Understanding Myself

February 15, 2012
By , Centennial, CO
When I was only eight years old, I met this strange little girl: She was mulatto, she had deep brown hair with a reddish tint, dark brown eyes, furry eyebrows that looked like Chewbacca threw up on her face, a large peculiar nose, and a lean body that made her look anorexic. None of this bothered me except for the fact that I thought she looked like a gorilla. When I turned around, I caught her licking the church window. This really irritated me; for goodness sake… who licks a window? Where I was from, this was very uncommon, especially among the other children in my age group. I didn’t know whether she was insane, or just bizarre.

“Hey,” she said with a small, timid voice, “my name is Ellen. What’s your name?” I barely heard her and gave a glare that seemed as if she was nothing in the entire world.

“You’re weird!” I commented, “Why were you licking the window?!”

“I was not licking the window!!!!!” she yelled “I was breathing on it!”

“That is still gross!!!”


Three and a half years had gone by since I met Ellen: We were best friends. We did everything together: We shopped, we played, we partied. I loved her sooo much… I had always wanted a sister. Years had gone by and I had finally found my “best friend forever.” For the first time, I got to go inside of her house: It was dark, mold was running down the sides of their drywall, maggots were inside of the refrigerator and dishwasher, cat feces surrounded the floor as if the cats didn’t own a litter box, and there were so many toys that the house almost seemed like a maze in a fun house. The only difference was that their house wasn’t a fun house.

I didn’t know what to think of Ellen’s family but this: They were hoarders. They were constantly living their lives in agony, and they had addictions. I wanted to help Ellen and her siblings, Emily, Ellis, Emma, and Ean. My family was always trying to provide food and money for her family since her dad lost his job.

A month later, Social Services picked up all of the children and took them away from Ellen’s parents. I had been at school that day; I had had a great day until I saw an expression on my mom’s face that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

“Honey, Ellen and her siblings have been taken away by Social Services.” mom quietly whimpered. She seemed quite upset and devastated.

“What?!” I yelled. I started to melt inside… not understanding what had happened.

“I’m sorry honey.”

I took it day by day, not being with my B.F.F. It had been days, weeks, months, and then the unthinkable happened to me. I got what I had always wanted since I was three years old: I got a sister.

My entire life changed. Study. Study. Study. My mom started getting more strict when it came to education. As a kid, I always loved going to school; as soon as I was being pressured, I started to break down inside. Sure, my mom was trying to use me as an example for Ellen, but come on, I had a life… Ellen did too.

I was always getting in trouble, whether it was fighting with my brother, slacking off from doing my work, or acting like a so-called “brat.” It never stopped. My parents would beg me. I would say I was sorry. I would move on. It. Never. Changed. All of a sudden, Ellen started getting in trouble, and I started getting better with avoiding sibling rivalry. This was not the end of trouble, it was just the beginning.

By the time I was in the eighth grade, I started to change. The changes were this: I became more compassionate, I started loving others, I became more open-minded, and I became more principled. All of this stuck to me like freshly-dried super glue. As for Ellen, things started to get obnoxious. She got into the worst habits ever! The worst habit of all was when she plucked off her eyebrows and eyelashes.

I remember the first time I saw her face after she had picked at it: All of her long, beautiful eyelashes were gone, she was missing her dark brown, bushy eyebrows, and she looked like her face was drained of its light brown color. I honestly had no idea what to think. It. Got. Worse. She started picking at her forehead, her nose, her chin, the back of her neck… who knows where else she could’ve picked?! I didn’t understand why she did these things; I asked her, and even she didn’t know. She started to isolate herself from the rest of the world, and me? I started to isolate myself from the world, too.

I thought I had depression. Everything was happening so fast. I felt like I was stuck in a hole and I couldn’t get out; I worried about Ellen, I worried about myself, I worried about everything. I tried to hide inside, passing my friends in the hallways at school. I started to notice things: Ellen was picking, she was stressed, she was always dull and upset, she was always in trouble, and she never talked to me. This just made me become more stressed and upset myself.

It came to a point where I couldn’t hold back anymore. I was human bomb, ticking and waiting for the right time to explode. Did I have depression? Did Ellen have depression? I wasn’t sure… but as soon as health class ended, I burst like a firecracker on the Fourth of July. I was scared, naive, and better yet, confused.

Months went by as I finished up my extraordinary eighth grade year, minus all of the incidents and struggles I encountered. Ellen started therapy. By now, I really didn’t know whether she was insane, or just bizarre.

My life became a living hell. I dragged myself out of bed everyday, awaiting the ton of homework I would get each day. Some nights it was 5 hours, some 7, and most of the time, it was 9. I spent most of my nights doing homework until 1 o’clock in the morning. My teachers never knew how much stress my tiny, imperfect body could support. I was carrying a burden, and my burden was this; School, time management, depression, loneliness. I felt like my life was like a car going down the highway at 70 miles per hour without control of the steering wheel. I. Felt. Alone.

Most people would think that a sweet Christian girl wouldn’t feel this way. I questioned myself: Why did God put me on this earth? I felt like my soul had already died. Most of the time, I blamed it on Ellen… I had low self esteem. No one at school noticed, and I tried to act like the happiest girl in the world.

It’s been two years since all of this has happened. I worked out almost all of my problems, I got counseling, and I have learned that I was put on this earth by God to spread the gospel and do what God has called me to do. This unbelievable journey has not just made me learn that I have a purpose, but that I can be who I want to be. My spiritual journey has shown me the path I must take. Now, I am living my life how I think I’m supposed to live it.

Once again, I am that innocent little girl who doesn’t care what other people think.

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