Overdue Thanks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     This is for all of you who said I was nothing, and would never be anything. This is for all those who whispered behind hands; who gave me sideway glances in the hall; all those whose giggles followed my footsteps. This goes out to the ones who hated me for reasons they forgot over time; loathed me for petty comments; tormented me with past mistakes. This goes out to everyone who wouldn’t get to know me because of their own ignorance.

I was never like the rest of you. I had my own style and way of speaking. You saw it as ugliness, I saw it as a different form of beauty. Despite my positive attitude, you still managed to laugh in my face, push me onto the ground, and grin in arrogance as I sewed my tattered soul back together. It made you feel bigger when you pushed me down, didn’t it? Well, every time I got back up, I grew taller than you.

Perhaps it was my art that drove you to try to crush my spirit. The pictures of intense beauty, of places that would be better than here. Did they make you envious? Is that why you snatched them, ripped them and tossed them to the muddy ground, along with any dignity that you once had? I picked them up with a smile. You thought I was crazy, but I wasn’t. I just knew what you would become.

Or maybe it was my talent in writing that drove you to choose me. Stories of what could be; what should be; stories of hope and light. Stories of things you said could never be for someone like me. You tore my papers to shreds but my strength always surpassed yours and I stayed whole throughout.

Now that I’m 16, I look back on the events that shaped me and smile. Without any of you, I would never have reached my potential. If not for you, I would be just another person trying to get ahead. Thanks to you, I have the strength of character I need to join the most feared fighting force in the world: the United States Marine Corps.

They’ll tear me down but, just as before, I’ll grow stronger and wiser than when I fell. You gave me that ability. Was it always your intention to aid me or was it just a coincidence? Either way, I thank you.

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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