All in the smile This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 19, 2012
I’m different. I have black, purple, pink, green, brown, and blonde hair, a different clothing style, and an unusual taste in music. I also have really outdated fireman boots that someone in my family got me for Christmas three years ago. I get bullied and made fun of because I express my individuality. I’m brave enough to be what I want to be, to look the way I want to look. I don’t hide the true me. I don’t want to hide the true me.

I know that we are all human. We judge people, it’s our nature. Human beings can be ruthless, and they really don’t like change. Lots of people don’t like to see something different or weird because they are either jealous of you being so brave or because they know that you are proud of who you are, and they can’t do a single thing about it. But I would rather judge people based on their personality and not their looks. It’s not fair. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I don’t remember who said that, but throughout my life, everyone has told me this.

I remember my first day at my high school. First mod was okay, nothing special. It was like any other day, but in a completely different high school. On the way to second mod, a whole group of football players, all ages and grades, walked up to me and started making fun of me. They were picking on my style of clothing, my fireman boots, and my hair. I didn’t understand why they were making fun of me. I mean, I’m the new kid and I was minding my own business, trying to stay invisible. They were trying to taunt me because they felt I was a “freak of nature” for being the real, true me. Some people don’t like the sight of something new or different, as I said earlier.

No teachers were around of course. No teachers are ever around when I’m being picked on. It’s weird. Well, so, this beautiful student walks straight up to the football players and says, “Don’t pick on her. She is braver than the rest of you because she isn’t afraid to be who she wants to be. She isn’t afraid to go against what society accepts as normal. Every one of you guys have something that you hide, that you pick on other people for. It’s not fair. So you can’t judge her if you are too chicken to come out and be the real you. So just back off. I’m sure you don’t want anyone knowing your secrets. Or do you? I could speak them aloud now, if you continue to pick on her. She, this beautiful girl right here, is being herself. You should all respect that. You should all take notes from her. I sure am. She is an inspiration to me.”

She then turned around, walked up to me, and smiled. Then she ran to class because the late bell rang. I felt amazingly special. Throughout the rest of the day all I could remember was her smile. I was so happy. Her smile was not forced, it was genuine. It was real. She stood up for me, and then smiled. Every day from that day on she would smile at me and I would smile back, knowing that she accepted me.

It took me a while to realize how much that smile meant to me. But when I truly realized the power of that one simple act, I decided to spread it to the rest of the school, community, world even. I knew that if she could brighten my day with a simple act of smiling I could brighten other peoples day by smiling at them. It took a few days to gain courage to smile at a complete stranger but I did it. And half the people I smiled at, became my friends because I showed them (through a smile) that I accept them as they are. That I am a trustworthy, caring, and beautiful person, inside and out.

So, I learned that smiling isn’t worthless. If you smile at someone, even if you don’t know them, it will make their day better. They will feel better knowing that someone took 2 seconds out of their seemingly busy life to show them that you noticed them and accept them. I learned to smile at others, and others smile at me. You should do the same.

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