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Blue Ribbon

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School. School. My experiences at school… work. Early hours. Learning. Friends. Boredom. Rules. Teachers. Torture. Bullies. Misfits. Fitting in. Peer pressure. Popularity.

School for me is never the same, never a constant thing, every day is different. How I feel each day is never the same. Fear. Fear is generally there…

HAHAHA LOOK AT HER! IS IT A WHALE? NO, IT’S NOT A WHALE IT’S JUST A BIG.FAT.UGLY.FREAK!

Words. They are always throwing words at me. Words that weren’t SUPPOSED to get to me. I was supposed to smile and walk past, brush it off as if they were little bugs and I was the repellent. That’s what the teachers said anyway… the teachers, my parents, everyone who I had ever told about them. It never worked.

My eyes watered, but I refused to give them the satisfaction of my tears. I fell to the ground, pushed around and kicked until my vision started to fade. They were after me. Again. What have I done to them? They laughed. Teased. Poked and prodded at my insecurities, at eight, I had many self-doubts. Huddled on the ground, my legs tucked up and arms around them, as if that could stop the pain. I begged them to stop. I could feel the trickle of blood running down my back where someone had pegged a rock at me…my breath was coming quick and short from the pain in my chest where they kicked my unprotected abdomen. My avalanche of tears broke from their hold. I welcomed the dark abyss of unconsciousness.

New school. New people. A fresh start. I tried this time, I did my best; a pretty blue ribbon in my hair, nice neat uniform, shiny shoes and a smile I had spent countless hours in front of the mirror perfecting. THIS time I would fit in. THIS time things would be different.

I was going to make friends. I had to make friends. I have to fit in! Just this once.

My mum smiled as she hugged me goodbye “Good luck sweetheart” I needed it. Walking into my classroom I looked around, there were groups everywhere everyone had chosen the people they want to be around and in most cases, had been together for a while...Gossiping. Laughing. Everyone clearly fitted in exactly where they were. I was the leftover.

Making friends can wait until tomorrow… I thought as I made my way to a lonely table down the back of the class, intimidated by these perfect, happy beings…it was like I had stepped onto another planet! I slid down in my chair.

A tall girl stepped out of her group and walked over, no, she didn’t walk…she glided, practically floating! She had hair so blonde it was almost white and really pale skin, like a ghost! And she was coming over to ME! I couldn’t delude myself with thoughts like this, she probably just wanted something from the shelves behind my desk. No, wait! She sat on the desk next to mine! I just about feinted with delight.

BLONDIE: HI! Im Krystal. Who are you?
ME: Oh no! Where did my words go!? SPEAK KAYLENE! ANYTHING! All logical thoughts had left my head when she spoke to me… people like her never speak to me! “Hi, um I’m Kaylene”. YES! We have voice!
KRYSTAL: You’re new aren’t you?
ME: Yeah…
KRYSTAL: Well, I’ve been here since first grade. You should come and sit with me
I couldn’t believe it! She was smart, funny and incredibly nice and she wanted be friends with a misfit new kid like me! It proved to be an amazing friendship and we were inseparable by the second week of school. I was in shock.
But then I moved… again. Nothing special about this school… at first.

Books. Study. Relationships. Friendships. Bullies. Fights. Sport. Academics. Grades. Seventh grade. School captain speeches. Didn’t get in. Voted as Sports Captain.

I was dedicated to my studies. Who needs friends when you have good grades and a good future ahead of you? I was the highest achieving student in seventh grade and again in eighth grade. I was the class ‘genius’ (I had the nickname to prove it…) was respected by teachers and the little kids loved me (my only friends). Ninth grade came and with it, my downfall… grades started slipping, fights erupted with me as the target. I didn’t go looking for fights they just sort of found me…

10th grade…

School captain speeches…for some reason unknown to me I won…
Kaylene vs. Darcy (my best friend)
Darcy was popular, fun, cute, outgoing, energetic, sporty, musical and everything that everyone loved…yet I won…I was ecstatic!
That is, until I saw my bestie crying. A bittersweet victory.
My popularity increased…suddenly people actually wanted to be my friend… wanted to get to know me…. people were running up to me and saying “I voted for you!” I knew who everyone was… but I never thought anyone knew who I was.
Depression. I slipped into a dark, scary place full of bad thoughts and even worse actions… I wanted nothing to do with the world… ESPECIALLY the people in it. I was content to sit alone with my unpredictable moods and ever-faithful shadow for company. If someone came up to me… spoke to me… I put on that fake smile. Sometimes. Other times my sharp tongue came out to play. These days were the worst. I wouldn’t yell, I rarely yell, I just said whatever was on my mind; soon enough, not even the teachers came near me.
Graduation from 10th grade. Big celebration. Gorgeous dress worth $300 (i shop when I’m nervous). Pressure. Pressure over the past year to get straight A’s and receive Dux of the school. Two years ago i would have put the effort in. Two years ago I was the class nerd. But now? Well, I passed every subject, let’s leave it at that. I didn’t get Dux (big shock…not.)
I have faltered, I have stumbled
I have found my feet again
I’ve been angry and I’ve been shaken
Found a new place to begin. (Delta Goodrem, In This Life lyrics)

Yet another new school… Same blue ribbon in my hair, but for once, a real smile. I’m not sure about this one, 11th grade, a scary year. A scary school (full of scary people) but it’s my fresh start, my new beginning. Fingers crossed I can finally do something right.

First day… oh my gosh what have I gotten myself into!? I walk up to a group of strangers,

"HI! I’m Kaylene"




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