I am 5 years old. The gap between my teeth is prominent and I have a god awful speech impediment that only a mother could love. I have a hard time making friends and the whole “horse girl” phase I have going on doesn’t help. I spend most of my time dreaming of ways that I can fit in and when I am not doing that, I’m avoiding people. Anything at all to keep me out of the public’s eye will do, because I don’t like other kids and the other kids definitely aren’t fond of me either. Everyday is a routine at school. Stay silent, don’t speak up, sit under the tree during recess and watch everyone else play. I open my Spiderman lunch box (which was so totally not lame, I might add) and see a handwritten note on my napkin from my mother, which she religiously wrote for me every morning. “I love you! Be good!” – Suddenly the day isn’t so bad. Someone believes in me and that’s all that matters.
I am fifteen years old, my hair is awkwardly cut and colored and my body doesn’t quite fill out the way it should for someone my age. I’m constantly rubbing my tongue against my braces because I am notorious for always having food stuck in my teeth. (Especially when giving the cute kid in my algebra class the answers to the homework.)The outfit that my mom had picked out and ironed for me is covered in paint from art class and of course stained from working with pastel coloring. It’s my least favorite time of the day: Lunch Period. Lunch period is my least favorite time of the day for two reasons: The first being that I have nobody to sit with, and the second because I had been laughed at for my lack of kickball athletic abilities from P.E that morning and I was terrified of run into the people who had made fun of me. My stomach turns at the thought of seeing anyone, so I do what I do best. Look at your feet, don’t say anything, do what you’re told to do. My sneakers hit the floor beneath me a little faster. I can’t deal with ridicule, I can’t do it. I find the one place where I feel I can be myself, the art room. I sit down alone in the empty room and start unpacking my lunch. A note falls out of the crinkly brown bag. “I love you! – Mom.” I breathe out. Suddenly the world isn’t so hard today. Someone believes in me. I put my headphones in
I am 21 years old, a soon to be second semester senior in college. I’m late to class, as always and find it hard to make time for anything besides work and school. Between paying rent out and other expenses, (Unpaid parking tickets that totally weren’t my fault, by the way…) I don’t have very much to my name. The speech impediment and the braces are gone, plus finally I found a decent hair style for what is probably the first time in my life. I still stare at my feet when I walk, and I am known for having headphones in during every moment of everyday. Same old Cara, different year. Up until recently, I still hid from people because on the outside, I look different. But on the inside I still felt like that same girl with bad highlights who hid in the art room during lunch period in 10th grade. A kid runs into me like something out of a bad teenage movie. My coffee spills on the ground and the guy, who I had hoped would apologize or at the very least offer to buy me a new coffee snaps “Want to watch where you’re going?” I am 21 years old and can feel my face getting warm and my eyes getting blurry. It’s not even noon and I already want to hide in my high school art room again. I check my phone, the screen blinks. One missed call and voicemail from Mom. “Hey Cara! It’s Mom (as If I wouldn’t know) Just wanted to say I was thinking of you and I miss you. Didn’t hear back from you so I thought I’d call and say that I know you’re working hard. Don’t let people get to you, call me back, I love you.” I breathe out. Suddenly my morning is a hell of a lot brighter. The world isn’t so hard today. Someone believes in me.
I smile at the kid who snapped at me and grab another coffee. I silently hope that somebody out there believes in him and continue with my day.
The point is, we are a collection of the people we meet, the experiences we’ve had, and even the places we’ve come from. I like to think that I make people feel good about themselves and even though I don’t get treated that way back, that’s alright. I can do what I can to make someone else’s world a little better.
I’m lucky enough that I’m still 5, 15, and 21 all at once. I’m not that girl anymore, not entirely anyway. More than that, I’m lucky enough to have people that believe in me and want me to succeed. My whole life, I’ve been focusing on the wrong things, you know? It’s all about your perspective. There will always be people who will no nothing about you and will metaphorically knock your delicious cup of coffee out of your hands and glare at you. There will always be the kids who make fun of the clothes you wear or the way you talk. But there will always be the Mom’s of the world. There will always be little reminders that you can get through the day. We have choices. How are you going to view the world and the people in it? Why focus on the narcissists and the succubus’s of the world when you have a whole different spectrum of people who would gladly sit and eat lunch with you in the art room, or pay for your spilt coffee?
“Let the assholes be assholes, you’ll sleep better at night.”
I hope you all have something that you believe in, and someone who believes in you.
Ps. I love you too, Mom.