October 13, 2010
By , South Whitley, IN
“I wish I had stayed home.” As, the walls seemed to grow taller, I noticed the stares coming form all directions. Seeing me in my long jean skirt, collared shirt, and long hair, had caught their attention. I was different. We had come together as sixth graders, into our adventures in Middle School. Hurried and scared about classes I got to my locker, and twisted the round combination dial. Feeling their judgmental eyes upon my back, I tried to get my locker open again. “Finally” I whispered as my locker creaked to open position. Grabbing my books from the bottom shelf and my Beanie Baby of the week from the front pocket of my bag, I put placed it gently on the top shelf. There was at least one person I knew in this school of anonymous faces. With cheeks burning and eyes fogged, I kept my head low and moved through the crowd like a rock in a stream path heading to homeroom. Middle School is going to be a very different tree of life to live in.

Who’s ever voice I could hear was uttering out hurtful and depressing words. Why did they have to gossip about me. I’m nobody important. Besides, they had just met me. This middle school combines two elementary schools. Why did I get set on the sideline and watch the others enjoy their life. “I heard she was Amish, I wonder if she can even date?” Really. What could they be talking about had they not ever seen an Amish child? I was not Amish. I was dressed appropriately, wasn’t I? I would think my private school dress code is not that different from theirs. Apparently, I was wrong. As I’m looking around I see cleavage and look how short that skirt is. Angered by their words and guts to mock me, I was determined to change my style to meet their worldly standards.

I had moved into the area the summer before my sixth grade year. During the move, I had pictured a great first day and come home with a lot of new friends. Mistaken, was the only word to describe it. I had come from a private Christian school. Wearing nice clothes that respected your body was required. Seeing someone’s cleavage was quite a shocker. I learned how to be myself and abide by all the Christian rules. Disciplined and obedient is what I had obtained from going there. Coming straight into a public school was way different than anything I had experienced in a friendly Christian environment. The world is a harsh place to live. Judging has found me at every corner and default of my life, leaving me no where to run. Eventually, it is hard to say no to the world’s opinions when you want to fit in, and what if you don’t have what it takes?

Middle School was the worst years of my life. ‘Fitting in’ is not the place you want to be stuck in. Yes, there where friends, but do friends make comments about how different you are behind your back, I didn’t think so. Trying, aching, and yearning for my pain to leave me, I looked in corners that were not censored well for help. My wrists started embracing scarlet cross hatches as time went on. I had never had enough courage to cut extremely deep or along the main vain, but enough to learn to feel. Is that what my friends felt? Pain? Out of place? Really this isn’t what I wanted. As I begun to feel more, it eventually started to not be enough. There was always something new to understand.
Then, there was my next wrong turn on learning how to live my life, by myself. Being bulimic, this had to be the answer. As the liquidized colors of my meals forced their way against gravity up my burning throat, I rested on my heels in front of the disgusting, used, and yellowing, toilet bowl. Even as I learned what problems could come, I never truly understood. They still weren’t my friends. Trying to fit in had just drug me deeper into my sorrows. Why couldn’t any one except me for who I am? Why can’t I be loved? I was suicidal. The pain had come like a murderess in the night, never to leave until the job was done and I was dead. I would die inside myself, before I would ever truly die. There was no way I could live with the lies, looks, and imbalance. I was writing my letter. This was it. Rolling down the sides of my cheeks like slithering snakes, the tears showed my pain for the first time in a new harmless way. My poor family would see me as a failure. I can’t even think of how my mom will feel. How could I but this silver thick barrel to my temple and feel my pulse, just so I could take it away. I realized it, then. I need to be my self. No one needs to define me nor will I ever let them again. It’s easier to say and figure out what I need to do for myself rather than compete in this world, where people have to have something to define them.

Yes, to this day I have never fully recovered from my illness. I still have my doubts. Doesn’t everyone? I have gotten through my tough days and my good days, and I know others can to. I still wonder what would have happened if my shaking hand had pulled the sliver of a trigger while sitting on my bed that day. Would my sister have found me first it the room we shared. How would her life have turned out? Remembering the day her big sister left her, and how she would have to fend for herself, with no role model (or at least not a good one).
Through all of this I have taken one as a friend. Reminded constantly of the friends she had made, I’m glad she has come to know me. As I pulled her from her critical relationships, we became close friends. We had bonded together to form a force against the world’s sorrowful glances. We leaned on each other, and we will never leave each other without a helping hand. She is my closest, dearest, and best friend. She has helped me to figure out my answer to: “Who are you, Tiffany?”

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