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More Beautiful You
More Beautiful You
“But Mom-,” Hannah began as her mom tried to wake her up for school.
“No buts little missy!!! You only have 5 days left with them. Then you have 2 months of summer, and high school will start. New kids, new atmosphere, new beginnings, and a new Hannah.”
“Ugh. Fine. Only 5 days. I guess I can do this.”
“Thank you. There’s the positive girl I was looking for. Now get up. Seriously. You only have 20 minutes to get ready,” Hannah’s mom added before going back to her own room to get herself ready for the day as well.
1 week. Just 5 short days until I can get away from it all, Hannah thought as she dragged herself out of bed, and into the bathroom to get ready for school. Why do I have to be so unfortunate? I have these ugly marks all over my face, and I’m the fattest girl in school. Why me? Why me, God? Where are you in all of this? Why can’t you fix this?
All throughout her life, Hannah had been tall, very smart, a teacher’s kid, and overweight. This made her the prime target for insults and bullies to unleash their cruelty of words at her. Since 4th grade, Hannah had struggled with her self-image. She knew she was bigger than the rest, but she couldn’t bring herself to ever do anything about it. Now Hannah had just 5 more days that she had to put up with the name calling and other 8th grade bullies. Things such as “Fatty”, “Pillsbury Doughboy’s Wife”, “Queen of Jellyrolls” and many other mean and confidence shattering things were all she heard at school. All day, every day, since 4th grade. She tried confronting them, talking to the Assistant Principal, her mom, and even the guidance counselor, but nothing seemed to make it better. It all got worse. She had no escape. All she had to look forward to was the start of high school next year.
Hannah’s 8th grade year passed the same as any other, and summer was coming to a short and quick end. It flew by as she spent time in New York, surrounded by family that loved her enough to look past the size of her body. With only 2 weeks left before school started, her fears of school and bullies quickly came back to her. What if the new students look at me like all the others? Will I even have any friends? Oh, God, Why can’t you save me from this agony? Just save me now!
As soon as freshman year started, her greatest fears had become reality. In 8th grade, she had 3 friends. One of those friends went to a different high school then she did, another moved away, and the last friend refused to be seen with her at the new school, not wanting to let others think she liked Hannah, since no one else did. The very first day, she was hit hard with mean and nasty words. The previous bullies didn’t stop; their insults only got stronger, and meaner. They had perfected how to get themselves under her skin.
After 2 weeks of trying her hardest to look past them and focus on school, enough was finally enough. Hannah threw open the door, slamming it shut behind her, and immediately burst into tears.
“Hannah, what’s wrong?” her mom questioned as she heard Hannah sobbing from her closed bedroom door.
“I’m done mom! I can’t do it anymore! I tried and tried and tried. I’m done! I need a fresh start. I need to go somewhere where no one knows me, and I can start a brand new life for myself. I already called Dad, and he’ll be here later to pick me up. He will withdraw me out of school, enroll me in LaBelle where he lives, and that will be it. I’m done here. I can’t wait another day.”
“Honey, I know you’re upset but you can’t just decide these things on your own. You are supposed to leave with me during the week. Not with your father. According the court paperwork-“
“I don’t care what the court paperwork says! I CAN NOT STAY HERE ANOTHER DAY!”
“What if we think about virtual school?” Her mom asked.
“Okay, just have me sit home, ruining what social life I even have, and spend all day staring at a computer? I don’t think so!”
“Honestly, I don’t think you’re giving high school a fair chance.”
“Mom, I can’t handle the pain. I can’t. Do you know what I do in this room, when I lock myself in there? Hmm? Do you? I cut myself, Mom. I cut. All over my legs. I can’t handle this pain!” Hannah screamed at her mom.
At this, Hannah’s mom knew she had lost the battle. Hannah’s safety was much more important than what some stupid court paperwork said. “Okay. I guess that’s final then. I’ll help you pack up your things, and I will take off work to withdraw you from Lehigh,” her mom mumbled as she tried to process what Hannah just admitted to her, while also trying to remain strong for her daughter.
In two hours’ time, Hannah’s father showed up at the door.
“Paul,” her mom greeted the door with.
“Jen,” Paul replied to her greeting.
“Is she ready?”
