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Waking up from a peaceful slumber, you reach to grab your phone that is illuminating your room and turn off your alarm while squinting your eyes. A blue hue casts onto your face from the phone’s bright light. Trying to resist the urge to go back to sleep, you press Instagram and start to see your friend’s selfies and pictures of art that you admire. About halfway through your feed there is a video titled, “Waist Trainer On Sale”. You press the play button and the video starts, “Do you feel as if working out doesn’t give you any results, then waist training is for you. With this product you will see results in days.”
Trying to forget the ad you continue to scroll through Instagram. You see girls with the perfect body, perfect makeup, perfect everything, looking at those pictures you start to wish you had the beauty they had. Finally rolling out of bed you walk to the bathroom in your mom’s two bedroom apartment and turn on the shower, setting it to a perfect temperature. Stepping into the warm shower you feel a chill running down your spine, the water droplets come down with a steady beat ,hitting your skin. Stepping out of the shower, goosebumps start to form as the cool air hits your skin. Wiping off the steamy mirror, it reveals your reflection, shiny black hair, sparkling emerald eyes, small, pouty lips. Remembering the pictures of your friend’s perfect porcelain skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, and pouty lips. They meet society’s expectations of beauty but you think that you are the complete opposite. You grab your blue and black toothbrush, and push your thoughts aside. The cool mint, tingles your lips and tongue, the air feeling cold in your mouth. Walking back to your room your cat, Mittens, brushes up against your leg and meows as if it were greeting you. Opening your window a cool breeze of air rushes through your room, like any other morning in Ottawa, Canada. The sound of cars fills your room, making your own song out of the everyday noises you hear as you pick out your clothes; a pair of highwaisted black skinny jeans, a black and red nirvana tank top, a red flannel, and a pair of black converse, paired with a black tattoo choker and your favourite silver septum ring. You continue to your bed to apply your makeup, a soft grey smokey eye, winged eyeliner, mascara, foundation, highlight and contour, and your signature matte black lip with silver highlight in the centre of the bottom lip. Pulling your hair into a messy bun, your hair sparkles, the silver highlights standing out.
Your mother calls you into the kitchen and presents you a bowl of yoghurt and fruit,”You need your energy after a long weekend, this will help.”
She places a glass of orange juice in front of you and rushes you, “You don’t want to be late for school. In fact you should get there early, I’m paying for your coffee today.”
You reply with a nod, you grab your bag and wallet, then run down the stairs and continue to hop into your blue Honda Civic, your mom not far behind you with ten dollars in hand to give to you. “You don’t want to forget this,” she says with a smile.
Smiling, you roll down your window and take the purple ten dollar note from her and place it into your black leather wallet you got from Bentley only days ago. Turning on the radio your favourite song comes on, Bullet by Hollywood Undead, reminding you of your past you turn down the radio. Today you were a couple months clean from cutting, you have scars on your left forearm from those times. Before you’re aware of where you are, you pull up to your high school. Walking in you hear the chatter of other students, but you set your focus on getting to the school’s coffee shop. Approaching the coffee shop, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills your lungs. The morning crew greets you as you are one of their regulars, “Hey Harper, the usual?”.
Your usual is a large full french roast with four teaspoons of cream, four teaspoons of sugar, two pumps of caramel, two pumps of vanilla, and whipped cream with a sprinkle of chocolate. “Yes please and thank you.” you say enthusiastically.
“Okay coming right up.” Melody replies. You watch her pour the freshly brewed coffee into the cup and pour in each ingredient perfectly. “ Harper you're special is ready.” she says holding the coffee in front of you,”That will be $1.75.”
You hand her the money, a looney and three quarters. Grabbing the cup of coffee you continue to your locker, B45. Placing your backpack into your locker, you try to have a conversation with Sarah, “Hello.” you say stepping out of your comfort zone initiating the conversation.
She replies in a matter of seconds,”Hi Harper.”
“How was your break?” you ask looking over only to see her ignoring you and talking to someone else. You look back to your backpack grabbing your chromebook and phone for your first hour class, English, with your teacher Ms.Downmore. Walking into your English room, 410, a girl walks in behind you, one of the popular people, Emily. Abruptly stopping to scan the room for your seat, she bumps into you. “What’s your issue loser?!” she says making a scene in front of the whole class.
