kid. For the first few days, nobody knew my name or even wanted to find out what it was.
The worst part is, just like I’d been afraid, everyone has a group of friends, and nobody needs a new one.
But I still can’t believe that everything got so horrible.
My first day in middle school wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible. Sure, I found out that it was going to be harder to make friends than I’d hoped it would be, but it wasn’t too bad; I just minded my own business and watched everyone else. It wasn’t such a bad day that I lost all hope in fitting in. I mean, I’ve always been a shy girl, but I wasn’t the weird type who couldn’t make any friends and never talked to anyone. I just needed a little time. I told myself that it wouldn’t take long for me to be part of one of the groups.
It hasn’t really turned out that way.
I’ve tried a couple of different things to make new friends, and yet I haven’t been able to really click with anyone; I actually end up making things worse every time I try being friendly to someone. Like what happened with that girl Jackie during my third day.
“Ms. Banks, I lost my pen. Can I borrow one?” she said during Reading.
She sat right next to me, and I saw my chance.
“Here, I have one,” I said, handing her one of my extra pens.
“Thanks,” she said, smiling politely.
After that, I tried to catch her eye a couple times during the lesson, especially when Ms. Banks said something I thought was funny or stupid, but she didn’t pay attention to me. I got annoyed, because I could tell that she knew what I was doing; I mean, I was turning my head in her direction in a kind of obvious way, so she could definitely see me from at least the corners of her eyes. But no, she didn’t give any sign of seeing me. Instead, she seemed dead set on avoiding my eyes; she was looking straight ahead with a concentration that was crazy. I mean, a person a person doesn’t need to pay attention that closely to understand what Dear Mr. Henshaw is all about. By the end of the lesson, there was definitely a bad vibe between us.
“Here you go,” she said, putting my pen down on my desk when the bell rang.
I haven’t talked to her again after that. And after what I heard her say today, I definitely won’t in the future.
Another person that I can tell I’m not going to be friends with is Angela Brown. She’s one of those girls that uses other people, I can tell. On the fourth day of school, she came up to me in the cafeteria.
“Hey, do you have a dollar I can borrow?” she asked.
I was sitting quietly with a group of boys who were all ignoring me, so I was surprised to get any kind of attention out of the blue. It sort of bugged me that some girl I didn’t even know and who had never talked to me before would ask me if she could borrow money, but at the time, I really wanted to do everything I could to make at least one person like me, so I gave it to her.
“Thanks,” she said. “I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”
Well, she didn’t. I didn’t say anything for three days, because I wanted to see if she would say anything else to me. But the next Monday, after not getting even a little smile when we saw each other, I asked her if she could pay me back.
“Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that,” she said. “Umm, well, I don’t have anything today. I mean, I have money, but if I give you the dollar, I won’t have enough to eat anything. Can I give it to you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, okay,” I told her.
The next day, she didn’t approach me to pay me back, so I had to approach her again.
“Ugh, God, I keep forgetting! Tomorrow for sure.”
Once again, she didn’t pay me back. I didn’t even bother going up to her again; I could tell I wasn’t going to get my dollar back anytime soon. Besides, every time that I approached her, I heard her giggling with her friends once I left.
And that’s how it’s gone with every single person that I have talked to in some way. They either act like they’ve never seen me before, or they start acting like they hate me. At first I couldn’t figure out why, but I think I’m starting to see the problem.
It started this morning in Homeroom. I was late, so everyone’s eyes were on me when I walked into the room.
“What’s that girl’s name?” I heard this boy say from a few seats behind me.
“I don’t know,” said a girl. I recognized the voice as Jackie’s. “She’s really weird, though. She sits next to me in Ms. Bank’s class, and she’s always staring at me. I’m like, ‘What is wrong with you?’.”
“Ew. I wouldn’t want her looking at me,” said the boy. “What’s wrong with her hair?”
“I know, right? Seriously, does she have a mirror?”
A weird feeling came over me when I heard them talking about my hair. It was something I had never felt before until then. I can’t really describe it, but I just felt uncomfortable.
I looked around at all the other girls in the class and noticed that they all had really shiny, straight hair. My hair wasn’t shiny, and it wasn’t straight—it never is; my hair is brown and poofy. My mom sometimes makes it straight with a hair blower, but only on special occasions. I hate getting my hair done, because it’s really boring, and I’ve never really cared about what it looked like until today.
I was really upset after that, and I was mad that I had once been nice to that girl. I was totally distracted all throughout my first three classes; I kept looking around at everyone’s hair. I couldn’t believe that I had never noticed how bad my hair’s always looked. I mean, how could I miss it? Don’t I look in the mirror everyday when I’m brushing my teeth or washing my hands? How could I not have seen it?
Fourth period I have gym, and it’s my favorite class. Or at least it was. We played kickball today, and I’m always pumped to play that game. When it was my turn to kick, I kicked the ball so hard that I got a homerun. That was my first homerun ever, and for a minute, I forgot all about my hair and how bad it looked. I felt so good running past all the bases, with all my team members cheering me on. I felt like the coolest person for a second there.
