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Anybody But Me

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I’ve never been the most popular girl, or the prettiest or the most outgoing. To tell you the truth, I’m actually pretty insecure most of the time. I’m small and quiet, and not very outgoing with people I don’t know very well. Some of my friends were like me, but most of them were brave and funny and felt pretty sure of themselves. One of these girls, my good friend Hilary*, wasn’t really talking to me much anymore. We had math and gym together, but we didn’t communicate much more than a “hi” outside of those two classes. We’d been tight since 6th grade when we first met, and had a ton of fun at sleepovers and parties and hanging out during the summer. I had even invited her along as my guest to my younger sister’s birthday party at Canobie Lake Park. And we had a blast; more fun than I can remember ever having with anyone before. But now, everything was different. She had other, more popular friends than me and my posse, and didn’t really care about me anymore, as it seemed. So, in an effort to get closer to her, I tried to be more like her – outgoing, energetic, and talkative. But all it did was push us further apart. Desperate not to lose Hilary as a friend altogether, I confided in another friend. “Just be yourself,” she told me, “and if she doesn’t like you for you, then so be it.”
I thought long and hard about those words. She was right; if I couldn’t even be myself around Hilary anymore, then what was the point? So I took her advice, and stopped being obnoxious. I talked to Hilary if she talked to me, cracked funny jokes and comments given a good opportunity, and didn’t push our friendship. This time, she responded positively – laughing at funny comments, and talking to me more. I was thrilled, and we had a lot of fun in gym class.
A few days later, our math teacher announced that we would be doing a project – with a partner. Of course, I immediately thought of Kylie*, my very best friend. But then the lunch bell rang and all thoughts of partners and math projects were pushed to the back of my head.
A few days later, I was outside chatting with Hilary and Jessica*, her best friend. I was listening to Jessica tell a story when Hilary suddenly looked at me and said, “Hey, you know that math thing?”
I nodded. “Wanna be my partner?” she asked. I stood there, shocked and speechless, as a blur of emotions ran through my head. She picked me, out of all her other friends! She could have asked anyone, from any math class, and she chose me. It almost seemed too good to be true, like a book or a movie that always has a happy ending. Except that this was real. I looked up at her, smiled, and said, “Sure.”
She smiled back, and said, “Good.”
As it turns out, we had a blast doing our project together. Hilary came over on a Saturday morning with a bagful of ingredients to make chocolate fudge. That was our assignment – make food from a recipe of our choice, then multiply all the numbers by two, three, and one half. We made the fudge (but it took a while, as I kept flinging batter out of the bowl while mixing), converted the fractions, put everything together on construction paper, and had a great time doing it. Now, our project is still hanging in the back of our math classroom, and every time I look at it, it brings a smile to my face. Now we’re still close, and I know we have that recipe project to thank for it. Hilary taught me so many things about myself, but most important is to never be anybody but me.





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