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Finding My Place
Finding the strength to walk in alone to a new place, foreign in every single way. One face, blending into a sea of people, tucked into the rolling waves of a myriad of strangers, loud words closing in on all sides.
Finding my locker, claustrophobically placed in the middle of the extensive row of beat up yellow doors. The non-existent lock, magically disappearing after only a few brief moments, now clasped in someone else’s hands.
Finding my classes, the schedule plastered to my face as I peruse the numbered signs. Curling myself up, trying to become as minute and unobtrusive as possible while maneuvering through the cacophony, not wanting to touch, feel, or see.
Finding a place to sit at lunch, the blue bag grasped tightly in my fingertips. Scanning the vast area, everyone all hunched together in groups, their backs like stone, unforgiving walls. Impenetrable to the outside, their inharmonious laughter floating up on the breeze. Feeling my stomach twist with dread as I find that one small patch of grass to claim as my own, the lump rising in my throat as I pull out my sandwich.
Finding the right words to say, since they never seem to be right. Nobody wants to agree, to show any signs of weakness. Why would they?
Finding my way back to school the next week, waiting for the bus, my skin crawling in the frozen air. Telling them that yes, I will be all right, everything will turn out fine. Things will be better. Waiting, until the bus finally arrives, and I see the only people I know, laughing and talking, their silhouettes framed in the old glass windows. Waving my hand happily, until I realize the bus is not stopping as it speeds up and away from me.
Finding out there were others with my first name. Walking down the hallways, I hear it called, and my heart races, and I turn wildly, happily. My stomach plummets when I realize that in reality, they weren’t calling out to me.
Finding the first people to talk to, their smiles like life preservers in the ocean I’m sinking in. I grab for them ecstatically, more thankful then I ever dreamed I could be. They ask me if I had plans to sit anywhere at lunch. I think back to the yellowing grass, my stomach churning, and the massive amount of people. I say no.
Finding my way into the group. People reaching out, their grins contagious. I’m stunned, glancing back and forth between them all. Nodding, and even laughing once or twice. It feels strange, having not smiled in such a long time.
Finding my bravery. I introduce myself to the class, like the teacher asked. People look up at me raptly, listening. I feel important. Wanted.
Finding the first day when I was excited to go to school. Getting up in the morning, humming to myself, loving how the notes sound. My stomach not twisting in dread anymore. Not yet happy, but still… it was better.
Finding my way to where I eat, the group of people parting so I could be admitted in, sitting in the center. Joyfulness floating in on me from all sides, and I reach out, soaking it in.
Finding my voice. Realizing that I shouldn’t be pushed around, shouldn’t be put down in anyway. I didn’t deserve it. No one does.
Finding somewhere I could belong, fit into. Somewhere I wouldn’t be constantly worried about being stepped upon, being trampled under the weight of lies, of whispered taunts, of various walls of people preventing me from going forward. Not letting anyone, not even myself, get in my way. Finding my place.