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Who I Am

By , Mundelien , IL

I never really saw myself as a fighter and someone who could overcome the odds. I also never knew why my mom would tell me I am, that I was someone who could overcome anything and it never let anyone or anyone’s word get the best of me and bring me down but I guess I wasn't the strong fighter that my mom thought I was.

School was never really the easiest thing for me, there was always something that I struggled in. Reading as a kid was impossible to do, I have to take special classes with teachers who taught me how to read properly and know how to pronounce words correctly. When I got into first grade it was how to write, again I had to take special classes that helped me to understand how to do these things correctly. I guess that I had trouble doing all of these things because I was shy to ask for help. I have always been shy and never really felt comfortable with the whole asking for help thing. I would just try to mind my own business and not get into things with others I had very little friendships and not many of them were kept.

As the years went on,  I became a happy responsible student but I would always let my peers comments or words change or affect me.  At one point during middle school, I had earned the name,”Shrek” by kids at school. I was confused by why they would call me this and one day I decided to go up and ask, "Why, have you guys been calling me Shrek. What does it mean and why did I get this name” What they told me changed the way I thought about myself forever. “You’re fat and ugly.  Nobody will like you unless they're ugly like you. That’s why we call you Shrek and I mean look at your hair tips; they're green, so there. It’s why we call you Shrek.” I looked up at them wiped my eyes and walked away. I was never the same again. I never told anyone and anyone ever knew so when they called me Shrek. When some of my friends would hear someone say,”oh Shrek” they would ask why they called me Shrek I would always respond, “It’s my nickname.  We all have nicknames for each other.” I began going on constant  hunger strikes not eating for a couple of days. I eventually cut off my green hair tips because they embarrassed me even though I loved them.  I would try so hard to change myself that it never worked and only made me hurt myself more.  I often found myself harming myself. Once or Twice physically but mostly mentally. I would look into the mirror and insult myself, calling myself ugly, fat, and useless, later, The good for nothing. I was truly never really the same. I often would find myself cracking fat or ugly jokes about myself. I also found out who my real friends were if they laughed at me I knew they weren't my friends but If they would say,” Stop that is not funny.” I knew that they were true. This one name changed me and affected me so much, It became a tattoo in my brain that I was never truly able to move on. And it haunted me for the rest of the years.Painful long later, I was able to understand that I had to move past all of this because I couldn't think about myself like this forever. A year had passed and we slowly very slowly. The pain began to go We had an acceptance day at school, after many situations where there was disrespect, fights are rude comments made to teachers and students our whole school had to  learn how to accept people and show kindness to them. We were told to outline ourselves on a piece of paper cut it out and hang it on the wall . Then in front of everyone we were to insult the “person” then tore off a piece of the person. This represented by every insult that we sat  we  are tearing that  person apart piece by piece . Then they go to me I got up in front of everyone and said,”People called me Shrek.” Then when I turned around after ripping the piece off I saw the people who called me those names look down at the floor and they looked like they felt bad. But what really made changed how I thought about myself  was at the end when they said,”Now take all of the pieces you just ripped off and put them back together like a puzzle with a complement,” when we were through they told us,”You see this person, What is one the thing you notice after we tore it up and put it back together .” A boy raised his hand and said that,” It doesn't look the same as it did before we tore it apart.”  The teacher responded,” exactly because when we hurt someone and insult them make them feel less than what they really are they can heal but they will never heal correctly. So if you have ever hurt someone get up and say you're sorry or compliment when you see them in the halls.”

This one actively finally made me understand I can feel like the worst of the worst but I can't go around feeling bad about myself. If I wanted to change who I was then I should change and work to become better. After that I got to english class and I wrote a poem. I had learned to channel this negative situation and make something great. After that I stopped holding myself back so much and began to change I joined volleyball and I did track,s omething the old me would never do.  Now  I can accept and take ownership of the name  “Shrek” and anymore names that life wants to throw at me because I will not be the one to hold myself back from doing what I like and being who I am.






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