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Shield of Protection This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Secure in my bubble of friends, nothing could harm me. The presence of those I can confide in has always been a protective shield to my self-esteem. Seated in the dirt patch, hidden behind the janitors’ workspace, I glanced towards the dehydrated concrete in the center of the field. Scanning the bodies of the helpless students, I could easily spot the figure in the red t-shirt that was humbly stepping toward us.

“Don’t let him see us!” I giggled. Our friendship was glued together by a common enemy.

“Hi, guys!” we heard him squeal, as he plopped down beside us, oblivious to the cold energy we displayed. I can never understand how he was so attracted to us, despite our cruel, haughty reactions. I, having friends who would love me no matter what, felt ownership of a certain kind of power- the power to pick and choose who is considered cool and who is not. It was the scepter that dubbed a friendless soul to be considered some kind of creature that we could laugh at for personal enjoyment. Anyways, it would be embarrassing for a sixth grader to be friends with a fifth grader.


Eager, and in search for friends, I started my middle school years alone. I had no protective shield, and while searching for a group similar to the friends I had before, I became even more vulnerable. I, myself, became a target for cliques’ entertainment. I’d watch them walk by, with their straightened hair gliding behind them, with so much ease and lack of effort. They always dressed up, and wore so much makeup to hide their inner ugliness. They’re strides were so perfect, it was as though they were emitting rays of confidence. Why couldn’t I be like that?

They’re insults would ring through my ears, and it would be so loud I couldn’t help but to breathe it in, accept it, and engrave their hurtful words in the back of my mind to save for later. Racing through the mobs and cliques, I shuffled back inside the cafeteria to retrieve my forgotten binder.

“Nobody likes you.” I glanced up at the plump, popular, red-haired, freckled girl who had spoken to me.

“I like me.” I collected my inner strength, and walked away.

Experiencing both ends of extremes of past situations have allowed me to realize that, no we are not all the same- we don’t think the same way, or care about people on an equal level- but, yes, we do all have feelings that can be crushed. Everybody needs their own shield of protection, but that doesn’t give you license to mistreat somebody else, when they don’t have their own set of people to care about them.




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