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By , Warrenton, VA
Going into first grade, I thought I would be the one who was bullied. I was small, vulnerable, and still had a little bit of the "preschool lisp" that most kids had lost before they turned five. I thought I would be easy prey, so on the first day of school, I never left my best friend's side. Eli was bigger than me - because he was a boy, he always said - and tougher. He swore that if anybody tried to pick on me, he would karate-chop them in half. Whether or not he was actually capable of karate-chopping someone was a different story, but I never questioned it, just in case he decided to karate-chop me.

Going into first grade, I thought I would be targeted the most. But it only took a few days before I realized that I had been afraid for nothing. The bigger kids in my class - the bullies - never looked at me twice. No, I was never their prey. Eli was.

At the time, I never understood why they liked to corner him, call him names, shove him and hit him while the teacher wasn't looking. I had known him all my life, and to me, he was like a brother. More than that, he was my hero.

Now that I'm older, I understand why he was bullied when we were young, and is now an outcast in high school. People don't understand him. They never did. They don't understand that he ticks only when he gets nervous, and staring at him and pointing only makes it worse. They don't understand that he sometimes can't filter his thoughts, that he speaks his mind, but more often than not, he doesn't mean it the way it comes out. They avoid him when he's around, ignore him when he approaches, and whisper once he's gone. I hate them all for being so cruel. I hate the teachers for trying to get his parents to put him in a school for "mental kids," when he has a 3.5 GPA here. I hate that nobody even gives him a chance. And I hate that his disability has caused him to give up.

He's given up on all but two things: academics, and me.

"Homework and tests are the only things that judge me for my brain and not my mind," he told me once. "And you're the only one who doesn't judge me at all."

He's not violent like some people with Tourette's. He rarely ever gets angry. He's sweet, generally kind, even to the people who are so openly mean to him. Nobody gives him the chance to prove this, though. Nobody gives him the opportunity to show that even though he's not normal, he's really not that different from anybody else.



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HunterAnonymous said...
Feb. 10 at 12:00 pm
About two years my little brother was diagnosed with Tourette's. He is starting to tick more and more now and my parents are also looking into him having something else now too. He is in 5th grade and is at the top of his class, but when Language Arts class comes around, He gets an aditude with the teacher and screams and cries and gets kicked out. The kids in his class don't really notice his tick which is good for now, but I am worried about him for the future... I wanna try ... (more »)
 
quinnc said...
Jun. 5, 2013 at 9:08 am
this is a really good story and it probley will inspire a lot of people about bullying  
 
AliMotamedi said...
May 14, 2013 at 11:08 am
your writting is excellent and tell Eli i think he is the coolest, so are you. :D 
 
LinkinPark12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:45 am
I swear I cried :) This is so beautiful and sad :( Good job with a nice message. Please can you check out some of my work? :D
 
beautifulspiritThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm
A good story to remind us that we are not all the same. Though we all know the expression "Don't judge a book by its cover", we should make more of an effort to practice this in life. I liked reading this story. Keep writing~
 
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