I remember, in fifth grade, a group of guys had ganged up on me yet again. All I remember from that day is sitting at my table, crying, and doing the only thing I knew how to do–pick up my pencil and tear out a sheet of paper. A few months ago, while cleaning my room, I found that piece of paper. This is what I wrote that day.
“Everyone thinks I’m so weird but they don’t even stop to think that Albert Einstein was weird and look what he has become. All those genius people were weird. No one thinks that maybe I have human feelings too and that somehow, somewhere I could change the world. If I was treated with respect I could soar instead of being chained up in lies. No one ever thinks that beauty is skin deep and even though I’m fat it doesn’t matter. I hate all the stupid people who have made fun of me. Because you will regret it when I change the world. And I’ll give my special thanks speech and you WILL NOT BE THANKED!!!!!!!!!!!”
At that young age, I would plead with with my tormentors to stop hurting me. “No, really,” I’d say. “I’ll change the world one day. You’ll see. Please don’t hurt me. Just give me a chance. Please? Please? I know you think I’m stupid and ugly. But please, just give me a chance. Please.” I thought that if I just begged hard enough, they’d stop and start accepting me–because who could hate a vulnerable little ten-year-old? Well, they did. They did so very much, and I didn’t understand why.
Sometime in seventh grade, I strayed from my own beliefs of kindness and acceptance and became mean (I was also being bullied myself during this time). I wanted the control for once. I wanted to feel powerful by inflicting the same harm on others that was being inflicted on me. Doing this, however, never gave me the satisfaction. It really just made me feel worse about myself–that I could betray myself in such a way. The breaking point was when I heard a girl plead with me in the way I would plead with my own tormentors. “I know you think I’m weird and disturbing…and weird,” she said, eyes full of fear and hurt. I couldn’t bear to be so hurtful after that day.
I’ve grown to a point where I don’t feel the need to spew venom at other people to try reasoning with my own pain. If you want to wear polka-dot rain boots and bright orange jumpsuits, I won’t mind. Maybe I’ll think it’s cute and try to dress like that, too. If you talk strangely, I won’t mind. I’ll talk to you like I would anybody. If you love math and reading Geometry books in your spare time, we’ll respectfully agree to disagree.
I’m not perfect. Sometimes I find myself judging someone in my mind–but don’t we all? Everyone is learning. The best thing we can do is keep trying to be kind–not just to tolerate, but to accept.