My Fake Happiness

Dedication: My best friend from elementary school, who always listened- Taylor.

On my very first day at a private middle school, I was convinced that all 23 of the sixth graders attending there would be dignified, independant, and behaved. They were not. At my old elementary school, I had a reputation for being a fun-loving, always joking around kind of person. I was really nervous that I would have to ditch that personality at this new school and become a model student. Don’t get me wrong- In elementary school, I never disrespected the teachers and my grades were straight A’s. But, I was not a nerd or a teacher’s pet. I was relieved, but mostly surprised to find that the kids attending this school were no different than the ones from elementary school. Sure, they were a bit smarter, but they were certainly not the teacher’s pets I’d expected them to be. For my first month at school, I dedicated my time to making a couple new friends and finding my way around the school, which was hard because many of the kids had been attending this school since they were toddlers, and they were all super close. But, I soon got really comfortable with being around all the kids, and by December, I was completly back to my old, fun-loving self. The other kids had gotten pretty used to me, too, and started teasing me a little. Everyone at this school took immense pleasure in teasing and roasting each other, just like in elementary school. I was the perfect target for some of the best roasts- I was wierd, but smart, and I was not only the tallest girl in our grade, but the tallest person in our grade. Everyone who knew me well knew that I never got involved in drama. People often came to me for advice, but whenever someone insulted me, I always laughed and said something clever back. I never let it get to me. So, once the kids at school saw that I would not be bothered by their teasing, they took it to the next level, and started treating me as if I were one of them. It never really bothered me. But, by January, they had actually started to insult me on a very personal level. I felt like I could not ever show them that I was actually started to feel incredibly hurt by their comments, because I was always that one kid who never got involved in the drama. And, they couldn’t take me seriously. In elementary school, I was on the Science Olympiad team, and won first place in anatomy in the regionals. That was a huge deal for our team. But here, no one cared about my interest in anatomy. They saw right past it. When they started making racist and politicial comments about me, I seriously told them that it was not OK, but they just laughed, not taking me seriously. I was so ashamed of myself when I laughed at their racist comments. The worst part was, no one would ever truly listen to how I felt, and my parents were constantly attending to my 2 younger siblings. My sorrow, grief, guilt, and anger was all bottled up inside me. I became severly depressed, spending my afternoons sleeping and crying, and wandering aimlessly around an empty house until four AM at night. But, if I ever told anyone about my depression, even my parents, they just never believed me. I was miserable. And, in all of this, I had to pretend like I was constantly happy and like I didn’t care about the insults at school. One morning, as I was getting ready for school, I decided something had to change. When someone threw an extremely racist comment my was, I told him, stone-faced, to shut up. He, and the rest of my class, stared at me in utter disbelief. I continued to tell my classmates that their behavior was not OK, and though we still tease each other, and I am still fun-loving, I will never let it spiral out of my contol like it did during sixth grade.