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Shine Your Light This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Life is not easy for anyone. People struggle, trying to get from day to day without too much heartache. What makes me different from others? I am overweight. I am the biggest person in my high school class of sixty kids. I have struggled my whole life to fit in and be accepted by my peers.

Ever since I can remember I have been conscious of my weight. The first time I was ridiculed was the first day of kindergarten since I was already overweight. My feelings were spared by no one. To all of my classmates, I was a freak. I was so young that I’m not sure I knew what was happening. Looking back now on how I was treated, I am filled with sadness at the thought that little children can be so cruel.

I remember having crushes on boys in elementary school and when they found out, they would be embarrassed. No one wanted the “fat girl” to like them. I was excluded even by those I called my friends. I was never considered “cool” or invited to my friends’ parties because they were embarrassed to have me around their other friends. People still thought I needed to be reminded daily that I was different, that I was fat.

As the years progressed, my classmates matured and learned what is socially correct. Some have stopped openly making fun of me, but I am still treated differently by many. Some friends still exclude me when they are around boys. I have never had a boyfriend, even though I have been told I have a great personality and a pretty face. I receive little attention from male classmates, most will not even treat me as a friend.

I can never understand why people are so put off by me. I am not ugly. I have exceptional hygiene. I wear makeup and have a good sense of fashion. I’ve tried a hundred times as hard as the next girl to be accepted.

Recently I have stopped caring whether I am liked by the “in crowd.” Who are those people anyway? They are the ones who go out every weekend drinking and making bad decisions. I want to be better. I am better. I don’t need others to tell me who I am.

I want to be liked and loved for who I am and who I am inside. I have so much to give, and I am tired of trying to give it away for free to people who don’t want it. I know now that I deserve something in return. Why should I humble myself to those who don’t deserve me on my worst days? I shouldn’t, and I won’t. Not anymore and never again.

Differences should be celebrated, not opposed. Why do we want everyone to be the same? How boring and dull the world would be! We should never let others bring us down. Our light is placed on this earth to shine, and I am ready to shine. I can only hope everyone else is ready too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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FrePac said...
May 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm
I know how you feel... I felt the same way in high school.  It's like you have a mark on your forehead that all the cool kids can see that tells them you're not part of the tribe, but you can see it yourself.  A couple close friends are better than many fake friends.
Deliah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 6, 2012 at 11:50 am
Susie, you have a lot to say. I'm so glad you posted this piece. Even though I am not overweight, I have struggled in many of the same ways you have described here. People, kids especially, can be cruel when they sense that somebody is different from them. Just continue doing what you're doing and taking care of yourself. As Lady Gaga said, you are "beautiful in (your) own way, cause God makes no mistakes." Keep on writing, I would love to see what else you have written:)
Harsh Patel said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:33 am
Hi, I am harsh. I know you are suffering from overwieght. In my life I also  have problem to very thin. but you don,t worry You will be ok. I also suffer like you but I work hard. When I came to united states I suffer like you there was no one help me in my school but I take help of my teachers and I got succes. Good luck to you dear.
Jaun.C said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:32 am
I am in 9th grade in high school in ELK GROVE HIGH SCHOOL.What a great article I like it it nice.I like this article because is a true story about your life.It also a nice story to tell about.I'm glad that you have accepted who you are and are who you are to celebrate your differences.I understand how life is it and how hard time you having in school with your classmates.GOOD LUCK
Patel D. said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:31 am
What a great article! I love it. I like this article because is true story. Its so interesting. You don't care about other people said. You believe yourself. I'm glad to found someone that being harm all her life. And don't worry, that so many people who are same as like you. We have only SHINE OR LIGHT  
gabriella said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:29 am
hi, I  am Gaby. I tell I have one friend, good friend with the same problem. She is very pretty and very intelligence, but the students in high school exclude for that. This girl no have friends but I realize together and together a very important lesson. you need be yourself because id you be you can help other people with have the same problem. I am sure you are pretty and good person. Not apparent are important you're really just. Person who exclude you and say is your friends, they are ... (more »)
uttsav patel said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:28 am
Hey i am uttsav patel. I know you are sufering from your overweight but man don't worry. I am almost with you but here so many people are come in our life and destroy our life so we have to do hard work for our life and so our goodness to people. One time I also sufer like you. when I come in United State school i don't no how to speak english so people make fun on me but i try to spek and now I know how to speak english. I work very hard for this and I get succes.
patelkeya said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:25 am
It's my pleasure to have in high school. I like elk grove high school. when i was new in this school i was standout. but our indain people help me lot and than i was fitting in. but my first day in united state was to hard. my whole culture was change. but i enter a nice country. as a day pass in U.S i started to fitting in. i wish my whole life go with nice pleasure. have twinkle life.
Mrs. Pokorny said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:01 am
I am a high school teacher.  From my own experience and from watching young people grow, I know high school is a difficult time.  Students try hard to fit in and find their place.  I am glad that you have accepted who you are and are able to celebrate your differences.  I just wish more students could.  As an adult, you will learn to love yourself for who you are even more, but there will still be negative people in the world.  Good luck!
earthmuffin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm
This is an awesome piece! Im very glad that you have realized that you are beautiful the way you are and that you made the statement about differences being celebrated. CELEBRATE DIVERSITY!
karolekkk said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm
I like this article because is realistic. It's interesting and true.
jjww said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm
Iagree you. u dont have to care about the other people said. Just be yourself. The others will see your light.
Jacksprak said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 11:16 am
You go girl! I think that if the "cool" people could see deeper than your outward apperance, They woulda excepted you from the start. I think, from what you've written, that even if you were the uglyiest person, which by description you sertainly AREN'T, you would still have a golden light shine from inside of you. you are diferent, And I Think that is awsome. I really love this article becase it's more than just skin-deep, you have a diferance and you're going to s... (more »)
The~crayon~in~my~heart said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm
sooooooo true! and dont worry, the day will comee when a boy is way smarter that the rest, and can see your light
doverdrama said...
Jul. 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm
i love love love love this!! i can totally relate!i have only had 1 boyfriend, but I feel like people don't see me as equal. i'm glad that now i have real frineds, who don't care about what i look like. i hope you can find friendship and love too.
aambeeer! said...
May 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm
I think it was good, and i can totally relate. (:
Dead-eyed-Author said...
Apr. 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm
This sounds more like a long anecdote, but its still very good. I respect you for speaking out as I am in a slightly similiar position
Lilith said...
Jan. 1, 2009 at 7:47 am
I really like it! I'm glad to found someone that despite being bullied all her life, has the pride to say aloud how much she loves to be how she is!
And don't worry, you're not alone.
There are many people who are suffering the same way as you. But, as you say, we've only to SHINE OUR LIGHT!!
Back2TheSchool said...
Dec. 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm
What a great article! I love it. It reminds me of one of the girls at my school who is very overweight. Everyone just knows her as "the fat girl", and countless jokes involving whales and cows have been thrown in her face. Yet, she doesn't handle it like you. Instead, she is mean and bitter and rude, and swears all the time. I think it is awesome that you recognize beauty is on the inside. Girl Power Forever!
striker0305 said...
Aug. 25, 2008 at 10:43 pm
I think this article is correct in most ways, as I can picture something like this happening at my school. However, one point that suprises me, as you say in the article you are tired of being made fun of, and you make your point across that you just don't care anymore about being judged but on one of the sentences you actually judge the 'in' crowd. You told us or as i infered that you do not hang out with them, well what makes you think that they are making all these wrong descisons, just becau... (more »)
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