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Confessions From The Cesspool Of Conformity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   High School: the Land of Fear. Everyone is terrified of being thought of as different, labeled a freak. Petrified of becoming the object of ridicule. Every high school has students who are treated like lepers because their difference is not the difference looked upon as cool and alternative. They are not to be associated with because it's a well-known fact that lepers are contagious. Contact is allowed only if one is hurting and/or humiliating the outcast for the amusement of others.

The complete terror that pervades the halls and classrooms of high school makes it a breeding ground for clones. It's well known what will happen if one dares to break the mold and challenge the accepted viewpoint. And so the students dress in their uniforms, complete the social rituals learned by rote, and try to suppress all individuality or thoughts that are too radical in themselves or others. This is the way students sluggishly make their way through the endless procession of school days.

During each day, one witnesses shocking acts of atrocious cruelty. The backstabbing and attacks on fellow students, the enemy - each other. The battlefield is incredibly blood-stained, soaked with tears, and littered with the fragments of broken spirits and smashed dreams. Students tear each other apart in an effort to prove that they are more worthy than others to fit in. In order to fit in, there must be those poor souls who don't, and they must be found and singled out. Thus the war is fought.

Yet in fear of becoming lepers, the observers become the bystanders: the ones who watch the skirmishes and do not even think about intervening to stop the cruelty. They are the ones who see the defeated crumble and then struggle to regain the tattered remnants of their dignity, so they can at least limp away. They are the ones who realize that the aura of cool indifference is just a facade to veil the pain. They are the ones who look away from this pathetic sight without offering a word of consolation. The bystanders are loathsome, spineless creatures who could make a difference, but choose not to.

I am a bystander. I am the silent girl in the corner, the watcher. I see the blow coming but don't try to block it. I feel their pain, but do nothing to alleviate it. I justify this in a number of ways: it's none of my business; I don't know them; it's not as if they want my help. I don't really believe any of this. It's all rationalization to hide my true motivation. But no matter how much I try to deny the root of my inaction, I know what it is: I am thankful that it is not happening to me. If I did say something, I might help the leper, but I would lose my invisibility and take the chance of becoming the leper myself. Who wants that? It's just thrust upon them. So I have broken my long silence and written this in an attempt to make others, especially the bystanders, aware. fl




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Jumpintofatbodies said...
Jan. 19, 2009 at 5:35 am
I know what this is talking about, and the unfortunate and completely devastating consequence/sequence is that this pattern of "indifference" and inaction and refusal to do what's right, for whatever reason, is a pattern that will follow and be followed until death, most likely. And the pains and guilts and repressions and choaked-ups it generates is destructive of anything good, or precludes really entering into being alive. Really, just look at the neurotic suffering and absolute ten... (more »)
 
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