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The High School Experience

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Megan Meier, a real-life 13-year-old girl, struts down the hallway of school. She is confident and has a smile, shining like 1,000 stars. People smile back at her and giggle a little. Her smile disappears. She knows they are giggling at her because her shirt is a bit too tight and isn’t wearing spanx. She had a bright, new attitude after loosing 20lbs, putting her at 175lbs, but that quickly went away when her strut turned into a slither. Megan always had some issues with battling depression, but right now those weren’t important. Megan thought to herself that she had to turn that frown into a smile because all of her weight gain and depression was no big deal. What was important was that she, Megan Meier, had the HOTTEST boy as her boyfriend. And it’s okay that he was only on Myspace because his profile picture and smile, said it all.
Soon that will all change. Is it really okay when he bullies her? When he treats her like crap? What about when he breaks up with her says things like, “Megan Meier is a fat a**.” After this, Megan can’t hold it in any longer. She wants to scream. She just needs to escape. But there is no place to run. She can’t go outside or her neighbor’s will start laughing at her because of Myspace. She can’t go on her computer to the online world because everybody knows everything about her now. Her blue eyes form big tears. The only way she can get rid of this emotional depression is from crying. She doesn’t know how to release her stress in any other form. People are now going to make fun of her for being over-weight. They would call her “piggy” and “fat a**”, not knowing the danger they are causing to this girl’s soul. Megan Meier committed suicide by hanging herself in her closet on October 17, 2006.

Melinda Sordino, a character in the fictional book Speak, walks down the hallway of her new high school. Blank stares, evil glares and whispering is what she gets. Calling the cops on a high school, end of school party wasn’t the smartest decision she’s ever made. But it was the only thing she could think of doing… after IT. She doesn’t have Megan’s bright smile. Or happiness. Not even if Megan only had it for a split second, Melinda never had it. No, Melinda has sorrow, and pain. She cannot utter any words out because if she does, it might all come crashing down on her. What IT did. Why she called the cops. And she would burst into tears revealing that she wasn’t as strong as she seems. No, she doesn’t have Megan’s attitude towards the world. But inside, Melinda is hurt and fearful. Just like Megan.

When people look in the mirror, they see different things about themselves. For example, when I look in the mirror, I see a tall, chestnut colored hair, blue-eyed girl. I see a brace-face smile and a slouchy posture. I don’t think about what people are going to say about my brace-face smile or my uncombed chestnut hair. Megan and Melinda have different thoughts. Megan suffers from depression, which makes life every day a struggle. Melinda is not at the point of depression yet, but if everyone keeps shunning her, she soon will. Some people are more vulnerable inside than others. They either don’t know HOW to express their raw emotion or hold it in. either way is bad. When people get hurt inside it’s like somebody nailed a nail into a wall. You can take the nails out but the mark will always be there.

The “high school” experience is different for everyone. You could be the most popular girl in school, fail out of all your classes and never make it into college and you could be the happiest person in the world just because you weren’t a loser, fat or ugly. You could be a geek, get straight A’s and never have to worry about college because you’re guaranteed a place at Yale. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Most of the time, with suicidal people, you never know until it’s too late that they were even depressed. If you’re paying attention, you may be able to see changes right before they commit, or attempt to commit, suicide. Their attitude towards life will be different, happier; they will be in an all-around better mood, sometimes. But sometimes that’s not the case. In the case of Megan Meier, she was like a punching bag that took too many blows. Inside, she was wounded, not functioning properly because of her many issues (such as weight, depression, ADD, and other “stupid” choices that she’s made in the past). On the outside, she looked like a chubby, normal 14-year-old girl who was feeling a little down. Little did everyone know, that the “little down” she was feel was really severe, suicidal depression.

A person can be vulnerable in different ways. Megan was vulnerable because she was over-weight and unhappy with herself. If a person hit the right pressure points, they could knock her down. And that’s what “Josh” did. On Myspace, he broke up with her, trashed her (especially her weight), and posted personal bulletins about her. His last message to her was “This world would be a better place without you.” She, obviously, took the comment in all seriousness and killed herself. Melinda was vulnerable because she didn’t speak. People called her names and she couldn’t say or do anything to stop them because if Melinda did speak, she was afraid she was going to have to talk about what happened with IT. What nobody knows about Melinda is that what happened to her could make somebody feel un-important and un-desirable. She feels like she is not wanted and therefore, she is not deserved. Throughout the entire book, Melinda says bad things about herself. She tells herself that she is an idiot and a horrible person and she is boring to be around. IT made her believe that she is not as good as she really is and because of that she doesn’t make an effort to get her life back on track. During the book, every time Melinda decides she’s going to TRY to make an effort, IT always comes back, taking away all the fight she has left in her for the time being. Her life is like a cycle: she gets back up; dusts her self off and then IT knocks her back down.

Melinda and Megan have many things in common: their names start with ‘M’; are 13 year old girls; and they both know what it feels like to have deep pain inside them. The only thing that is different is the way they express their pain. Melinda does it without speaking. Megan did it by taking her own life.





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