A reflective essay that I did back in 2000 for an English Essay course.
|“Nikki, they’re always so mean to me though! I’m nice to them, but they hate me,” cried my best friend, Sarah. This was after a particularly rough day at school, of random trippings in the hallways, whispers meant for her to hear that commented on her “ugliness” and an endless assault of horrendously derogatory names.
“Just stand up for yourself no matter what. Show no fear, and use your wit,” I had advised her. “You can verbally slam them to the ground!” However, Sarah is not the fighting type like I am. She would rather suffer the worst torture than ever hurt anyone else. She had just started a brand new school, and was ridiculed constantly because of her outward appearance. She’s a fairly pretty girl with a tremendous amount of freckles. Her new classmates seemed to hate her solely because of those freckles, since that was the only thing that they ever harassed her about. She began to dread going to school, and soon refused to go.
Something had to be done about how nasty she was being treated. Every morning they sought her out like predators hunting their prey. The kids were cruel; it seems they had picked her as their target for the year. They considered her to be invading “their” territory. She did not deserve the chance for the honor of being included as one of them, and was therefore dubbed “the enemy”. While she was never bluntly called “the enemy”, they made it very clear that she was. The girls hid her books from her and ransacked her book bag and purse if she wasn’t guarding them with her life. The boys were violent, ripping her homework into unrecognizable shreds.
On this day that she had come to me, crying about how mean these kids were to her, I could tell that she had finally had enough. This had been happening for almost a whole semester, and she just could not bear it anymore. Her torturers had finally found out what could bring her to tears. They began calling her Cheetah, obviously because of her freckles. She had hurriedly shoved her belongings into her bag, and painstakingly ran out of the cafeteria, tears streaming down her face. She took the bus to my house, knowing that I would always be there for her if I could.
“I’m running away, Nikki. I hate them! I can’t go home because Dad will just make me go back,” she had wailed, fresh tears welling up all over again. It took me a while to calm her down. After sitting in silence for what seemed forever, we decided that we needed a plan that would end her misery.
After many suggestions to face them, I finally realized that Sarah wasn’t going to fight back, and decided to give up. In a last, hopeless attempt, I sighed, “Then kill ‘em with kindness. That’s what my mom always told me…”
Sarah jumped up. “That’s it!!!” she broke in, “Omigosh, do I have an idea!” I tried to convince her to enlighten me on what the plan of attack was, but failed miserably. This was her plan, and for it to work, she needed to accomplish it all on her own. “Take off work early tomorrow, and pick me up at school, okay? Promise you’ll be there?” she pleaded. I sealed the deal with our “pinky swear”.
I was bursting with curiosity the entire time at work the next day. I couldn’t imagine what was so special about the plan that it would require me to be there to pick her up. As I waited outside of the school for her, I started to worry that she was somehow going to make things worse for herself. I was overcome with hysterics, though, as I saw a kid walk out of the school, totally decked out in a tailor-made cheetah costume.
I instantly knew that it was Sarah. Many kids were looking at her curiously, but most shocking to me, were the kids that were walking with her. They were the predators, the torturers, and the source of my best friend’s pain and suffering. They weren’t belittling her this time, but laughing with her. One boy—I recognized from Sarah’s vivid descriptions as the cruelest of the lot—patted her on the back, commenting “You’re freaking’ hilarious!!” He walked away, but not before reminding her that he would see her the next day at school.
Sarah took of her mask, revealing her real “Cheetah” markings. The swarm of kids around her became larger. They were asking her questions, inviting her places, and most importantly, trying to be her friend. I could barely see her face, but what I saw was the largest smile possible. She walked up to the Mustang, her face beaming. She had done it. She had taken care of the problem, and had not said even one harsh word to anyone there.
She hopped into the Mustang, and started rambling, “It was so great! They didn’t get it at first, but then they started laughing. I knew that they weren’t laughing at me though. I just knew it! I could tell that they were laughing because I had beaten them. I can’t believe it!” She was ecstatic, and I felt nothing but relief. I knew that, for the most part, she would now be fine at school. Her peers had realized that she was good enough for their group. She had, in turn, given them the chance to be her friend, and they had gladly accepted the offer. I was proud about the way that she had handled the situation, and I found a new respect for her.
Even today, Sarah turns anything bad that happens into something to her advantage. She now has a nickname for life. Her birthday was last week, and my friends and I put an ad in the local newspaper stating: ‘Happy Birthday to our favorite Cheetah!’ There is a small, stuffed cheetah nestled on the top of her dashboard in her car. Her e-mail address begins with Cheetah. Most important, she now thinks of her freckles as beauty marks that make her unique, instead of a wicked curse bestowed upon her.
After watching her work magic on her former enemies that day, I realized something. I wish that I had approached bullies or other problems in the same manner that Sarah had. She chose to humor, and I chose to fight with harsh words. She made friends, while I made enemies. She had turned a bad situation into a good one, where as I, overall, had only made situations worse. Since that day, I have made a point not to fight, but to turn scenarios so that they work the way that I want. It’s not easy, but it has gone great so far and it makes for a much more positive way to look at everything.