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English: Picture of Saltfleet district highschool

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Happy New Year Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,

People can be cruel. For me, no where is this fact more prevalent than in the congested halls of highschool. The evidence is everywhere…from the utterly nasty notes sandwiched between the pages of the newest “slam book” to the hateful snickers whispered just loud enough to ensure that the entire class is privy to the slander.

Despite my best efforts to rise above the inconsequential matters of this world, I succumbed to the pressures of teenage society. I am about to offer you a glimpse into my secret life as a teenager. These memories are painful and in all honesty, I wish that I could completely erase them from my mind. Unfortunately they have been forever branded upon my heart and serve as the foundation for  later struggles. The shadows of the past, to this day, still wreak havoc on my soul.

I would like to preface this by saying that I am not throwing myself a pity party here, so please refrain from offering your condolences. In fact, my sufferings are relatively mild in comparison to so many others. My only intent in sharing this is to shed a light on the reasoning behind my desire to reach teens.

From the moment I stepped foot into public school, I was assured of one simple fact: I was, and never would be, enough. I was never pretty enough, never skinny enough, never dumb enough. Yes, that’s right, I said “dumb enough.” For any semblance of a mental capacity capable of possessing a shred of genuine intellect is frowned upon by the social tyrants who rule the hallways of the average American highschool.

I hardly considered myself an intellectual. I lost myself in books and made excellent grades. But let’s face it, obtaining passing marks in public school is scarcely a great feat. Making an appearance every now and then, completing all assignments with a minimal level of competence, and studying when absolutely necessary is generally all that is required for the average student. Not exactly the attributes of an intellectual giant, but in highschool it tends to be enough to accomplish the job at hand.

As early as elementary school, a label was bestowed upon me. I was “the weird, sick kid.” The kid would couldn’t participate in P.E. because she might damage her Medi-Port and die. The kid who couldn’t eat in the cafeteria for fear of catching a common cold that would surely send her immune system into a tail spin and result in an extended hospital stay. When I finally escaped this stigma, it was only to find acceptance still beyond my grasp. I was, and probably still am (though now I take pride in the fact), a certifiable geek.

When I reflect on my life, there is really only one thing that I sought: To be loved. To be cherished. To feel valued and have worth. Simply put, to have a reason to get up in the morning. In the social hierarchy of highschool, to be beautiful is paramount and according to my peers, in this department , I was sorely lacking. I don’t know how many times I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror and cringed inside. I can’t tell you how often I asked God why He didn’t make me beautiful, why He didn’t make me loveable, as hot, salty tears streamed down my cheeks.

Not only was I sub par as it relates to physical attraction, but I was also dishearteningly uncoordinated, rendering endeavors in athletics an impossibility except to illicit even more ridicule. For as we know, the only saving grace for a good student – socially speaking, of course – is to hide behind the facade of a “dumb jock.” Unable to find acceptance, I sought to be invisible.

As if all this were not enough to crush my self-esteem and value, I allowed a boy to completely shatter me – twice. Thoroughly stamping out what fragile, fraying tether of self-worth I still possessed. The worst of it all is that he is, more than likely, completely unaware of the level of destruction he caused. I was merely a pawn in his game, that I’m sure he has long since forgotten about. I gave him that power. The power to crush me so absolutely that two years into my marriage I still at times – when I succumb to my old, twisted way of thinking – crumble under the weight of the pain; a crushing wave pulverizing me with its mighty force.

Let me be clear, it isn’t because I didn’t “get the guy.” It’s not because it was a blow to my ego. It’s not even about who he was to me at the time. In fact, I can not even remember what it was about him that I was so inexplicably drawn to. The pain came from what he represented. When he deemed me worthless, it confirmed all my feelings of self-doubt. In my mind, he was the manifestation of my worthlessness.

I gave him that power just as I gave it to those mean girls and bullies in highschool. I gave them that power every time I sought my worth in man and not in God alone. It has taken a shattered heart and years of agony and self-doubt to finally begin to see how lost I was. How flawed my thinking was. Man will always disappoint.

I let these people and their shallow opinions define me. I know I am not alone in my sufferings; countless others are struggling to find a place in this world. I have learned these lessons the hard way. It is my hope, that for this future generation, that will not always be the case. It is for these reasons that I seek to make a difference. If I can spare even one person the pain that I have felt by sharing my experiences and the knowledge that I have gleaned from them, then it has all been worth it. Remember this young ones: God is, and must always be, enough.

Next week I want share with you a little about the non-profit movement To Write Love On Her Arms.

Until Next Week,

May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,

Mandy

Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)

Not Good Enough

Her mind’s a puzzling maze,

She’s lost in all the haze.

A single, constant fear,

In silence draws so near.

A spiteful, whispered lie,

Does give her cause to cry.

This life can prove too tough,

She’s just not good enough.

It always ends the same,

This life is just a game.

In truth the losing side,

Will change with every tide.

Yet still alone she stands,

No matter what her hand.

It seems her story’s told,

Her path is dark and cold.

She fears it’s much too late,

She can’t escape this fate.

Verse Of The Week:

“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,but the LORD looks on the heart”  – 1 Samuel 16:7

What I’m Reading:

Eldest – Book Two In the Inheritance Cycle – By Christopher Paolini

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