Some of us only hear what we want to hear, but sometimes, we have to hear what we don’t want to hear. The alarm rang so loudly in my ears as I walked out the hall in a single file line with my classmates. It was another fire drill at my elementary school, but for me, I would end up hating this fire drill, and I can still remember what happened to this day. It was cold and windy outside but I somehow managed to tread through the soggy mud and lineup in alphabetical order. We were standing next to the 5th grades since they had music class right across from our 2nd grade math class. I ended up right next to two tall, blonde-haired girls who were staring at me and thoughts were dashing through my brains. Did I have something on my face? Were my glasses crooked? Did I do something I wasn’t supposed to? But of course, the girl’s eyes went straight to my hand. They weren’t staring at my face, they were staring at my fingers.
Why? Oh, because of my extra finger. I had 6 fingers on my right hand. The extra finger was sticking out of the side of my thumb. It was half the size of my pinky finger, and it had a tiny nail. It was so small I couldn’t move it by itself like I could do with my other fingers. The girls, as usual, couldn’t stop laughing at it, and at the time I was used to seeing people laugh and talk about it. Although I knew people had harsh reactions towards my extra finger, the fire drill was actually the first I was hearing what people were saying about it. I could hear the girls whispering about it, and that’s what made this fire drill such a painful moment.
“Hey, look at her hand, it’s so weird,” whispered the first girl, who was seemingly taller than the flagpole in front of our school.
“Oh my god, it’s so ugly,” the other girl replied back.
It felt as if somebody just came and ripped off my hands after hearing what they said about me. I held back my tears, which felt almost impossible, as my throat was throbbing with every gulp of air I took. After what seemed to be forever, we were called back into the school and I could not focus on anything in school because the words kept replaying in my head. What did I ever do to them? I started asking myself as I was sitting on the corner seat of my bus on my way back home, the only place I felt safe enough to be myself. Time played its tricks because it seemed like after a quick nanosecond of thinking, the bus flung its doors open on my stop as I walked down the bus aisle to get off.
After I walked down the bus steps, my mom was waiting by the sidewalk with a big smile like she did every afternoon, and I gave the biggest smile I could manage. And we slowly walked back home and at the time, it seemed like talking to her was all that mattered at the moment.
After we reached home, I kicked off my shoes and put my jacket on the wooden side counter top and grabbed some food; I almost forgot about the fire drill event but it was impossible to forget something so hurtful. My mom had seen me sulking and she automatically knew that I was disconsolate about something, so we sat down by the bedside of my bedroom, and we started communicating about what happened.
“Why do you look so sad?” my mom questioned. She was always straightforward when it came to my feelings.
I then told her about the fire drill incident and tears started flooding my eyes; I never realized how much I needed to talk about miserable feelings until I talked with my mom.
“There will be people in the world who don’t understand different kinds of beauty, but we don’t have to listen to those people,” she explained.
“But it hurts a lot, Mom, and I don’t even want my extra finger anymore,” I whined to her.
“I know it hurts, but if I had a flaw with my nose and people started judging me because of it, I wouldn’t cut off my nose now, would I?” she joked. After that, we both started laughing, and I finally dried my tears.
After my small talk with my mom, I realized one thing. We all start off as caterpillars crawling on the face of Earth and not many people will see our beauty right away, but as we grow, our beauty will shine through our confidence and happiness like butterflies, and that’s what will bring us to what and who we want to be.
As of December 2nd, 2016, my extra finger was surgically removed, but not because of people´s comments. It was removed because I felt it was of no use to me, since I cannot use it because of how tiny it was. It was also very sensitive, and it would be very painful when I bumped it against hard, solid objects. My extra finger was always a part of me, and I will tell myself to turn the negative memories from it to positive experiences.
Scars, bruises, and different aspects of my body are like the colors of my wings, and I learned that in order to grow, we need to soar and show our colors to the world just like butterflies.