I wrote this story maybe five years ago and thought
I now would be a good time to share.
Just changed a few words and add a more personal experience. ;-)
Sweet Marie was a strong and independent girl. She always spoke her mind and she wanted to help people. Sweet Marie's parents always wanted her to have a sense of confidence when she walked into a room. They let her walk a few steps ahead so she felt like she was always leading the way in the next big adventure to the grocery store. A take charge, get it done attitude is how she carried herself.
When it was time to go off to school her parents reminded her that you need to be kind and helpful to the teacher and the other students. So, off to school Marie went! Sharing her toys and snacks, letting other kids drink from the fountain first or grab the best colouring pages. Sweet Marie really didn't care what pages she got to colour as long as everyone was in it together. Not everyone thought like Sweet Marie though, other kids in her class weren't as kind. Some of the girls in her class would give her funny looks and whisper to each other—calling her bossy and telling her that they weren’t going to play with her because they didn’t like her. One day at lunch two of the most popular girls, Regina and Gretchen, sat down with Sweet Marie. She was so excited that these girls were sitting with her she offered them her Mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies - Sweet Marie's favourite!
Regina put her arm around Sweet Marie's shoulder, "Wow Marie these cookies are really great! Thanks for sharing them with us. Your mom is a great cook."
Gretchen patted Sweet Marie on the back, "Ya, thanks for sharing them with us." Both girls got up and left as the bell rang for class to start again.
After school, Sweet Marie and her sister Louise were walking home and they suddenly stopped, "Why do you have this post-it note on your back?" Louise said with a quizzical face. She pulled the note off Marie's back, it had one word written on it - loser. Sweet Marie began to cry as she realized that Gretchen had put it on her back at lunch. She walked around for the whole afternoon with this note on her back and no one said anything to her.
After that Marie started to change. She slowly started to be the last one to offer help and kept her thoughts to herself. Her voice got softer, she started to feel smaller—tiny to the world. Marie thought, “If I make myself smaller, maybe the other kids will want to play with me.” Marie started to not like who she was. She would tell herself, “I need to change, I need to be more like them! I need to be someone else so that they like me. Yes, that’s the answer!”
As Marie got older she continued to be small in her voice - trying so hard to just be like the other girls. She started taking dance classes, playing sports and joining community theater, but no matter what Marie did to try and fit in it didn’t work.
During one of her classes in junior high the teacher had stepped out of the room to grab some photocopying she needed for the lesson. The room was a flutter with conversation when one boy loudly proclaimed, "Marie, you're a bitch!".
The room fell silent.
Marie turned around to stare at the boy, holding back emotions to show him and everyone else no reaction, "What have I done to him?" she thought. She wasn't speaking with him or about him. Then all of a sudden it hit her - is what everyone thinks of me?
Through the next three years all the interaction that Marie had with her friends or people she met the boy's voice echoed in her mind. She continued to try and play small, not show how much it hurt when she wasn't invited to parties or hang outs on the weekend. Marie tried to still live the values of servitude her parents tried to instill in her by volunteering at the school - really it was a way to fill her free time. She could never really help but wonder if she was just the substitute friend, what people thought of her, why did people think she was a bitch, why did people she thought were friends say things behind her back and put her down?
These questions ran through her mind as she decided to run for student body president for her last year of high school. As the day of election drew near Marie ran unopposed - just another not cool girl thing to do that she was doing, and was awarded the position by being uncontested. She couldn't help but panic a little. "Student body President isn't the coolest thing to do, but do I really want to? What does it have to offer? " she thought as the announcement was made, "Well, I can't take it back now. More social suicide."
That evening when Marie got home she told her parents what her grade twelve year would be like, and they were excited for her! "A way to make an impact on people's last year of high school and make your mark in the school," they exclaimed. "Sure...leave a mark," she thought to herself. The spotlight was something she had tried to avoid for so many years and here she was, placing herself right under the light - full power.
A few weeks later Marie's parents had come back from their volunteer community group meeting with some "exciting" news. "Marie, there's a leadership camp for young adults that our group sponsors, we thought that it would be perfect for you to go to. This will help prepare you for your role as student body President next year." They handed Marie the form - they couldn't wait for this opportunity for her and she couldn't run away fast enough.
"Great," she thought, "another social suicide mission - leadership camp." Marie contemplated not going, but she didn't want to disappoint her parents. She was at a cross roads and wasn't sure what directions she should go.
I don't wanna leave you in suspense, but like Adam West said....
same bat time, same bat channel: find out if Marie made it to camp or
did she decide to spend her summer sitting on a bench
watching cars go by like so many summers before?