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Resilience

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My hands clutched tightly to the strap of my backpack swung over my right shoulder as I trudged to school, each step heavier than the other. I noticed my spine stiffen and then bend as I walked passed the gate of my school. The tears collecting behind my eyes, threatened menacingly to burst any moment and flow uncontrollably down my cheeks: I bit my lip and forced them back.

I walked into the classroom, feeling stares and jeers from all sides; I felt suffocated, intoxicated and a small gasp left my throat. “Cunning, little witch” – “Gross”- “Eww” I ignored the comments and unpacked my bag, took out my notebook and kept my hands busy. I stared into the page of my notebook and left meaningless scribbles across the page with my pen: I pressed the pen too deeply onto the page, leaving a hole right through. I grunted in annoyance. “I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry” I told myself in my head repeatedly “I have to be strong, I have to be strong.”

The prefect came into class and told us to assemble for assembly. In the assembly hall, I sat down in my class’s row and began to read my book: of course, it didn’t bother me that no one sat next to me, it also didn’t bother me that the teachers looked at me with that look in their eyes; that unbearable look of pity. I refused to be pitied upon: why should anyone pity me? I was the most fortunate girl in the world. Who did they think they were to pity me?

It was going to be a long day; I knew it. It was going to be a long year; I could feel it. I walked into the classroom and sat next to my seating partner, who leaned a little to the right side as I sat next to her left. I heard whispers: loud whispers, harsh and biting cold as if though a bucket of cold water had been poured cruelly over my naked, defenseless body. I felt my skin prickle, I felt a little faint and I wanted to lie down so bad.

I sat alone in the canteen, eating a sandwich which tasted extremely bland as the stares began to infuse in the background and my heart suddenly felt heavy and I abruptly felt inclined to scream. I wanted to just run away to a forest, to a meadow as long as it was far away from here, as long as it was far away from the place that I felt most unsafe, most insecure and scream until my lungs burst, scream….scream…scream…I WANTED TO SCREAM! I WANTED TO SCREAM! I began to have suicidal thoughts as the days passed by and I felt a mental breakdown coming on however, a mental breakdown meant admitting defeat to my enemies but I refused to admit defeat. I refused to have anyone seeing that I was truly and sincerely affected by their grating mockery and despise.

I went home and my Mother shouted at me for no reason; I could not have felt more alone in my life. I wanted to confide in someone but there was no one I could talk to, no one whom I could trust. Gossip involving me became more rampant in the following week among my classmates, among the teachers and I tried ignoring them. I had to ignore them and stay strong but somehow, it felt that everyone was turning against me. Everyone whom I used to trust, everyone whom I used to regard or mark as a friend: they were all turning against me and staying resilient was now becoming more difficult and challenging than ever. No one knew that all I needed at that moment in my life was just a cuddle and words of reassurance that everything was going to be alright. No one came to give me a hug and I felt that desire for acceptance: I knew I was changing slowly in order to fit in with my classmates and it struck me that the only person I could rely on to be myself, was myself and my indestructible resilience as well as that fervent belief in myself that I was able to get through the remaining year, not feeling burdened or traumatized by my classmates but feeling proud that I was able to stay tough when challenges came my way for the saying “Sticks and bones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is indeed never true. The words did hurt me but a shield of resilience protected me.





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