Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gwen Hayes' Story

When I was in 5th grade, my parents, trying their best to get us out of a bad neighborhood, moved us across town and me into a new school. I understand their reasons for it now, but at the time, it was very traumatic for me. Being the new girl in the middle of the school year was hard. The school was some kind of "progressive" school and didn't have the same structured classes I was used to. The demographic seemed a little more moneyed than I was used to also--meaning my Tough Skin corduroys were ALL wrong. And so were my shoes. My hair. You get the picture.

 One girl, the IT girl, called me bug eyes. To be fair, my eyes were awfully big for my face. Obviously I already knew that and obviously she knew that I would be sensitive about it. She made fun of me daily, encouraging her friends to do the same. And then I was shunned. Nobody would talk to me except the teachers--and you know what happens to the kid who spends too much time with the teachers.

I don't remember where or who I ate lunch with. I don't remember recess. I don't remember the bus rides to or from school. I blocked it all out and I am more than okay with that. I don't necessarily want to remember.

I was lucky that my parents took me seriously when I told them I was miserable. I had to finish the year, but we moved again and I was able to get a fresh start. I know that not everyone's parents would do the same. I know that there are worse things than to be called a name and shunned. But I also know that it hurts and that it's lonely and that it seems like it will never change or get better.  I just wanted to let people know that it does get better. I want people to know that my husband loves my eyes--that they were the feature that attracted him first. (Well, that's what he says anyway.)

Don't give up on yourself ever. Sometimes in life, you get to be your only friend, so make sure that you are the best one you ever have. And when it hurts the most, remember that someday you will be past it and someone else will need your encouragement to go through their own pain.

And living well is the best revenge. I promise.

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