Then, when I took my seat on the bench with my team, I heard a girl say, “She looks so stupid when she runs.”
Once again, I felt a hard, unfamiliar pang in my stomach. I knew that they were talking about me, because the other two people who had been on the bases were boys. Didn’t this girl care at all about the fact that I, a girl, got a homerun? None of the other girls could kick the ball very high up in the air; some of them didn’t even manage to kick the ball at all and kept missing. Wasn’t she a little impressed by what I’d just done? And how was I a weird runner? I ran just like everyone else ran, right?
I got obsessed with looking at how everyone ran after that, and I realized that everyone did run differently. Did I really run in a weird way? Maybe I did. I was just starting to notice how people run, after all. And I couldn’t see myself while I was running, so I probably did look stupid to everyone else. Somebody should have told me this before. I could’ve started practicing running like a normal person a long time ago if someone had let me know.
When it was my turn to kick again, I didn’t do so well. I felt so nervous, thinking about how everyone must have been staring at how dumb I looked, that I actually got a foul twice, until I managed to get an average kick. Once I was on the bases, I realized that I probably looked even worse while I ran because of my stupid hair. I could just picture it: a poofy-haired idiot running around the field.
I sat by myself in lunch, and for once, I didn’t care. I didn’t even bother sitting next to the boys I usually sat with. I only sat there so that I wouldn’t look like a loser, but today, I wanted to be all by myself. I looked around at everyone, and felt more lonely than I ever had in my life. I’ve always been used to having lunch with a group of friends, and today was the worst I’ve ever felt.
I kept noticing something new every other minute during lunch today. For example, almost all the girls have purses. I’d always thought that purses were for grownup women, but I guess I was wrong about that. Another thing I noticed was that all the girls look older than me: they all wear makeup, they’re all taller, and they all have, you know, bigger boobs and stuff.
I look like a baby compared to them. I probably look like I’m five instead of eleven.
Anyway, after lunch I went to Mrs. Green’s class. She put on this video about volcanoes or something, and I was glad, because I wouldn’t have to pay attention. I could put my head down and pretend to listen. It was all going fine for like ten minutes, then I heard the two boys sitting right behind me talking.
“Jessica got really pretty, right?” said one of them. I think his name is Jason.
“Yeah, she looks better with blond hair,” said the other.
I ignored the rest of the conversation until I heard Jason say, “Who do you think the ugliest girl in the class is?”
I didn’t hear a response, but the kid must have done something, because Jason said, “That’s who I was thinking. She’s seriously ugly.”
“What’s her name anyway?” said Jason’s friend.
“I have no idea.”
At that moment, I raised my hand. Mrs. Green called on me, and I asked to go to bathroom.
That’s how I ended up in here. I know that those two jerks were talking about me, because I’m the only girl whose name they wouldn’t know. If I had stayed in that classroom, I probably would’ve started crying in front of everyone, so I just came here. Besides, I didn’t want to hear what else they had to say.
I’ve never been called ugly before. I mean, my little brother’s called me ugly, but he doesn’t count. I usually get told that I’m very pretty. But you know what, those people probably don’t count either, because they’re all family. I should’ve known not to take them seriously. Grandma calls my cousin Alex “beautiful” and I don’t find her pretty at all. I bet they’re all just lying. They have to tell us we’re pretty, that’s their job. I’m probably just as ugly as Alex. Maybe even uglier.
I wish somebody would’ve told me. That way I wouldn’t have been so surprised to find this out. And I would’ve tried to at least fix my hair up a little bit.
Seriously, is there anything else about me that is horrible and that I need to fix? Today I found out that I have horrible hair, that I look stupid when I play sports, and that I’m really ugly. No wonder nobody wants to be friends with me. Everyone else here is normal-looking, and I have frizzy hair and an ugly face. Why would they want to hang out with me? Nobody wants to have to look at someone with an ugly face all the time.
I can’t figure out why I used to have friends in my old town, though. Was I pretty over there, and did I just get really ugly over the summer? I probably did, I’ve been getting a load of stupid pimples on my forehead lately. What else has been happening to my face? When I get home, I’m going to look at myself in the mirror until I figure out what’s wrong with me.
I hope this doesn’t mean that I have to start wearing makeup, because I hate makeup just as much as I hate doing my hair. I don’t even know how to put makeup on, and I don’t have any either.
I’m so stupid. All these years, I’ve been wasting my time riding my bike and climbing trees and playing outside, when I should’ve been trying to make myself normal-looking. I’ve probably made myself look like a boy. I’ll never get a boyfriend; what boy is going to want to go out with a girl who looks like another boy? An ugly boy?
I wish I could move back to my old town where I had friends. Maybe they’d still like me if I moved back. Maybe Mom and Dad can get our old house back. I don’t think they like it here anyway, especially Mom; she’s been looking really sad ever since we started living here.
When I go home today, I’m going to ask them if we could please go back. I never want to see this school again or any of the kids in this class. I just never want to have another worst day ever, and I bet that if we stay here, this will only be the first.