During my teens there would be many labels to associate me with: stupid, antisocial, troublemaker, weird, among others. Labels seemed to be used to put me into boxes so, teachers, and the world could try to understand me.
As years went by the bullying didn’t stop. Everyone knew me by a thousand different names, except the one my mother had given me. I didn’t mind, actually. I didn’t want them to taint my name with their evil voices.
In high school, I tried hard to fit in with the “cool” group just so they would stop thinking I was different or abnormal. I learned to laugh and keep my mouth shut even when I saw any injustice being done. I once screamed and burst into tears when I saw one of my “friends” kill a bee out of fun. I couldn’t understand how someone could take away the life of such an innocent being intentionally. After being bullied for my reaction, they started calling me “crazy” and so… what did I do? I started killing bees.
I despised myself. I had turned into this person I didn´t like just for the purpose of “fitting in.” But at the same time I hated what I was, I hated being oversensitive, stupid, a daydreamer, rebellious, and sad. Then, a boy came my way. His name was Harsh. We had alot of similarities and so we became good friends. Once, while we were talking, he told me that he was gay and asked me not to disclose it.
We were teenagers, and our self-esteem was determined by the acceptance of society.
He knew how I felt for being different and not being able to fit in. I had a different mindset and he had a different sexual orientation. It was in our differences where we found a unity that developed into a beautiful friendship. A few years later he found the courage to “come out.” His parents supported him. He lost many friends but made new ones and he could be entirely himself around them.
There was no more pretending. He became comfortable within his own skin, and that to him was happiness.
I came to understand that the criticism came, not because we were wrong but because we were different to them. It was their limited mindset that created in them an inability to accept other people’s differences. Our problem came from the fact that we had given them the power of controlling our self-esteem instead of finding that acceptance and love within ourselves.
As more years passed, I came to forgive and love myself because I was never ugly, stupid or antisocial, as they saw me. I felt like that because I was looking at myself through their eyes instead of my own. Today when I met Harsh, I came to know that he has adopted a beautiful baby girl. When I asked him, “What would you like her to be when she grows up? He replied, ” beautifully different”.
NOTE: This is a fiction story written by me.