Der Diree,

Mommy gav me u. Jenny haz 1 n I wan be lik her. I go two skool now n I m big gurl two!

My fren Amy iz not nis. Amy sed I m stoopid a cuz I m jus lurnin two rit n cownt. Amy's mommy lurned her how two do stuffs a four we wen two skool. My mommy iz wurkin so her duz not have tim. Jenny woodnt lurn me how two a cuz she iz two big two.

I dunt thin I m stoopid. I m smart. Mommy telld me so.

Deer Diree,

I am in first grade this yeer. Jenny is going two middle skool, and now she says she will not help me with my spelling. I am gettin bedder at it, I think. Skool is hard.

Amy has new frens this yeer. So do I. Mommy says my frens are in my hed, so I dunt see them at skool. Amy says they rnt reel, so I must be a looser freek with no frens. Amy is meen. I hop I mak reel frens soon.

Dear Diary,

Fifth grade isn't going so good so far. Amy makes fun of my hair and my clothes with Becca and Ashley. The only person who likes me is Mrs Thompson, our teacher. She says I'm very smart.

Jenny says I'm just awkward, that it'll get better. But Jenny's in high school and I don't think she understands. Life was different back when SHE was in fifth grade.

Mom says I'm very pretty and smart, and that when I go to middle school, I'll make friends who haven't known me since kindergarten. Mom says Amy can't make everyone in a bigger school hate me. She says Amy is a spoiled brat and a bully, and sometimes I hear her on the phone with Amy's mom. She yells at her and tells her to teach her daughter some manners. I wish she wouldn't do that, because Amy is just meaner than ever at school the next day.

Dear Diary,

Mom was wrong. Middle school hasn't gotten any better. Amy and her friends pick on me, the boys pick on me for my braces, and the only kids who like me are all the ones who would've been picked on if I wasn't around.

And they only like me because I take the attention off of them.

Jenny's home from college next week for Spring Break and she said she'll try to help me with my hair. She thinks we can get the curls to stop frizzing, since straightening just makes it frizzier.

Dear Diary,

Jenny ruined my hair! It's falling out in clumps and I look AWFUL and Mom is yelling at Jenny and there's nothing I can do and this is the end of the world. My life is over. I want to die.

Dear Diary,

My braces are coming off this week. I hope Amy stops calling me Metal Mouth now. I know she'll never stop calling me Carrot Top (thanks for the curly red hair genes, Dad...), but maybe she'll lay off a little bit. High school was supposed to be better than middle school.

Then again, they all promised me middle school would be better than elementary school, and they were wrong.

Maybe without the braces, though, Ben will notice me. He's so cute. He plays the oboe in band with me, and I think, if I didn't have braces and acne and this goofy red hair all in one...I think he might like me.

Jenny says if he really likes me, my braces and hair won't matter. But Jenny has had the same boyfriend since her freshman year of college and they're getting married soon, so I think she's a bit biased and out of touch with the realities of high school life.

Mom says I'm dramatic and that life isn't as bad as I keep making it out to be. She says I'm a good student (of course I am - I have no social life! What else am I going to do?), and that I have a bright future ahead of me and I'll grow into my hair and my teeth. Dad never says anything when he calls, just tells me to "Buck up."

Dear Diary,

Amy went too far today. I haven't stopped crying yet and I don't see how I'll ever get over this. I was taking a shower after gym class and Amy took all my clothes and threw them into the football field. No one would get them for me. I was naked and crying in the shower stall for almost an hour before the gym teacher found out and brought my clothes to me.

Except Amy and her band of bitches had cut huge chunks out of my shirt and jeans and everyone could see my underwear.

Mom had to come and get me, because I couldn't stop crying. The principal promised to "deal with Amy and her friends," but I don't think anything is going to change. It hasn't since kindergarten. I just...I just wanted to be left alone. If I can't have friends, can I just be left alone?

Dear Elizabeth,

I'm sorry.

I thought...I don't know what I thought. I guess I thought, if I could fit in, then I'd have the kind of life I saw in TV shows and movies. If I had different hair, or different clothes, then maybe no one would ever know I didn't belong.

Did you know my dad drank, like all the time? I don't think I ever saw him NOT drunk. Used to hit my mom and I all the time. Didn't matter what we did or didn't do. I thought...if I was perfect - perfect daughter, perfect friend, perfect student - maybe he'd stop drinking. Maybe he'd stop hitting us.

I know that's not an excuse. My crappy homelife wasn't your fault, and I had no right to take it out on you. I don't think a kid knows that, though. I knew you had two perfect parents, even if your dad was gone all the time, and an older sister who could give you the kinds of advice I'd always wanted. I guess I was jealous of what you had, and I thought...I thought YOU got to have the home life, it wouldn't kill you to let me have school.

And today I'm graduating from college with a future before me as a social worker, and I just...

I really didn't think it would kill you to let me have school.

And in the end...me having school didn't kill you. You killed you, because of me.

I'm so sorry, Elizabeth. You should be here, too.


April 05, 2020 22:56

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