“Yes,” Jen said quietly. She went to go retrieve Hannah from her room, but found that Hannah had already gotten past her and was waiting in the truck, with all her belongings. She walked to the window of the truck to tell Hannah goodbye. “I love you Hannah. Always know that. Good luck in LaBelle, call me the day after you start school there.”
“I will, Mom. Okay Dad, are you ready? I can’t stand being here one more second,” Hannah urged her Dad.
Paul got in the truck, and they were gone. Thirty minutes later, Hannah found herself in the driveway of the house her dad had just bought; Hannah’s new house.
“Okay, tomorrow we’ll go down to Lehigh and withdraw you, then we will try to get back here in town to get you all set up for school that way you can start on Friday. Does that sound okay to you?”
“Sure, that sounds good. I’m going to go ahead and unpack and go to bed. I’m really tired from crying so much today. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Okay, goodnight Hannah. Sleep well my baby girl. We’ve got a big day tomorrow,” Paul cheerfully added trying to boost Hannah attitude.
It took Hannah an hour to unpack and get everything put away, and with about 2 hours left before she was supposed to be in bed, she got out her journal, and began to write:
I really hope that tomorrow will go well. Hopefully I can finally get the fresh beginning I was looking for. I know Mom was hurt by what I said, but I just had to leave. I love my mom; I just couldn’t stay there another minute.
After thinking more, she then added:
And also, if there even is a God, please, please, show up. Show me that you’re here, and that you will help me. I need help. I’m sorry for what I did to my body, but I need help. Show me answers, show me a way.
She put her journal under her mattress, and slowly climbed into bed, drifting off into a deep sleep very quickly. She was startled awake by her dad at 8 am.
“Dad! It’s 8:00 in the morning! Why’d you get me up so early?”
“Hannah, I told you we had a big day! Come on let’s go! Get dressed! This is finally the day that my baby girl gets the new beginning she’s been waiting for,” Paul smiled as he rushed out of the doorway of her room, to attend to his pot of coffee that was on the verge of burning.
This is it. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Today is finally the day. Let’s get a real smile on my face, and take this day for all it will be. Hannah thought to herself to mentally prepare her mind for the long day she and her dad were about to go through.
Withdrawing her from school was no problem, and as soon as she stepped one foot in the door to the front office of LaBelle, her dreams of a big change would finally come true. This was the school in her dreams, where she would be able to change herself, and become who she was, and who she always wanted to be. Immediately, she became like family. Everyone was so welcoming and nice, it felt like home. It only took a matter of minutes for her guidance counselor to set up her schedule, and give her a tour around the school. She was already in love with this place, and she hadn’t even started her classes!
“So tomorrow when you get to school, if you need any help at all, just come to my office, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure your transition here is as smooth as can be,” Mrs. Smith smiled.
“Thank you so much! I can’t wait!” Hannah replied. Hannah really was, happy. For once in her life, she was excited about coming to school, and the smile that was on her face, was real. She was happy.
On the 10 minute drive home from the school, all Hannah could talk about was her new classes and how cool the school was.
“And get this, Dad. Their mascot is the Cowboys. The boys are the Cowboys, and the girls are the Cowgirls. Isn’t that just so cool?”
Paul couldn’t imagine the change he had already seen in his daughter. It was a night and day difference. She was happy, excited, and thrilled about school. He knew this would be the place of wonderful changes for his daughter. The only thing he waited for now, was when she noticed it too.
“Goodnight, Dad! I’ll see you tomorrow before I get on the bus!”
“Hannah, its only 7:30.”
“I know. I want to be well rested for tomorrow. It’s going to be a big day!”
“Okay, goodnight my dear.” Paul wrapped Hannah into a hug, and kissed her forehead before sending her off to her room.
The next morning, Hannah was up, bright and early getting ready for school. It was Friday, at a new school, and she just couldn’t wait to start her new classes, and see all the new people to make friends with.
“Dad, I’m leaving for the bus! Bye!” and just like that Hannah was out the door and already making her way down the street to get on the bus.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd period flew by. The class she was most excited for however, was 4th period; biology.
“Hello class, this is Hannah. She’s a new student from Lehigh, so please make her feel welcome,” the biology teacher, Mrs. Lugo, said while introducing her. “Hannah, you can go ahead and have a seat next to Stephen. He’s a very bright student, and if you ever need any help, just ask him.”
As Hannah made her way to her new seat, she couldn’t help but notice the shirt that Stephen was wearing. It was a dark gray t-shirt, on the front read “Zone 412”, and the back of the shirt had a memory verse.