“I’m sorry, I-I didn’t mean to stop so abruptly. I was only looking to find my seat.” you respond.
“Whatever loser it’s no surprise you don’t fit in. Listen to yourself talk, thick accent, proper vocabulary.”
Continuing back to your seat, you feel all eyes on you. Like you are a caged animal there for entertainment. During the hour you continuously checked your email, waiting for something to distract you from all the stares. An email pops up on your screen, it’s from a girl named Suzanne, one of the populars. You can feel your face turning into hot lava, starting to read the e-mail it affects you in so many ways; emotionally, physically, and mentally.
The teacher with her long silver braid swaying in the air continues to pass out a worksheet, something fairly simple, a memoir. Turning your attention back to the e-mail, you feel a tear run down your cheek, quickly wiping it away everyone’s phone starts to ring. A girl in your class reads it out loud,”Attention all students, we all know by now Harper is an outcast, we’ve seen the scars and tears. Now let’s make her feel even more like one, she is the complete opposite of society’s standards. Let’s make her realize it!”.
Tears start running down your face, everyone starts to laugh at you. You try to grab your sketchbook so you can calm down, but Emily takes it and hands it off to her boyfriend Dylan, a tall young man, with icy blonde hair, and blue eyes; he is the stereotypical jock. He takes your sketchbook and tears it into pieces, the other students cheering him on. He raises a fist, and thrashing it across your face. The teacher not noticing your screams for help or the unusual laughter of the students. After the last punch the bell rings, no one noticing the blood or bruises on your face, your makeup smeared, black lipstick smeared onto your cheek covering a bruise.
To scared to go to your second hour, Government, you go to the principal’s office and tried to explain the situation.Opening your mouth to speak you can only taste blood, trying to speak was only a small squeak here and there.
“Listen Harper I know you don’t like school but you can’t go home.” the principal continues,”Your mom isn’t home and your dad isn’t part of your life right now.”
You open your mouth again, this time more painful from dried blood sealing your lips together. A mumble finally comes out,”Paper. Pen.”
He reaches for a lined piece of paper and ballpoint pen,”Here you go Harper.”
You reach for the paper and write down two words Society’s Expectations.
“Harper, do you feel safe here?” he asks.
You reach for the paper and write one word, No.
“You may stay in the conference room for the rest of the day and see the counselor.”
You give him a nod to acknowledge that you thank him and walk out to the conference room. In the conference room is the counselor waiting for someone to talk to. You sit down at the far end of the table and don’t say a word.
Before you know it the end of the day comes, you run to your locker and get out of the school as fast as possible to go home. Hopping into your car as quick as possible, other students huddle around your car and harass you about not being perfect. Emily comes to the front,”You will never be beautiful or meet society’s expectations, you will only endure pain and nothing more.” she says to you.
Trying to escape, you realize that there is no way out of this. Instead of driving you grab your backpack, keys, and phone, you then climb out of the car and lock it. While running home the crowd finally stopped following you. At the complex all the things people called you today ran through your head, pushing you to the edge. You run to your room and grab your old razor blade, a few cuts in you look at your bedroom ceiling fan and take it as an opportunity. You go to the back room and grab the rope, you tie it around the ceiling fan in your room and tie a hangman’s noose. Sitting on your bed you look at your wrists, and back at the rope. You feel as if it’s never looked more welcoming, stepping up to the chair and putting the noose around your neck, you have a smile on your face. Suddenly you have a thought, what would happen if you were gone? Are you going to do this because you actually believe what people say about you? They don’t know you one bit. You only know the true you, the real you. You were about to do that because people are jealous of you and the way you speak and the way you see the world, as a beautiful place.
You take the noose off of your neck and throw it out the window. You start to realize you have self-worth and some confidence, you also have something no one else has, the writer, artist, and lovely person you know that defies society and its expectations. Later that day you start a blog called, “Written By A Teenager”. That blog has taken people’s breath away since the beginning, since you discovered your talents. You discovered that society’s expectations aren’t the right expectations. The things people once said gave you the motive to keep living and change society. Society has its expectations but that doesn’t mean you will meet them or believe them.