When you change to a new school, the troubles are already great. Especially in the sixth grade, going in to a school where everyone has known each other for 7 years. It also did not help that I was unenthusiastic about my knew school. My family had a great share of money stolen and I had to change to a less expensive school, leaving all of my friends. This was not the best way to enter a knew school, knowing because of your family's issues, not your intellect or own fault, you had to start over in a lesser school. I walked in the first day and realized quickly that the people there were human too. The golden light of the 93 degree day, without air conditioning, reflected off of the shimmering pre pubescent faces. Everyone was like me, but some how, I did not feel included. I was a dancer, and most of my time was dedicated to that, I did not have time to hang out with my friends after school, which lead to a huge wedge between my peers and I. I cried to be home schooled every day, even though that would have been worse in retrospect. It also did not help that I missed countless days of school for rehearsal and because i was sick a lot of the time. In the moment, I thought everyone got sick the way I did. If I did not go to school covering my neck and ears, I got a cold. If anyone in my family was sick, I was too. And I lived with that, thinking this was normal. Then, January 2015. I could not get out of bed, from utter exhaustion. I spent hours in the bathroom from incredible constipation.
I went to school and ballet, less and less frequently, until I was gone. A ghost. No one knew what happened to me, no one told them. No one knew I was sick. I did not even know what I was sick with. My mom quit her job, to take me to doctors. In 2015 we spent over ten thousand dollars on medical expenses. A new doctor each week. No one knew what I had. I was a mystery, a ghost, a thought that had been forgotten. There were rumors I was homeschooling or I had dropped out. There were rumors I moved without telling anyone. And probably more cruel rumors that never circled to me. "I never liked her anyways" "Who is Grace?". In March of 2015, we found what I had. SIBO. Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. This meant there was bacteria eating my food, making me malnurished and putting a strain on my body. I had to be on medication for 9 months. I still believe I was not myself again until my 13th birthday in October. I had to eat only strawberries and chicken for 6 weeks, with the occasional burger. Crying myself to sleep every single night. After those six weeks were over I started going to half days in school. When I came back I expected a huge hug from everyone, or a celebration. Instead one girl yelled "Grace you're back!!!" and I was stared at for 10 seconds until everyone went back to their business. At ballet I got hugs at least. For the rest of 6th and 7th grade, I felt disconnected from my school. No one understood me for who I was. At ballet my situation improved greatly, but I had to make all knew friends since I repeated a level. Besides socially, my lifestyle was changed tremendously, I could never again eat gluten, dairy, and a whole heap of other random foods like banana or vanilla. I could never go out to ice cream with my friends, or go on any from of trip without an insane amount of complications. However, in the end the most important thing I learned was to be happy.
After being sick and unaccepted and confused, I realized that there is so much in the world to be happy for. In the moment I did not understand why it was happening to me. In reality, bad things happen, everyone is fighting a battle you do not know about. The best way to be is kind. No matter who it is to, because I know that the most valuable thing I needed in that time was someone, anyone, to be a friend. And in life the most valuable thing you could be to someone is that friend.