I have to ask Stephen about his shirt. I want to know where he got, and what that verse means. 1st Timothy 4:12. Hmmm…
“Okay class, break off with your shoulder partners, and finish this worksheet together,” Mrs. Lugo explained.
Perfect! Now I can ask him about his shirt! “Umm hi Stephen, I’m Hannah. I was curious as to where you got your shirt, and what the verse on the back means.”
“Well, this shirt actually came from my youth group here in LaBelle. I go to Caloosa Baptist Church every Friday night at 6. Maybe you should come tonight. It’s a good way to meet people and get yourself put into the right crowd here in LaBelle. I could have my mom pick you up on our way by depending on where you live. I bet you would love it. Also, the verse is ‘Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.’ The verse is pretty self-explanatory; don’t let people underestimate you because of your young age. Be the example that every Christian should live by in everything you do,” Stephen explained.
“Thank you, very much. I will definitely try to come tonight. I’ll see you then, bye Stephen.”
“Bye Hannah, it was very nice meeting you. If you need a ride, just text me or call me,” Stephen added as he gave Hannah a slip of paper with a 10 digit phone number.
5th period went just as well as all the others, and before she knew it, Hannah was already on the bus and on her way home before she had time to slow down and think. All that was on her mind was going to that youth group tonight at 6.
As soon as she got to her house, she could barely continue her excitement after everything that had happened today. Paul said that she could go to the youth group tonight, and before long, it was nearing 6 o’clock when Stephen showed up at her house, ready to take her to church. She said goodbye to her dad, and hopped in the car with Stephen, Stephen’s mom, and Stephen’s friend Vrraj.
It was just a short 5 minute drive to the church, and as soon as Hannah arrived, she was welcomed with warm hugs and smiling faces. There were so many people to meet and names to remember.
“This is Sheena, Tilly, Emily, Frankie, Jordan, Mr. Doug, the youth pastor, Joshua,” Hannah’s head was flooded with names as she quickly tried to put a face with every name.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing before me. All this love. All these people. I’ve never had this. Did God hear me? Is this your sign, God? Did you use Stephen and his shirt to show me that you’re still here, and that you always will be?
Church started with Mr. Doug asking everyone to take a seat, he had a few announcements, including introducing the new visitor, Hannah. The next step was worship. The songs that were played were ‘Happy Day’ by Tim Hughes, which Hannah really enjoyed, ‘Children of God’ by Third Day, and finally the song ‘More Beautiful You’ by Jonny Diaz. During worship the lights were dimmed and the music’s volume was raised. For Hannah, this was probably a good thing. With the room this way, no one was able to see her tears, or hear her crying. The last song really spoke to Hannah, and touched her heart in a really special way. She listened to the artist softly sing:
?Little girl 14 flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight her body isn’t fake
And she’s always felt overweight
Well little girl 14 I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care you skin your body and your hair
And perfect just the way you are
There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you?
The rest of the night was all a blur to her. All she could think about was the fact that God had called her to this place, had shown her a sign, and spoke to her through worship, that no matter what she looked like, she could never, ever, be more beautiful than she already was. As she got home that night, she opened the journal that had always contained so many negative things about people, and added something new to it:
Thank you. Thank you for the amazing day that I couldn’t have possibly asked to go any better. Most importantly, thank you, God. You did the unspeakable. You showed me that you are here, you are real, and that you want nothing more than for your children to love you for all eternity. Just one day at this new school in this new town has been a life changer for me. I can already see my life completely changing. This is the start of a new me. A new Hannah. And it’s all because of you, Lord. Thank you.
It’s been a year now since Hannah moved with her father in LaBelle. She has been surrounded by so many friends that love her for who she is, not what she looks like. She went through a rollercoaster ride of trials, but just because she has changed herself, doesn’t mean she’ll be happy forever. She still has people who tease her, but when they do, she is happy to tell them that one year ago, she was thirty pounds heavier than she is now. At this, most people stop in their tracks, and instead of insulting her, they congratulate her on her marvelous accomplishment, and question her on how she did it. To her mom, she’s a runaway. To her dad, she’s a life changer. To most people at school, she’s just another student. To her friends, she’s a motivation to keep going when life gets tough. But to Hannah, she’s just a girl. A girl with a story, and one crazy past.